While the idea may seem a bit frivolous thanks to too many bad Hollywood movies, a panic room can actually be a good security investment for nearly any family. It doesn’t need to be fancy and expensive so long as it can effectively serve its purpose. So what is a panic room and why would you need one? The basic idea is to create a small sanctuary within your home that can protect you and your family in case of unwanted villains in your home. It needs to be inaccessible from the outside once locked and have communication or an automatic alarm system to alert authorities. While you may think that this only applies to a demographic way above your pay grade you may be surprised to find that building a panic room can be an affordable and fun project.
The first step is finding a place in your home that you can dedicate to becoming a panic room. It doesn’t need to be situated behind a bookcase or even especially hidden (though it’s not a bad idea). You can use a windowless spare bedroom or large closet with some simple modifications. One of the first things that you’ll need to do is install a ‘front door’ quality door. Rather than the composite and sometimes partially hollow doors that are usually used for interiors you’re going to want a thick and heavy solid-core door that can provide the extra resilience desired. Once you have a door it’s a good idea to reinforce the door jamb and outfit it with quality deadbolts. Additionally you may want to install longer screws on the hinges.
If possible it’s also a good idea to reinforce the walls of your panic room. There are a lot of different materials available for this ranging from plywood and chicken wire to kevlar panels available for this task. This is more necessary if you have thin drywall in your house in the first place. If you have brick or stone walls this may not even be necessary. Next you’ll need to think about electricity and ventilation for your room. On a budget hand cranks and batteries will suffice for electricity. If you do opt for a generator you will definitely need an external ventilation system.
Now that you have the basic foundation of your panic room you’ll need to outfit it with some basic emergency amenities. One of the most important parts is equipping your panic room with a separate land line or ham radio (though it may also be a good idea to keep a spare cell phone inside too). Your panic room is a great place to keep a gun safe as well as the monitoring station if you have security cameras. Be sure to stock enough food, water, and medical supplies for a few days (1 gallon of water per day per person).
Ultimately it doesn’t have to be a costly investment and in addition to providing protection for you and your family it can also work as a great place to store your valuables or can work as a makeshift storm shelter with some small adjustments to the build plan.