Some people want not only a panic room (to safe-keep themselves in case of a "situation" but also to keep any valuables that don't fit in a small safe or cache. You don't have to build a special room, unless you want to. (For free downloads for building special rooms for either a "bomb shelter" or to use as a panic room, check out the FREE section at http://www.williams-et-al.com/ - It will be up and running by this weekend!).
Also known as a "refuge room", we're going to call this a "safe-room" - good for keeping people and their valuables safe. An extra line of defense before a criminal can reach you. These rooms can be quite expensive and elaborate, but a little inexpensive do-it-yourself work can make a room you already have capable of providing major protection.
Most important is locating your safe-room where you can reach it in a hurry. Since many break-ins happen at night, it's best to make your sleeping-area your safe room. Here's a few things you can do to make your bedroom to make it a safe-room.
Take off your regular bedroom door and install an "outside" door. Get a massive, solid-wood door with a heavy bolt/lock. Make sure the hinges are on the INSIDE of the room so that an intruder can't get the door off the hinges. And since most doors can be kicked in, reinforce the bottom 1/3 with a metal plate.
- Have either a separate phone line for this room (so that it can't be cut from the outside), or a cell phone dedicated for emergency calls only. Keep it charged. If someone breaks in, call 911 and once you've informed the dispatcher of your address, your name and describe yourself and where in the house you are, then don't hang up! They can listen and record the burglar's attempts to get at you. Be careful of what you say (like don't threaten to kill the burglar) but keep a running narrative of any information you glean about the intruder.
- Most indoor walls are made of 2 layers of sheetrock nailed to 2x4 wall studs spaced a foot or so apart. Easy to kick through. So... you need to reinforce parts of your wall, especially around the door or anywhere someone could kick through in an adjoining room. Consider paneling with a strong material such as plywood. Be sure to use lots of extra nails to make it more firmly attached.
- Consider using concrete since it also protects from bullets and is a bit more fire retardant! Make sure your foundation can support the weight of concrete.
- Keep your firearms and other valuables in the safe-room. If you need your firearm, you have access to it. Just don't shoot at the police! And when meeting police at the door, be sure to put your firearm away first. Note: You may be able to fire a warning shot through your bedroom door to the intruder but before it even comes to this, check your local laws to see if you can legally get away with this.
- Since you could be burgled while you are away from home, make sure you can dead-bolt and lock the safe-room from the outside. Obviously, you'll need to keep the key with you! This way, the burglar will have to waste time trying to enter the safe-room and will have less time to break into an actual safe you may have in the room.
A burglar alarm sounding in the middle of the night can give you a few extra seconds you may need to gather everyone in your safe-room and lock/bolt the door. Install an inexpensive burglar alarm with motion sensors or infrared detectors.
Consider keeping at least some of your extra supplies in this safe-room. Besides your valuables and firearms and ammo, keep some of your stored food, extra toiletries and bottles of water under the bed or in your closet. That includes your portable toilet too (if you don't have a bathroom connected to your bedroom).
Even if you can't do a lot of this, price out what you CAN do, then do it.
So... what have YOU done to create a safe place for your valuables?