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Building A Panic Or Safe Room

Updated on September 21, 2014
Your safe room can be as simple or as elaborate as you want.
Your safe room can be as simple or as elaborate as you want.
Tornadoes Are A Great Reason For A Safe Room.
Tornadoes Are A Great Reason For A Safe Room.
Hurricane Andrew Was One Of The Last Major Hurricanes To Hit The USA.
Hurricane Andrew Was One Of The Last Major Hurricanes To Hit The USA.

The Government May Help With The Cost Of Your Safe Room.

Contact your local, state, and National FEMA office to see if there is money available to help with the cost of your safe room. Homeowners may be able to obtain funding through grants, special funds, or other assistance to help with the cost of building a safe room in an existing home. FEMA and the NSSA which is the National Storm Shelter Association can provide you with all kinds of information about safe rooms and storm shelters. Anything you want to know or find out they can tell you. In case you don't know you may have to say it is a storm or tornado shelter in order to get financial aid to help pay for it.

Do You Need A Building Permit For Your Safe Room Or Storm Shelter.

Once you find out if the government will help with the cost of your safe room you will need to check with your local city, county, and state building departments to see what if any building permit or permits you will need for the construction of a safe room or storm shelter.

Where Is Your Safe Room Or Storm Shelter Going To Be Located.

You will need to locate the exact place where your safe room or storm shelter is going to be built. If your house has a basement that would probably be the ideal place for your safe room or storm shelter. Under a set of stairs is another ideal place to build your safe room or storm shelter. In a basement or under the stairs I would have to have an emergency trap door exit installed so I would have an emergency way out in case the door was blocked so I couldn't get it open. I have friends who have a under the stairs safe room that you would never know was there unless you knew. They had the lower part of the stairs fixed so they open up and that is the door into their safe room. There are no other way into their safe room and the average person would never guess that its there.

How Much Space Do You Need In Your Safe Room Or Storm Shelter.

You need o determine exactly how much space you need in your safe room or storm shelter. FEMA suggests 5 square foot per person for storm shelters. If you want to use the safe room or storm shelter long term you will probably want at least 25 square feet per person and you probably are going to want to have extra storage space for food, water, and other provisions.

Emergency Lighting For Your Safe Room Or Storm Shelter.

You want to be sure to have battery operated lights in your safe room or storm shelter. I would suggest having the kind of battery operated lights that you touch and they come on. Have two of these lights anywhere you think you need one light and have plenty of spare batteries. Be sure that your batteries stay fresh by replacing them as often as necessary.

Have A Lock Box In Your Safe Room Or Storm Shelter For Weapons

This is a good place to keep your weapons all the time and you should buy one of the large gun safes that has a keypad that doesn't depend on electricity to operate. You can keep all your weapons and ammunition here and you will always know where they are. No one else will know where your weapons are and you can to them when you need them.

I Have An Emergency Water Storage Tank Available.

What I did for my safe room was install a 300 gallon water storage tank in my garage and a hose runs from the bottom of the water storage tank to a sink I have in my safe room. I have the water storage tank built in so you would never know it was there unless you know where to look. I can set the wall in front of it out of the way and open the valve at the bottom to drain it to put fresh water in. It has a lid on top that screws off so you can fill it with a hose pipe. When I put the wall in place you would never know the water tank is back there.

Emergency Exit

I have an emergency exit from my safe room that runs into a sheet rock wall in the garage that could easily be broken through if you needed to. I have a secure trap door in the safe room that has to be unlocked before you could use the emergency exit.

Equip Your Panic Or Safe Room With A Bathroom

Ideally your panic or safe room should have a bathroom with a composting toilet so you don't need water to flush it and a sink and shower. Install water tanks so you'll have water in an emergency. Have plenty of toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer in the bathroom. A flush toilet that flushes by water won't be any good to you if they turn the water off. So install a composting toilet if you can. This way the commode can be used even if you have little or no water.

Be Sure You Have The Needed Supplies To Last At Least A Week Locked In The Room.

Be sure that you have enough food, water, and other supplies to be able to stay in the panic or safe room for at least a week and ideally for a month. The longer the better. But also be prepared for when you have to leave the room. Be prepared to defend you and your family in case you have to come out of the panic or safe room and face people who may try to take your supplies.

Have A Cache Of Supplies Hidden In A Safe Place Near By

You should be prepared and have a cache of supplies hidden near by so that you can get to them with out a lot of travel or trouble. These supplies should include a food supply for everyone in the panic room for three days. Its always better to be prepared and safe. I bury my caches in large plastic boxes with snap on lids. I make sure to put the large plastic box into a large plastic bag that I seal up and then I bury the whole thing. That way its safe and I can dig it up in a hurry if I need it.

