Home invasion is an increasingly dangerous crime. It typically differs from plain burglary in that the perpetrators have a violent intent, and it usually involves more that one perpetrator. Having a safe room to go to could be an important part of your home safety plan.
In Part 1 we discussed a number of ways to harden your home and make it more secure. The best defense against home invasion is to keep the invaders out of your house to begin with. If your outer defenses are breached, having a safe room to retreat to could be a life saver.
A safe room, as the name indicates, is a room in your dwelling that you and your family to get to that will protect you from a serious threat. Many types of safe room designs exist. If you have the funds, you can have a safe room built that will protect you in the event of a tornado or other natural disaster. FEMA has a number of documents on that subject. Many preppers do not have the funds for such construction, and for our purposes, we are discussing a safe room set up in your apartment or house to protect yourself in the event of a home invasion. It is a room you can retreat to, that the intruders cannot get into, and you can call for help. It is not intended to be a combat bunker where you shoot it out with the bad guys.
A safe room in your home is going to be predicated on your family situation, and the location of the sleeping arrangement of all family members. Before you select a room to be your safe room, sit down and think. You need a family safety plan to begin with. This plan would cover all emergencies from fire evacuation to bugging out. Each person should know what to do, and you need to rehearse your plan often enough so everyone stays current.
Who Needs a Safe Room If I Have a Gun?
O.K. Rambo, let’s think this one through. Personally I am armed to the teeth and know how to use them. I teach other people how to use them. I also understand the tactical disadvantage of engaging multiple armed assailants. I am also not disabled, elderly, a single woman being stalked by a nut case ex, or a parent with small children. For many people, having a safe room to escape to along with their brood is the safest and most logical answer to surviving a home invasion. (and yes, you should still have a gun). Also, unfortunately, many people live in jurisdictions that require you to attempt to retreat before using deadly force, even in their own home! If you live in this type of stupidity, you might wish to consider the possibility of moving to another jurisdiction.
Every family and housing situation is different, but the idea is to select a room that you can get all members of the household to as quickly as possible. (Remember your family safety plan). It might be the basement, or bedroom or even a large bathroom. Try to select a room with no windows or skylight. Most indoor doors are hollow wood. You need to replace the door with a solid type, wood or steel. Hang it so it opens outwardly. Use deadbolts with at least a 1 inch throw, and consider using two of them. Strike plates should be 4 screw design with screws at least three inches long. If hinges on exterior, flange, weld, or pin the hinge pins to prevent removal and ensure they have 3 inch screws on the hinge plates. A door is really only as solid at the frame it is attached to. Try to reinforce the wooden frame with angle iron, or replace it with a steel frame. The whole idea is to ensure the door remains intact after repeated hits by a 180lb. man. If you must use a room with a window, shatterproof glass would be essential as well as an iron grate over it. Insure your safe room has an electrical outlet to charge your cell phone if necessary.
Safe Room Supplies
You safe room is going to need certain supplies. Many people keep these items in the safe room pre stocked and some use a sort of mini-bug out bag to grab and go to the safe room. Personally, I recommend stocking the safe room ahead of time. It would be too easy to forget to grab the bag under stress or you might be in an area of the house that you couldn’t get to it in time. You need to be able to survive, communicate, and if necessary defend yourself. Here is a small recommended list that you can add to depending on your situation:
- A firearm for defense. If you can, try to dedicate at least one firearm that will be stored in the safe room. Insure you have the training to properly and legally defend yourself if necessary.
- A cell phone. This is essential. The idea is to stay safe long enough to call 911 for help and to remain safe until the police arrive. Make sure you have a charger with it. Dead battery can equal dead you. Test your cell phone from the safe room to insure you have coverage from it! If you have to call 911, stay on the line! This will be critical for communication when the police arrive.
- A good first aid kit. Don’t forget any medication you might need.
- Water and munchies. If you are using a bathroom the water problem is solved.
- A good flash light or security light.
- A small HAM radio if the cell phone fails
- Sanitation concerns. If you are not using the bathroom, you need a way to relieve yourself if you have a long wait.
Deciding on how to set up a safe room takes a lot of serious thought. This is just an overview to get you started.
So it is that good warriors take their stand on ground where they cannot lose, and do not overlook conditions that make an opponent prone to defeat.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War