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How to Build a Panic Room in Your Home

A panic room is a safe place in your home where you can stay for a few hours if someone breaks in. It can also be outfitted for several days' use in case of a more serious attack or severe weather. The size of the room is determined by how many people will be using it.

Doorway hidden behind a bookcase

Things You Will Need

  • Sold core door
  • Deadbolt
  • Steel, Kevlar or bullet-proof fiberglass
  • Telephone
  • Video cameras
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlights
  • Radio
  • Food and water
  • Toilet
  • Generator

A panic room is a safe place in your home where you can stay for a few hours if someone breaks in.  It can also be outfitted for several days' use in case of a more serious attack or severe weather.

The size of the room is determined by how many people will be using it.  If each person is allotted 10 square feet of floor space, there should be enough air to last for about five hours without worrying about carbon dioxide buildup.

  1. Choose a closet or an interior room without windows for your panic room. Replace the door with a solid core exterior door. Install a high-end deadbolt and replace short screws in the hinges with longer ones.
  2. Reinforce the walls with Kevlar, sheets of steel or bullet-proof fiberglass. Soundproof the walls so intruders can't hear you if you use the phone or radio. Hide the door to the panic room in a closet or behind a bookcase.
  3. Install a telephone line or ham radio if you can't get cell phone reception in the room so that you can call the police. Place small video cameras around your home with a monitor in the safe room.
  4. Invest in an RV or composting toilet if you see the need to use the room for long periods. Composting toilets are expensive. RV toilets can be as simple as a receptacle for waste that is then bagged and removed.
  5. Provide electricity and ventilation with a generator if the room will be used for several days.
  6. Outfit the room with a first-aid kit, flashlights, battery-powered radio and batteries. Test the flashlight and radio occasionally to make sure they're working. Store non-perishable food and water in the panic room. The Red Cross recommends one gallon of water per person per day.
  7. Tip

    Rotate food out of the panic room if it passes its expiration date. Make sure you have extra clothing, blankets and pillows in case of an extended stay. Stock books, magazines, puzzles and games. Keep a portable DVD player with charged batteries in the safe room for children.

    Warning

    Do not use a generator in an unventilated room.

Things You Will Need

  • Sold core door
  • Deadbolt
  • Steel, Kevlar or bullet-proof fiberglass
  • Telephone
  • Video cameras
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlights
  • Radio
  • Food and water
  • Toilet
  • Generator

Tip

  • Rotate food out of the panic room if it passes its expiration date. Make sure you have extra clothing, blankets and pillows in case of an extended stay. Stock books, magazines, puzzles and games. Keep a portable DVD player with charged batteries in the safe room for children.

Warning

  • Do not use a generator in an unventilated room.

About the Author

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.

Photo Credits

  • Home Safety Today, Coleman, Briggs and Stratton
  • Home Safety Today, Coleman, Briggs and Stratton