Bottled Water Supply

Bottled Water will keep for a long time and you should do like I do and keep a good supply of bottled water on hand. I built hiding spaces under the stairs and behind the bathroom wall. I keep bottled water, MRE's, and etc in those well hidden hiding places. The one thing to keep in mind about bottled water is you don't want it to freeze and bust the bottles of water open. My big bathroom backs up to the garage wall. I went in the garage and built a false wall leaving four foot behind the wall. In the bathroom I put the sink and sink cabinet on rollers so I can roll it out of the way if needed. Behind that cabinet is a hidden 4 ft. X 4 ft. door into my large hidden storage room. If you didn't know it was there you would never find it.

Be Prepared Is The Important Thing

Being prepared is the important thing that you need to keep in mind. In the event of a real bad emergency you must be prepared to use deadly force to protect what is yours. And this should include your home, your family, and your supplies. In the event your attacked you must be willing and able to defend you and your family.

Building A Panic Or Safe Room, Be Sure You Can Defend Your Panic Or Safe Room.

Here in 2012 with the predicted end of the world on December 21, 2012 Panic Rooms or Safe Rooms are becoming ever increasingly more popular. Even if the world does not end in 2012 a safe room is still a good ideal. Especially in the event of storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or man made disaster. Safe rooms are also built to store valuables.

If you're here reading this in 2014 when I'm writing this addition then you know that 2012 has come and went. But I think in today's world that having a Panic or Safe Room would be a really good ideal. I believe very much in being prepared. I suggest having a very well built panic or safe room and while it should have only one entrance I do think it's a real good ideal to have a emergency hidden escape door so you can get out of the room if the main entrance is blocked or you need to get out because the door is being attacked. Ideally there should be a hidden way out of the room so you can make your way out of the room and not be seen by people outside the room.

You should think of a safe room as a box with only one opening. If you use a room or bedroom as a safe room you should install heavy duty metal grates over interior windows with the metal grate opening into the room. Have your metal mesh fine enough so someone can't easily throw something into your safe room through the window. Have at least one and preferably two fire extinguishers easily accessible in the safe room.

If your using a room as a safe room you will have to think about how someone could easily get into the safe room. The first thing you want to think about is the door into the room. Take out the door and install a heavy duty door frame and solid steel door. You want a door that opens from the outside with a key with a dead bolt at the top and bottom that only operates from the inside. You want a heavy duty wooden bar installed across the door on the inside and you want it heavily reinforced so it would be extremely hard for some one to kick their way through from the outside.

Watch Out For Common Walls To Protect Your Panic Or Safe Room.

You need to think about common walls and closets that back up against each other. You will need to reinforce the walls with lumber and plywood that you can repaint on the inside so no one can easily kick their way through. You should also reinforce the ceiling with lumber and plywood so someone can't just get in that way. The inside of closets that connect to other closets at the back will have to be reinforced so no one can come through the closet that way.

This would be the ideal way to construct a safe room. You want a battery operated AM/FM radio and a battery operated weather radio in your safe room. You want plenty of extra batteries. You also want a cellular phone that you keep well charged in the safe room. Buy one of the $45 a month ones that Walmart has and except in extreme conditions you'll have a telephone.

In the closet of your safe room should be enough emergency supplies to last the people in the safe room at least a week. These should include water, survival food like MRE's, a large first aid kit, a supply of snacks, candy bars, and etc. You want food and water to provide everyone with food and water for a week.

In the event that things are really bad outside your safe room you want to plan for the eventuality of having to leave your safe room. Ideally you should have cameras installed outside the safe room so you can see exactly what is happening in the rest of your house including outside the front door. Have a monitor in your safe room so you can see what is going on.Of course if the power goes out these will not work. Someone who is hopefully armed will have to go out and check things out. You have to know what is going on outside your safe room and outside your house. There is only so much you can see out the window. And if the room has a window or windows then your going to have to protect that window or windows. Ideally any window or windows should be covered with wire mesh so you can see out but no one can get in or throw something into the room with you.

Plan For Leaving Your Safe Room.

In the event you're in the safe room as long as you can and you can't stay there have a plan in place to be able to get out of the safe room and get outside. Plan your escape through the door and or out a window. Have a bug out bag prepared and ready for each person with a three day supply of food and water in the bag along with other supplies. The bug out bags should also contain items like canvas tarps, hammers, nails, fishing kits, water canteens, rope, matches sealed in plastic containers, and anything to insure survival.

With tarps, rope, and matches you can establish a camp site and fire. Everyone in your group should know how to build a fire if they need to.Everyone in your group should know how to fish in an emergency and basic first aid. Being able to fish and do basic first aid could be a life saver.

You should also practice and learn everything you can about scavenging. Make a list of where stuff is. By this I mean where food, water, and other supplies are located. Of course in a legal society you would never go scavenging. But if everything goes all to hell around you you may have to. If you do be prepared with sledge hammers, hammers, pry bars, crow bars and etc.

You should train everyone that is going to be in your panic or safe room in how to use a shotgun, a handgun and a crossbow. Remember that high quality cross bows can be silent but deadly. You can take someone out with one and even other people close to you won't hear the kill shot.

