A panic room is meant to delay an intruder until police arrive, or deter them entirely. These rooms arent end times bunkers designed for long term stays, and theyre not meant to be soundproofed: you want the whole world to know youre 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 doesnt 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.
Its 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, youre set.
If you dont, consider using a closet; the one in your bedroom could work just fine. Youll want to make sure you can get into this room quicklyfrom anywhere in the house.
You will absolutely need a heavy, solid core door thats attached to a solid, heavy duty jamb and frame. A steel door placed on your existing closet hardware probably isnt 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.
A door built for outside will be sturdier than decorative interior doors. Its harder to break open a door if it opens outwardly. Remember that youll need to lock yourself in; if youre 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.
If youre 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 its best to replace them entirely with stronger materials.
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 (dont 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.