Safe Room Design: What is a Safe Room?
Safe rooms are like fire extinguishers, you take them for granted and hope you never have to use them, but you will be glad you have them if you do. They can save your life. The Southeast United States is prone to various major weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms, which often turn into full-blown natural disasters. Rarely do we go a year without seeing at least one hurricane, not to mention the multiple other storms the region experiences every year. Because of this, safe rooms are becoming more and more popular in both residential and commercial applications. A safe room is a shelter, detached or built within a structure, that is strong enough to provide safety from catastrophic events, including significant weather events. They have also become popular for other applications such as safety from a terrorist attack, break-in, home invasion, or protection from other traumatic events.
What is a Safe Room
Safe rooms are nothing new they have existed in castles, forts, and other protective structures for centuries. These safe rooms hid and provided safe passage for people of importance for many years, and that concept has continued to the modern-day. For those who are movie buffs, you will remember the early 2000’s thriller movie Panic Room, where Jodie Foster’s character brought the concept of having a room to shield a family from a home invasion came to the mainstream. What these historical and movie references did not tell you is how standard these rooms are now. Today, they are modern, elegantly designed, easily installed, and affordable. Gone are the days of installing them exclusively in expensive homes or for the protection of political leaders. Today, most of the population can incorporate these elements into their home at an affordable cost without an overly intrusive or lengthy construction process.
With market-wide adoption comes a wide range of quality. Safe rooms now come in all shapes and sizes, but that does not mean they are all of top or even middle of the road quality. Today, you can buy a safe room to fit multiple people for a few thousand dollars at Sam’s Club and other discount retailers or sources. These options are prefabricated and affordable; however, they are off the shelf and a “one size fits all” option. They are not custom-built to your home and, more than likely, not the top option for your location. To discover the top quality, you must turn to the leading rating agencies and lean on their long studied and prepared guidelines. The top professionally assembled rooms meet guidelines for both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the International Code Council (ICC) Standard 500. These rooms provide a high probability for protection against injury or death, regardless of the size of the weather event. No one can guarantee safety; however, construction expertise in this field is strong enough these days to come very close.
Safe Room Installation
Design criteria and installation of these rooms is key to their effectiveness and resilience in the event they need to be used. Most are built above ground, but they can be installed below ground as well. In addition, their location is flexible for installation both indoors and outdoors. Safe rooms can be installed in residential or commercial locations and even in public places if need be. Rooms built to the appropriate standard can protect against extreme winds up to 250 miles per hour while also shielding their occupants from flying debris and structures, often associated with major storm events. We have all seen the viral videos of the peaks of major storms where cars, debris, trash, and countless other things turn from typical day to day items to hazardous flying objects. Appropriately designed, safe rooms will protect against these. Generally, the construction of these shelters is not mandatory. They are almost always 100% optional. Although optional, their affordability and safety protections make their presence increasingly the norm amongst those with the ability to house the extra space within their property. There is no way to stop a natural disaster, but a safe room’s affordability makes them the ideal way to avoid potential risks.
Our team has extensive experience designing and constructing these life-saving features. We have the ability to provide flexible designs to meet your needs. All of our safe rooms contain basic life saving structural elements and ventilation, telecommunications equipment, and connections that will allow those inside the room to communicate with the outside world before, during, or after an emergency situation.
Beyond these basic needs, we can provide flexibility for different size rooms. We can design and construct rooms that can house just a few people to a space big enough to fit a small crowd. The dimensions themselves can vary in terms of size, height, and width. Inside the room, the interior build-out can vary in terms of design, lighting, look, and feel. A safe room can be extremely safe and well built while also providing aesthetically pleasing designs and a comfortable layout. Just because you are shielding from a storm or an invasion does not mean the physical space needs to be uncomfortable. We will work with you to both create a safe space and also a comfortable environment within. In worst-case scenarios, you might need to stay in place in this room for an extended period, so why make this experience more challenging by building an ugly, uncomfortable metal can? The internal fitouts provide the ability to include seating or sleeping arrangements to your liking safely. Multiple rooms can be created within the “safe room” to allow for separation and space to stay for an extended period of time.
From an external aesthetics standpoint, we understand that nobody will like to see a sizeable clunky box in the middle of their home or other commercial property. With our team, that will not be the case. We design around this by incorporating architectural and decorative elements that will either completely hide the room or allow it to blend in with the flow of the remainder of the property – depending upon your preferences. Many of our projects tie into new construction homes; however, we often take existing spaces or structures and incorporate this new safety feature while achieving an attractive layout. The remainder of your area is uninterrupted and aesthetically attractive. Call us and allow us to provide you with detailed materials and samples of our work. The expense in today’s world is limited, and the cost of this extra safety feature is more than made up for by the peace of mind it creates.
There is a common misconception that these rooms can only be placed into the newly built structures. That could not be further from the truth. While new construction is certainly ideal, incorporating these into existing structures is certainly achievable. Your goals can be achieved for the space while achieving an attractive layout so the remainder of your space is uninterrupted and aesthetically attractive.
Safe Door Design
The safe room door design is the single most important aspect of a safe room. In the event of a tornado or hurricane with extreme winds, the door to a safe room is the one wall that links the people inside to the elements outside. Doors that are not adequately designed to withstand damage and heavy winds can easily come off their hinges and be torn away from the safe room. Though the door usually weighs several hundred pounds in order to offer substantial protection, it also must be easy to operate without failure. Adequately designed safe room doors feature heavy-duty hardware and security locks in order for the door to be locked quickly from the inside.
Safe Room Benefits
The safety and peace of mind created by having a safe room are unparalleled compared to other security systems or home safety features. In addition, this will help lower your regular costs. Safe rooms will help keep your upfront and ongoing insurance rates as low as possible, providing you cost savings to balance the installation costs. As part of our process, we will present you with an installation plan and discuss how this will impact the other aspects of your life. We pride ourselves on helping you make this decision with all the necessary facts. How will this affect your home’s long term value? The answer is usually positive, but we will help you quantify this. How will this affect your insurance, and how do you incorporate these new features into cost savings with your different plans? With our background in the industry, we will guide you there.
Call us and allow us to provide you with detailed materials and samples of our work. Safe rooms are no longer affordable to the ultra-wealthy, and the benefits and peace of mind they create far outweigh their cost.