A Panic Room is a dedicated room in your house or office that is protected against a variety of threats. It is your last resort safe haven.
Successful security is often defined by the onion principle. Let's look at a typical South African house:
- The outer layers of your security begins with a fence, or external barrier.
- The next layer might be an early warning system on your premises.
- Your house walls, roof, doors, security gates, windows and burglar proofing defines your sanctuary. The unfortunate reality is that this sanctuary is often breached by criminals.
- Many houses now have an inner barrier: The sleeping areas might be secured in yet another 'layer' with additional security gates in the passage.
- A Panic Room forms the inner most sanctuary.
Some ideas to consider when planning and designing a panic room: If you are building a new house or office it is much easier to optimise the layout, but like most of us, the reality is that with increasing criminality we must plan around our existing houses. Your panic room should be situated such that you can reach it in a retreating situation. This might often be the master bedroom of the house, but consider how you will reach the panic room if a security breach comes from an unexpected entry point. Remember that burglaries do not always happen at night. It is becoming common practice for burglaries to happen in broad daylight, or at times when you are relaxed and not expecting something - Saturday afternoon with some friends having a braai in the backyard, or Sunday morning when you might be at church or family.
Think about the following: Can you reach your children and retreat with them to a panic room? How well protected is the panic room - a room with a hardened door is an excellent start, but what about the ceiling, windows, etc? Are your children & family members capable of operating the panic room door on their own? Do you have communication methods with the outside world if you are trapped in the panic room - perhaps a spare cell phone, or community radio? Do you have a method of observing what is happening outside the room or building, such as CCTV or viewing portals? Can you treat medical emergencies - do you have a first aid kit (and training)(A company such as Meddev can assist with top quality first aid kits)? What if a fire breaks out - do you have a fire extinguisher in the room? If you own a firearm, spare ammunition might be helpful (please remember to consult with an expert on the safe and legal storage of firearms and ammunition. Companies such as The Edge shooting academy provides excellent training from beginner to advanced levels). If you trapped for a long time, do you have extra water and food? Perhaps something to sooth young children and keep them busy. Can you keep warm and comfortable - remember that you might suffer from shock after an attack where you need to barricade yourself. Do you have an escape plan...?
For everybody the situation will vary - if you live in a city, help might be closer at hand than if you life in a remote area. The strength of the panic room depends a lot on the type of potential attack, and unfortunately, on your personal budget. Feel free to contact our office for a confidential discussion and ideas on a custom solution for your situation.