Imagine having a room in your home where you could go in the event of a natural disaster or a home invasion.
Safe rooms (also referred to as panic rooms) are designed to provide an impenetrable area within your home where you and your family can retreat in times of danger.
They’re also a great location to store items, such as a gun safe, that you don’t want nosy guests to discover in the main areas of your home.
Safe rooms do not have to be overly large or complicated.
In fact, one of the best ways to construct a safe room in your home is to convert part of your basement.
Why use your basement?
You might be wondering why you should use your basement for your safe room instead of installing a steel safe room upstairs or constructing a fallout shelter in the backyard.
Part of the reason is cost — if you utilize the existing walls of your basement, you may be able to save money during the construction process.
Another reason is that basements are already safe and secure locations.
In-ground basements already have strong, thick foundation walls that are typically made of concrete.
You can easily use two or three of these existing walls to construct a safe room, and then use steel plates and doors to construct the remaining wall(s).
You’ll want to pay special attention to the door of the room since that is where an intruder will target first.
Some people even prefer to disguise the door of their safe room, such as making it look as though it’s a bookcase.
In addition to already strong walls, you’ll also have a strong foundation floor. This lowers the possibility of an attack coming from beneath you.
Another bonus of a basement safe room is that it can provide an easy escape route, because you can create an underground tunnel leading from the room.
It can be hard to escape from an upper floor safe room — to get out of the room, you would have to risk coming in contact with the intruder.
But with an underground tunnel, you and your family can safely get out of the house.
Just make sure to conceal the exit to the tunnel so that it can’t be easily spotted.
Are there downsides?
Yes, no safe room is perfect and there are downsides.
One of the largest downsides of creating a safe room in your basement is that there is an increased risk of flooding.
Since basements are entirely underground, water can easily force its way in if there are cracks in your foundation.
Basements are also among the first areas of a home to flood if there is a sewage backup or a burst pipe.
One way to avoid your basement safe room from flooding is by installing a sump pump.
Finding a good one can be tricky, because you’re going to want one that is the right size and that doesn’t solely rely on your household’s electrical power.
Rats and bugs may also find their way into your safe room, especially if you have food items stored there.
To prevent unwanted pests, make sure to spend check the room regularly for any concerns and seal any items in airtight containers.
Depending on the size of your house, it may also be challenging to get down to your basement in the event of an intrusion. .
You’ll want to spend time routing out ways to safely get to the room.
What should I keep in the room?
There’s a lot of room for creativity here.
In addition to items such as food and weapons, you’ll also want to make sure the room is comfortable in the event that you spend a significant amount of time there.
Blankets, electronics, books, and games can all help make the space cozier.
You’ll also want to have a way to contact the local authorities.
This might mean keeping a spare phone charger or even a spare phone in the room.
Some people also like to install a security system that they can monitor from within the room.
A security system can allow you to see where the intruder is at all times.
Even if you never end up needing it, having a safe room in your basement can provide you with peace of mind.
A safe room can be simple or complex, just as long as the overall structure of the room helps to keep you and your family safe.