“What-if,” the worrisome words, arrive in the conscious spinning topics from safety and financial security to loved ones and pet health. Asking, “What can I do?” leads to a proactive decision to invest time in the ultimate insurance policy—valuable life skills encompassing security, shelter, food, water, and medical care! In any emergency, from extreme weather to a personal disaster, you have the power to take charge of your fate by making plans and taking action!
Have you ever said, “Am I watching a movie, or could this become a real-world experience?” A thrilling drama in 2002 featured a mother and daughter trapped within a panic room during a home invasion. For movie-goers, it was a sensational on-the-edge-of-your-seat experience! In the real world, homeowners acted on the “what-if” moment to flee to a safe location. In the face of potential danger, does your family have a viable plan?
The Ancient Egyptians were masters at building secret rooms to protect an entombed pharaoh’s treasure. Four thousand years later, heads of households seek to safeguard their loved ones while securing valuables in a safe place. Whether it’s called a “safe” or “panic” room, the reinforced room can be as small as a closet, a third bedroom, or an office. According to the Department of Justice Emergency Preparedness manual, “Ten square feet of floor space per person will provide sufficient air and prevent the build-up of carbon dioxide for up to five hours.”
Questions to ask yourself:
- Do we have space with ample ventilation?
- Is there a room without a window, but which has a phone outlet and preferably bathroom accessibility? Choose your level of importance!
The goal is to fortify a room from outside forces.
Start Outside In
Every idea begins with options ranging within a certain level of financial investment. The goal is to choose which options can make a room secure. Consider purchasing shatter-proof window film and blackout curtains. Both can create the perfect illusion! Alternatively, “high-security windows” serve one distinct purpose, to withstand brute force or gale storms. The frame is made of cold steel, while the glass offers energy-efficiency and shatter-proof standards. Start researching “security windows!”
- Doors: Most interior doors have a hollow core, promising noise reduction and privacy; instead, choose a steel exterior door! Using three-inch screws to attach the door raises one level of safety.
- Don’t Discount the Door’s Frame: Even the frame has a strength rating. Learn whether it can withstand the force of repeated blows; otherwise, it’s vital to match the level of strength obtained by a steel door!
- Locks: Dependable locking mechanisms are available to secure a door. Consider a Grade-1 deadbolt at the top and bottom to reduce the leverage against a single point.
- Windows: High-security windows serve one purpose, to withstand brute or gale forces. The frame is comprised of cold steel, while the glass can serve the purpose of energy efficiency and shatter-proof safety! Start researching “security windows”! (Always cover windows with blackout curtains!)
- Walls: A product called “Sure-board” merges the material gypsum board with steel to create invincibility at a high-price. Alternative options to research are sheets of Kevlar, fiberglass, or steel sheathing.
Stock Your Room
Any effort to create a fortified room may require hunkering down for a few hours, up to overnight. Don’t forget to stock it with several essential comforts!
- While a body can survive without food, it requires water! Keep a case of water bottles in a closet. And, eliminate the plastic wrapping!
- Each family member should have a backpack of personal effects. It may include clothes, a blanket, or a favorite book. You never know when you may need a distraction to remain calm during a storm!
- Consider using the safe room to store pantry items and contain the house monitoring system.
- Always keep medical supplies, a means to relieve the bladder, and an energy source, such as a portable power block, that can charge a cell phone or lantern.
- Think about a plan for self-defense!
Most children have a fascination with safe rooms, which is a positive step to help everyone understand their function and keep a family secret! Talk about it openly; perhaps hold a family meeting. In time, the novelty will wear off, and children will become eager to offer suggestions and improvements!
Next Month: Staying or Leaving?