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Don’t be Alarmed! You’re Secure in a Safe Room!
A brief look at Safe Rooms and their applications.
by Jeff Morris, Managing Director, Jayfort Security Services Ltd
Most people who have heard of a ‘Panic Room’ probably think of a Hollywood film about a woman holed up in a secure room within her house while intruders are trying to get to her. Panic Rooms go by many different names and whether we call them Safe Rooms, Strong Rooms, Refuges or Citadels, the principal has always been the same since Medieval times; a safe place in times of stress.
An obvious candidate for a Safe Room is the high net-worth individual who wants to ensure the safety of their family if confronted by intruders in the home. Lone workers, especially late at night also need protection. These individuals are vulnerable to opportunistic threats. Then there are those who represent strategic targets for criminals and terrorists. These targets include politicians and business people travelling to unstable parts of the world. Air planes, boats and trains can also be targeted by terrorists or pirates and require a different solution. While safe rooms are used for non-human threats such as earthquake, flooding and tornado or even in chemical plants, their main application is in protecting people from other people, especially in the UK where natural disasters are not the main concern.
While the applications may differ, all Panic Rooms have certain things in common. They must be easily accessible and work in harmony with an effective security and alarm system. Safe Rooms need to be secure enough to protect their occupants from the immediate threat, and need to capable of sustaining life for however long is necessary. Once inside, effective communication is essential so the necessary help can be summoned to neutralise the threat. These are the four components that make up a Safe Room: Accessibility, Security, Life Support and Communication.
In today’s world of convenient travel and the global economy, Safe Rooms also need to be portable, and this had led to an evolution in how they are constructed.
What will vary from one application to another will include capacity, what is stored in the Safe Room and other features and functions. For example, a domestic environment is unlikely to need anything larger than a small room with an emergency phone line. On the other side of the spectrum, a Safe Room designed to protect embassy staff or senior politicians may include communication and surveillance equipment, and allow for extended occupancy. That means a safe supply of air, water, food and effective sanitation. The structure of the room would also be higher grade to withstand ballistic attack or explosion.
In the home, theoretically the bedroom can be converted into a Secure Room. This would involve using an external-type, solid door with multiple locks and a higher specification frame. The average internal-type door is hollow on the inside and will not withstand a sustained and determined attack. These alterations would just be the start.
Traditionally, a truly Safe Room would have been designed as a stand-alone building within a building. That is, a room that would be secure even if the building it was housed in was destroyed as could happen with tornado. Such a room would most commonly be found on the ground floor with its own foundations so it could not be moved or turned over. In the case of flood protection however, a room in an upper floor would need to be adapted.
Nowadays Safe Rooms are designed for easy mobility from one site to another. Whether small or large, they can be transported as flat pack kits and constructed quickly and easily. These portable Safe Rooms have proved themselves to be just as effective as the traditional ‘built in’ panic rooms but offer far more convenience and versatility for the user.
In summary, Panic Rooms come in all shapes and sizes to account for a range of users, threats and specifications. That is what makes them so interesting. If you would like to know more about how a modular Safe Room could work for you or for your employees, the UK’s leading specialist, Jayfort Security Services Ltd are happy to carry out a free assessment with no obligation.