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Panic Rooms - The Ultimate Protection?

Henson Security - Burglar Alarms

Hopefully you've seen Panic Room starring Jodie Foster and the very young Kristen Stewart, a single mum who moves into a large townhouse in NYC that is targeted by burglars. The only difficult thing for them is that, what the burglars want, is housed in a state of the art panic room which Jodie and Kristen are barricaded in. We all know that nothing is more important than the safety of you and your family and when you feel it’s time to take security to the next level, a panic room may be just the measure you need to sleep better at night. These secure sanctuaries keep you safe in the event of a break-in and allow you to seek assistance while remaining safe and protected. Panic rooms vary in may different ways, including levels or security and purpose and can be created for both the average household, to the super super rich.

Whether you’re feeling insecure at home or simply want to feel more protected in the event of a home burglary, here are some basics for building your own panic room.

Step 1 - Other Security Measures

Just because you’re putting in a panic room doesn’t mean you can overlook the importance of external security systems. The best case scenario in the event of an attempted break-in is to fend off the intruder before you have to resort to the panic room. A burglar alarm, security cameras and/or third-party monitoring should be a part of your home security strategy, no matter what, and if that doesn’t deter the burglar, then you have a head start to get in your panic room and call for help.

Step 2 - Location, Location, Location

It won’t do you any good to have a panic room that no one can get to when you need it. You need to find an interior room preferably without windows that you can transform into a safe room. A bedroom or centrally-located closet is often the perfect choice, given that there is enough space for the number of people you need to protect. When calculating space needs, a good rule of thumb is to plan on about 10 square feet of floor space per person. While many people are tempted to build a panic room in the basement or garage, these locations aren’t easily accessible if someone is already in your house or gets in faster than you can get to your panic room.

Step 3 - Don’t Forget the Triple D

The triple D’s — Door, Deadlock and Doorframe — are the foundation of creating an impenetrable space. Putting in a solid core, outside door won’t do much good if the doorframe can be broken with enough force. You need to put in a reinforced doorframe along with a new door and you should make sure it can withstand the full force of a man around 180 pounds repeatedly kicking or slamming himself against it. And make sure that you replace short screws with longer ones in all hinges.

In addition, you should install a heavy duty deadbolt. It’s worth considering a one-sided deadbolt that you can throw closed after securing the doorknob. When shopping for locks keep in mind that your goal is to keep the door secured in the doorframe, so you may also want to add foot locks or floor bars. If the intruder has to remove the whole doorframe to get in, you’ve bought yourself precious time for help to get there. Fully armoured security doors have risen in popularity over recent years, and steel lined doors can now be manufactured to look like average internal and external doors in your property, or hidden behind mirrors.

Step 4 - Stay Connected

You want to stay physically separate from a burglar, but you also want to be able to call for help and you certainly don’t want to be at the mercy of a mobile phone signal. Make sure you have a backup phone line installed specifically for the panic room. A panic button linked into your monitored alarm system should also be installed in the room which can be pressed to summon police response. A Not only do you need to keep the police updated about what is happening at your house, but the recorded phone call may be helpful if you go to court.

Monitors and cameras that can give you a play-by-play of what’s happening outside the panic room are also a good idea. You can find affordable cameras at large DIY Shops, or talk to us about installing discreet internal and external cameras.

Step 5 - Simple Comforts

No panic room is complete without some basic essentials like blankets, torches, a first-aid kit, and food and water. Make sure that you regularly rotate out the food and water in the safe room to ensure freshness, as well as test torches and other battery-operated supplies to make sure they’re still working. Hopefully you won’t be in your panic room for more than the time it takes for help to arrive, but, just in case, plan on at least two litres of water per person per day. It’s smart to have about three days’ worth of supplies on hand.

Do you think adding a panic room is a good idea for your home and family?

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