If you have seen the 2002 movie, Panic Room, you know the importance of a safe room during a home invasion. The movie unfortunately leads viewers to believe a safe room is exclusive to the overtly wealthy when in actuality; any home owner is able to create their own home invasion safe room.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 1.03 million home invasions occur each year.
A safe room can be the difference between life and death during a home invasion. While a home security system is extremely important for immediately contacting the local law enforcement, a safe place for anyone inside to wait for the police is necessary. It can always be a great place to store valuables that you do not regularly use, like having a walk-in safe.
Not every room in your home can be converted into a safe room. There are certain qualities a room requires in order to be considered a suitable and safe candidate.
- No windows to the outside. This is most important quality a room has to have to be qualified to become a safe room, for obvious reasons. A window invites intruders another point of entry and even with security bars, the additional potential threat isn’t worth it.
- Thick walls. Rooms without windows tend to be some sort of cabinet that is usually in the middle of the house. Rooms that have exterior walls are usually thicker than interior. Although unlikely, this will help ensure no home invader is able to force their way in through a weak wall.
The first and most important improvement to make on your room is the door because it is the first line of defense. More than likely, if you are renovating a room inside your home it has an interior door. Most interior doors have a hollow core and you would be surprised how easy they are the break through. Thankfully, the door is a fairly easy fix but unfortunately can be the most expensive part of the renovation. You need to replace that flimsy interior door with a solid core exterior door. The most reliable door would be a fiberglass solid core exterior door but any solid core door would do. Consider repainting the door to help it blend-in with the other interior doors. Drawing the least amount of attention to your safe room is also important.
You will also need to replace the standard interior door frame. Reinforced steel is the best option for security and affordability. Just like the door, you will want to repaint it to better blend-in with the rest of the house. Making sure the door opens into the room is important to add extra layers to locking. While a reinforced lock should be enough to do the trick, a door bar will make sure absolutely no unwanted visitors get in.
If you are only worried about stopping someone from entering your safe room through the door, then walls are probably not a priority for you. If on the other hand, you want to make sure even an armed invader cannot get to you or your family, walls are extremely important. If your safe room is in the basement then the concrete walls surrounding you will clearly do the trick. If you are upstairs however, dry wall does not stop bullets. Luckily, you have a few options if you are willing to put in the work.
One option is adding armored steel panels inside the room. Surrounding your interior walls of the room with these would ensure no one is getting in but can be expensive and difficult to work with without prior experience. Poured concrete is another relatively affordable option that can ensure your families protection.
Once inside your safe room, it is important to be prepared. The most important thing to keep in the safe room is a phone and/or phone charger. Although land lines do not require signal, invaders are able to cut your communication so cell phones in a place with good signal are ideal. If you have a home security system, which should be your first priority, adding a way to communicate with the monitoring company can also be helpful. Just to be safe, supplies such as food, water and first aid are a good idea.
Now that you have a better understanding for how to create your own safe room in case of a home invasion, here are a few recommendations for ideal rooms to convert:
- Storage room
- Walk-in closet
- Under staircase
- Wine cellar
- Anything windowless, in a basement, or has an exterior wall
Creating your own safe room is a great way to be better prepared for a home invasion but it is not the first measure you should take. As previously recommended, a safe room is essentially useless without a home security system. A professionally monitored security system is the absolute first line of defense against a home invasion.
If you are interested in monitored home security get a free quote from Protect America.