How To Setup A Panic Room


A panic room is meant to delay an intruder until police arrive, or deter them entirely. These rooms aren’t end times bunkers designed for long term stays, and they’re not meant to be soundproofed: you want the whole world to know you’re in there and have called the police.

You can make an extremely high-tech room, with solid steel walls and fancy surveillance cameras, but the goal is just to create a safe place, and that doesn’t take much more than you already have at home. That said, there are several crucial elements to any panic room: location, doors, walls, and communication.

SEE ALSO: What Everyone Should Know About Door Lock Security

The Room:

It’s easiest (not to mention fastest) to transform an existing room in your home into a panic room. If you have a windowless room with only one door, you’re set.

If you don’t, consider using a closet; the one in your bedroom could work just fine. You’ll want to make sure you can get into this room quicklyfrom anywhere in the house.

The Door:

You will absolutely need a heavy, solid core door that’s attached to a solid, heavy duty jamb and frame. A steel door placed on your existing closet hardware probably isn’t going to cut it, so invest in a new frame and ask the salesman for the pressure rating of the door. You want something to withstand a 180 pound burglar pushing into it.

door built for outside will be sturdier than decorative interior doors. It’s harder to break open a door if it opens outwardly. Remember that you’ll need to lock yourself in; if you’re always losing your car keys, try a deadbolt instead. Deadbolts have the additional security of locking the door into the frame, and you can have more than one.

The Walls:

If you’re using an existing room, you may want to reinforce your walls. You can use steel or bulletproof materials like kevlar for this.

However, if your existing walls are constructed of crumbly sheet rock, reinforcing them will not do much and it’s best to replace them entirely with stronger materials.

SEE ALSO: How Safe Are Smart Locks? Your Security Questions Answered

The Phone:

Like mentioned earlier, you want an open line of communication. Make sure your cell phone gets service in your panic room, or keep a spare “burner” inside just in case (don’t forget a charger). Remember: landlines are easily cut.

If you have a home alarm system, it may be worthwhile to install a separate keypad in the panic room itself for an emergency outside line, though your cell phone will likely work best. Remember to stay on the line with 911 operators until they arrive at your home.

People want panic rooms for many reasons, most of which will not require a fortress. Your safety is the most important thing and can be achieved with simple steps and easily found materials. Still, the best line of defense is locking doors and windows and keeping an alarm system that will alert you to any intruders. A basic safe room can be constructed easily in most homes; stay safe and use yours wisely.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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