You should not leave your safe room until you have to. The only way you should leave the safe room early is if the house around you is on fire or the safe room becomes unsafe. As long as you have food and water you can survive. If there is a bad natural or man made disaster outside listen to your radios to see what is going on outside. If you are told to leave a area because it is going to become unsafe you should go. But go carefully. You will have to decide if you need to go armed. In the event of a bad enough situation other people may very well be armed. If your not armed you can not protect yourself.

Do You Want A Hand Gun Or Other Weapons

Before a disaster strikes you can be as legal as you can. If you want to own and use hand guns you should be able to obtain a hand gun permit in your area and in some states you may be able to obtain a concealed weapon permit.

I prefer a pump action 12 gauge shotgun because a 12 gauge shot gun has great stopping power and can be a crowd stopper. A multi shot shot gun loaded with 12 gauge buck shot is the best defense weapon you can have. Have a good supply of all kinds of shot gun shells in case you want or need to go hunting with your shot gun. If you do choose a hand gun you should go to a range or a place where you can become a good to excellent shot with your hand gun.

I suggest to everyone to purchase a cross bow and tell them to practice with it until they become perfect with it. A high powered cross bow is an excellent weapon and you can use a cross bow in a almost silent mode. In really bad times a cross bow or two would be an excellent weapon to have. Be sure to have a good supply of all types of bolts for your cross bow. You can use a high powered crossbow for both defense and hunting.

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Here Is An Above Ground Safe Room. The Door Has Not Yet Been Installed.
Here Is An Above Ground Safe Room. The Door Has Not Yet Been Installed.

Safe Room Information

1. Choose a room or a closet that has no windows or skylights. It should have only the one door.

2. You need to remove the current door and install a heavy duty steel door in a steel frame.

3. You will need to heavily reinforce the walls, floor, and ceiling of the room with heavy duty one inch plywood that is screwed into place. You can repaint the plywood on the inside if the room is used for a bedroom or etc. on a regular basis.

4. Set up a video monitoring system so you can see what is going on inside the house and outdoors so you will know what is going on.

5. Stock the room with supplies, water, food, a gun safe, fire extinguishers, two way radio, spare cell phone, and anything else you might need in a serious man made or natural disaster. Have a bug out bag for each person as described above. Have a bug out plan of where you are going to if you have to leave your safe room or storm shelter.

Back Up Plans May Become Very Important.

You should reinforce an outdoor building and store a good quality power generator and a hundred gallons of gas in the out building. This way you can have power in an emergency. You can store extra water and food supplies in the out building. Have a heavy duty reinforced door on your out building and an alarm so you will know if some one tampers with it.

Emergency Safety Lights.

You can now buy and install solar powered flood lights to light up the outside of your house so you can see who is there and what they are doing.

You should also buy at least four heavy duty high powered flashlights so you can light up anything and see what is going on.

Cooperate With Your Neighbors If Possible

If everything goes all to hell you can make arrangements with your neighbors to protect your entire neighborhood. Looters will move on especially if they encounter organized armed resistance.

Thank You For Reading My Hub Page On Panic Rooms And Safe Rooms

I hope you find this information helpful and I want to thank you for reading my Hub Page. I do really appreciate it. I hope you will send the link to this Hub Page to all your friends and anyone who might benefit from this information. Thank You Very Much.

Please post your comments, tips, or suggestions about Panic Or Safe Rooms now and thanks for reading. Thanks For SHARING.

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    • LongTimeMother profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Hi crazyhorsesghost. I built an underground fire bunker to protect my family during catastrophic fire warnings here in Australia. I hadn't actually considered it as protection from other people, but we do live in a very uncertain world and if push came to shove, I guess it would be a good place to take refuge.

      It did occur to me while watching the news the other night about the possibility that North Korea may use nuclear weapons that the thick earth covering on my bunker and new rammed earth walls around its entry may prove very timely.

      I don't like to think it would ever be necessary, but it is kind of reassuring to know we have an option if needed. When I wrote a hub about building my bunker I asked for suggestions about what else I should put in it. I keep the obvious things needed during fire season for survival through the fire plus in the period afterwards.

      Nobody suggested video monitors - I guess because you'd expect them to melt in a fire. After reading this hub I am thinking I might just add that to my plan, just in case I need to use it as a safe room and see what's happening outside.

      This is a very thought provoking hub. Voted up. :)

    • moonlake profile image


      7 years ago from America

      It's a sad day that we have to all think about this but that's the way of our world now. All very good ideas.

      Voted up.

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 

      7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      This is a really good idea for those that can't afford a bunker. Very informative and very well written. Thanks crazyhorse!

      Tweeted, FB'd, pinned and shared!

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      7 years ago from Hawaii

      I have thought about this for some time and have had discussions with family whether it is something to consider in light of what's going on all over, as you mentioned. I want to feel safe and for loved ones to be spared from disasters that can strike any time. This made me think again. Thanks!


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