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How to create a panic room in your home

About a year ago, I started considering building a panic room for my family. I`d been interested in the subject for a couple of years and I became almost obsessed about the most space efficient panic room.

Took me a while to find all the information I needed (builders don`t want to reveal this kind of things, as their clients claim as much discretion about these secret safe havens as possible).

So finally, when I had everything I needed to start working on the panic room, I had to pick a room of the house for the transformation.

That`s right. You don`t need to build a new room from scratch in the middle of the house. You can just turn one of your already existing rooms: your bedroom, your living, even your bathroom (actually, this is one of the best ideas, since you`ve got running water and a toilet there).

Now, before I go further, let me just crash three myths about building a panic room in your home:

NO, you will not have to “sacrifice” a room. You can keep living there like nothing has changed.

NO, it will not look ugly. You can make many “invisible” tweaks or additions.

NO, you will not have to invest a ton of money and time in your panic room. In fact, it only takes a weekend or so to make the tweaks and load it with supplies.

So, choose a room you`d like to turn into a rock-solid safe haven and get down to business!

Here`s some of the things I`ve learned while working on my panic room (or while researching) that I believe would help you a lot:

1. Structure

If possible, choose a windowless room (or even a solid step-in closet). If you decided to transform your bedroom or living room, then you need to get shatterproof glass to replace the old windows. 

Make sure your walls don`t have any major cracks or holes. Also, you can cover your walls with all-sponge upholstery to make it sound proof. This way, attackers won`t hear you talkin with your family or on the phone. And you won`t hear any verbal aggression from their part.

Replace your old door with an outdoor type of door (metal, preferably). They`re much more resistant and you can put multiple locks on. Which brings me to…

2. Security

First of all, you need an alarm system to let you know your house has been broken into. I know how expensive these things get, but how about a perfectly functional rudimentary system: put squealers on your doors and windows (they sound an alarm when someone breaks in). You can find them at Wal-Mart for about $25 (for your entire home).

Getting back to the panic room, you`ll want to put on more than one lock. The main one should be a keyless Grade 1 deadbolt lock. It`s practically unbreakable. Don`t forget to teach your kids or grandkids how it works, so they don`t lock themselves or someone else inside by accident.

Next on the list: security cameras. You can find entire 4-camera + split screen surveillance for $150 at SAMS Club. Look for the best offer and get a basic video surveillance system.

3. Communication

Permanently keep a phone in the panic room. If you`ve got weak or no signal at all, get a telephone line installed. You`ll need a way to communicate with the police or with your loved ones, so don`t miss this step.

 

Next week, we`ll talk all about power, plumbing, supplies and weapons in a panic room. Until then, stay safe!

Read The Second Article About Creating a Panic Room

4 Responses to How to create a panic room in your home

  • What are these squealers you speak of at Walmart? Is there another name for them? I'd like to look into buying some (what do I search on the Walmart website?)

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    • He may be talking about those two piece small magnetic alarm you put on doors. Basically, one piece goes on the door frame and the other on the door itself (touching each other when closed). It has anl on/off/chime switch. When on, if someone breaks in, the alarm will emit a loud squealing sound. Just make sure you buy a good quality alarm and not those at dollar stores. You can also use them on windows, but its a little tricky aligning them depending on the windows. So before you stick them on the door, see if they will fit on the windows (dont remove the backing of the tapes.

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  • Sounds too good to be true!
    Most internal rooms have stud walls. Thus a metal door and multiple locks make little difference; your home invader can kick a whole through just about any interior wall to reach you

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    • You can easily reinforce a wall, if you remove the drywall and replace it with a sanded plywood, then texture and paint. No one will ever know and good freaking luck trying to kick through that.

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