Building Your Own Panic Room: It's Not as Hard as You Might Think

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Most people had never even heard of a panic room before the 2002 movie of the same name. Even then, the concept of having a secure room in your home where you could safely remain in the event of a home invasion seemed to be the domain of the rich and famous. The panic room depicted in the movie (and many real life panic rooms) are very much over the top. They can come with their own plumbing, telecommunications network, independent electricity supply, and even their own air supply. Fortunately, home invasions are a rarity in Australia. All violent crimes are on the decline, but this is not to say that they don't happen. While you won't need an outlandish movie-style panic room in your home, it can be reassuring to know that there's a secure room where you and your family can stay safe in a worst case scenario. So what are the easiest ways to convert a room in your home into a panic room?

Early Warning

There's little point in having a secure room in your home if you don't have enough notice to use it. Any outlet that sells home security systems will be able to provide you with inexpensive motion sensors. These sensors will notify you of any intruders via a control panel or even a smartphone app. Of course, a dog is also an excellent early warning system.

Choosing a Room

Your bedroom is best, as you're likely to already be there at the time of an emergency. You might wish to choose one of your children's bedrooms as well. It's all about choosing a room where all family members can quickly assemble.

Securing the Door

Even a bedroom door that can be locked can be easily broken down. Any door can be rather easily broken down if it's not contained within a secure support structure. This structure is the doorframe itself, and by adding strips of metal around the inside of the doorframe, the door becomes infinitely more secure. Both aluminium and stainless steel are appropriate. You can paint over the metal so that it matches the doorframe. Apply two deadbolts to the interior of the door. One should be by the door handle, and one should be at the base of the door which is inserted into the floor when the deadbolt is extended. These minor modifications make it nearly impossible to break the door down.

Securing the Window

The window to the secure room also needs to be reinforced. This can be achieved by installing a metal roller shutter to the window in question. The shutter can quickly be dropped into place and locked, preventing anyone from entering via the window.

Calling for Help

You don't need to have your everyday mobile phone on you to notify the authorities, and any old mobile phone will do. It doesn't even need to have a working SIM card. Turn the phone on, and you will be given the option of making an emergency call (it allows you to dial 000 only). This is an agreement adhered to by all telecommunication service providers in Australia (and is common in many countries). You just need to ensure that you keep a working phone (and charger) in the room in question.

While you will be unlikely to ever feel the need to use such a secure room, it can give added peace of mind and is not all that complicated to set up.