Picture this, your alarm system wakes you up in the middle of the night, everyone is fast asleep and then a window breaks. Now you have 2 little children scared as hell running to the bedroom screaming for daddy, your wife’s up staring at you like you’re an idiot and expects you to do something. Now the threat is coming down the corridor, for this picture well say your armed with your Glock 19 and 3 spare mags, shots fly across the corridor and you get hit.
Think about that, yes you might be a great shot and yes you might know what to do in these types of situations. But you still run the risk of losing the fight and having to leave your family at the mercy of the intruders, only now there is even less resistance because they just had to witness you get killed. And their emotions are running wild! Was this your plan? You let your emotions run the show by thinking you can do it all alone. Now I am not suggesting you build the next generation “Fort-Knox” at home, but to upgrade a room in your home to a purpose-built safe-haven in the event of intruders.
The reason for handling this subject at such an early stage in this guide is that this is probably the most important and effective way to defend yourself and your family from possible attacks and intrusion. A safe room for this purpose is not intended to be an impenetrable force, but instead a time buying feature. Which is the most critical aspect of any situation. Have you ever wondered what will happen in the time that you phone the police service and a gang of robbers is attempting to infiltrate your house? Do you think that anyone will be there fast enough to prevent any harm to you? The sad reality is that no force can ever be that fast, no matter how effective or professional they may be, and that time gap is the perfect opportunity for criminals to harm you or cause damage to your home.
Please do not over-complicate your safe room as this should be a defensive mechanism, not an expensive mechanism. The safe room is necessary to fill the time gap that is inevitable in every situation, if you can maintain control of time, you can reduce fatalities. In many cases, some people reportedly say that time seemed to be moving slow, or that it all happened so fast, but in fact, it never skips a beat. The aim is to protect yourself and your family in enough time for your response service to provide assistance and security. Don’t be fooled, protect your family first.
Let’s take a look at how it can be done:
Please note that these guidelines are for security from criminal intent only. Safe rooms for natural disasters, civil war, and more serious occasions will require a lot more specific and extensive details.
Choosing the location of your safe room:
The actual location of your safe room can be widely debated. Generally, when you build a new home from scratch it would be preferred to incorporate your safe room as part of the build. Like a secretive room that can only be accessed from a specific place or a basement underneath the home which is hidden of course. But as we know, all around the world we use different types of building techniques, and the most affordable and cost-effective ones will always be chosen. The simplest agreement to all would be to choose a room that is easily accessible for all family members. Most of the time this would be the master bedroom or the bathroom.
Follow these general steps to instantly improve your situation during this time gap:
- Always start with windows at your chosen safe room. All windows should be properly barred. Solid steel bars, with minimal spacing, is ideal. In some instances I have found that it is even possible to install double burglar bars around a window, one on the window frame itself with some solid round bars, still allowing the windows to open, and the second set mounted to the concrete wall on the outside of the window, which is solid steel frames. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the style and type of bars used. If you are serious about safety and feel the need to, you can even add plates to resist bullets.
- Next will be the door to the safe room. Although a solid steel door is preferable, because not all door frames are compatible with such heavy doors, a good solid wood door and a burglar door behind it will work perfectly. You do not want anyone to know your position. And you want an extra layer of protection from the burglar door to surprise them once they get through the outer door. This will generally indicate a very serious attack and at this point, I suggest a decent defensive attack. Pepper spray, prodders, bats and anything possible to use while the threat is still behind a door. Only once the door is breached do you need to use excessive force, such as a firearm or similar. You want the door to be installed directly in your safe room. If possible, you should install a burglar door in the hallway leading to the bedrooms and your safe room. This creates a layer of protection while you and the rest of the family retreat to your designated safe room. Please do not leave a gap between the door and the ceiling, this will render the door useless!
- The next step to consider is barricading the roof on top of your safe room. This is the trickiest part of the safe room, as there is not much development in this area yet, and every roof differs. But, with some help and time, you can find a solution, the idea is to make it as uncomfortable as possible for intruders. Solid wood inserts over the struts in the roof do work but can be passed with the right equipment. Designing the perfect steel barrier can be expensive, and sometimes useless as it will have to bolt or fit your wooden struts, which makes it easy to pass with the right equipment again. However, with some proper planning, this is still possible. Installing barbed wire in the roof, re-enforcing the struts, and cementing the roof tiles together can discourage most intruders. And please do install an alarm system on the roof!
- Now the final step would be to designate a cabinet for supplies and stock it with trauma kits, water, emergency communication, and lighting at the least. If you or any family member suffers from asthma, make sure you have a spare asthma pump in the cabinet, or any other medical need your family members might have.
- Always research the type of crimes in your area and upgrade your safe room accordingly.
- Do not make your safe room public, you do not want the wrong people to know your safe room details, it can render it useless.
- The door should be able to lock instantly without having to struggle with keys or locks.
- If possible, the door should swing inward.
- Installing a locking mechanism at the top, middle, and center of the door can prevent possible intrusion when the locks restrict the door from being bent or kicked in.
- Have a spare phone with airtime constantly available in your safe room.
- Remember emergency lighting in your safe room, but do not keep it on, it might give away your position.
- Keep your safe room clean and clear to avoid tripping hazards.
- Make sure your curtains have no gaps for anyone to see inside when your safe room has windows.
- Wooden/temporary walls are not preferable. Unless they are strong enough to resist being kicked in or shot through with a firearm.