Safe Rooms: An Affordable and Effective Option
What is a Safe Room?
Safe rooms, sometimes referred to as panic rooms, are hardened structures that are not Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Certified, but they are constructed using the same method as UL burglary-rated products. A safe room is essentially a vault – for the protection of people. They are thinner and less heavy, and as a result, much more affordable!
Safe rooms consist of a laminated panel with multiple layers: expanded metal, poly treated OSB, epoxy, and a proprietary mix of minerals that degrades saw blades, drill bits, and galvanized sheet metal.
Safe rooms can take on various forms. In either a commercial or residential setting, they may come in the form of offices, storage areas, bathrooms, closets, community centers, underground spaces, comfortable living spaces, and more.
The Benefits of a Safe Room
Looking for a highly protective room but don’t necessarily need a UL-Rated vault? A safe room is a more affordable but highly effective option. In addition to cost savings, safe rooms include a multitude of benefits that include:
Energy efficiency – The solid protection provided by a safe room increases energy efficiency by containing and retaining heat or cold air, resulting in additional savings.
Lower insurance premiums – By having a safe room, you have taken an active step in ensuring the safety of people, structures, and belongings. Some insurance companies take this into account, which reduces your risk and lowers your premiums.
Mold and termite resistance – Special materials, along with the structural integrity of safe rooms, provides resistance to dangerous mold and pests such as termites.
Low maintenance – Once a safe room is put in place, the maintenance is minimal. As a supremely solid structure, a safe room is built to last and provides long-term safety.
Safe Rooms Have Many Functions!
Safe rooms are for both residential and commercial use and they serve many purposes that include:
Severe weather protection – A sturdy safe room provides protection from the force of a storm, shielding its inhabitants from flying debris, water, structural damage, and other threats. Tornadoes, hurricanes, and other severe weather conditions can be life threatening. A safe room can be a life saver in such extreme conditions.
Disaster protection – In the event of a terror attack or a natural disaster, a safe room provides a protective area in the face of such disasters.
Asset protection – Anything of value is of interest to a thief. Jewelry, expensive electronics, cash – safe rooms serve as an added layer of security in the event of an attempted burglary.
Document security - From precious photographs to confidential documents, a safe room further ensures the protection of such valued and sensitive items.
Active shooter protection – Unfortunately, shootings have become all too common in modern society. Safe rooms can be built with bulletproof materials, ensuring protection from gunfire.
Hiding space – In the case of a home invasion or any threat of violence at home or in the workplace, safe rooms provide protection until the threat has been cleared. A safe room can be built in a secret space, such as behind a bookcase or a mirror.
For a basic safe room, the U.S. Department of Justice Emergency Preparedness handbook recommends the following essential supplies:
- nonperishable food
- safe water supply
- first aid kit with necessary medications
- flashlights and extra batteries
- battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- sanitation supplies
- important documents
- potassium-iodine tablets (to prevent radiation sickness)
- extra pair of glasses
- credit cards and cash
- a roll of duct tape
[source: U.S. Department of Justice]
After an assessment of risk, based on the value of assets intended for protection in a safe room and potential threats, a security recommendation is formed to address all the security measures that must be accounted for in constructing a safe room.
A safe room doesn’t have to be an ugly or uncomfortable structure. Comfort and beauty are actually important factors. Some events may require an extended stay in a safe room, meaning that comfort and aesthetics are very important factors to consider. There is no reason to sacrifice these aspects for practicality.
Trust International Vault
With over 35 years’ experience providing high security installations around the world, the engineering team at International Vault Inc. is well equipped to discuss the physical security needs of any commercial or government operation dealing in high-value assets.
From the U.S. Pentagon to local police departments, from securing warehousing facilities to providing state-of-the-art safes for cash and valuables, International Vault is a world-wide partner in helping business and government secure value and deter theft.
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