It is becoming increasingly important to improve safety measures at home as well as at your workplace. This has brought us to the importance of having safe zones, or safe rooms, in our homes and offices.
What is a safe room?
A safe room, also sometimes called a panic room, is a strong, fortified room built inside a house or an office, to act as a shelter in case of emergencies like a break-in, a terror attack, or other similar emergencies. A basic safe room is usually like a closet with an extra strong, solid core door and a deadbolt to lock it; though there are better ways of constructing a safe room with more space and better amenities. A safe room has to be equipped with some form of communication device so that emergency contacts can be informed of the situation.
What should a safe room have?
Before building a safe room in your house, you need to decide which room would be best for this purpose. A safe room should be one that – has one door, has an escape route, has access to a phone, is easily reachable from other rooms in the house, has no or limited glass windows, has enough space for your entire family and supplies.
One of the most important things to take care of when designing a safe room is the door. A safe room door should be a solid core metal or wood door. Next is to choose the right locks to improve your safe room security and it is best to have more than one lock, at least. You can go for heavy duty deadbolts and chain locks.
A security system is very important to ensure the safety of your house. Having a security system panel in the safe room as well will enable you to alert the police or your neighbors in case of an emergency.
Once these basic needs are sorted, you have to think of what else you could need inside the safe room. Some good safe room ideas are available on the internet, and most of them emphasize on the same few things. These include first aid, food, and water for at least one week or more, prescription drugs if anyone in the family takes them regularly, chargers for your mobile phones, flashlights, a multi-tool like a Swiss knife, self-defense tools, warm clothes, and extra clothes for everyone in the family, among other things.
Safe rooms for offices
The emergencies that may be faced at home and an office or a public building are somewhat different. Office buildings have more probability facing a terror attack or blasts, while homes usually face threats in the form of a break-in or a robbery. This is why office safe rooms have to be designed a little differently from home safe rooms. The number of people needing shelter in case of an emergency is also much greater in an office than at home. So, you have to be careful in choosing the right room, which can occupy many people, for safe shelter in the office.
Generally, the boardroom is the best choice to act as a safe room with a dual function. The board room is usually the largest in the office and also has facilities for communication with outside. Once the room has been chosen, other factors have to be looked into, such as designing a strong door with sufficient locks, reinforcing the windows with sliding protective panels, among other things. A safe room in an office must also be protected against blasts and ballistics as well as chemical gases, which is usually not required in homes. After the construction of an office safe room is complete, you again have to decide what kinds of supplies must be kept handy in the safe room in sufficient quantities.
Safe rooms for natural calamities
Safe rooms are built not just to protect you from man-made emergencies but also from natural calamities such as storms and tornadoes. Storms and tornadoes can be dangerous as flying debris are a cause of injury and death in many cases. South African disaster management authorities also encourage homeowners to build homes with safe rooms in South Africa, fulfilling all safety standards.
The best place for a safe room to protect from natural disasters is in the basement. The room should not be in a flood zone or storm surge zone, though. This room should have no windows as flying debris could smash windows and cause injury. This storm protection room is usually built of concrete so that it can withstand high-velocity winds and impacts from debris. The foundation of the safe room must be strong, and the room itself must be firmly rooted in the foundation. As far as possible, the strong room should not share any part with the main building so that any damage to the main house doesn’t damage the strong room.
Having a strong room in your home and office can help save lives.