Safe rooms are among the most comforting of security products. Anywhere from basic to elaborate, you'll have your own fortified sanctuary when you desperately need it.
As Anna Simmons returned to her Miami FL home and unlocked the door, a man suddenly appeared behind her, put a knife to her throat, and shoved her inside. Once inside, he spun around to lock the door behind them. In that instant, Anna ran to her bedroom while overturning furniture in her wake to slow his pursuit. She locked the deadbolt on the fortified door and pushed a panic button, setting off an outdoor siren. He fled. Anna was safe in her fortified bedroom.
Awakened one night by the sounds of burglars downstairs in her Dallas TX home, Betty Deeds was trapped, but prepared. She quickly dead-bolted her fortified bedroom door and, though she was alone and had no gun, yelled, “Jack! Grab your gun!” She pushed a panic button setting off an outdoor strobe light and siren, then called 911 on the cell phone always kept on her nightstand, which also held her pepper spray. Betty was quite safe in her ”safe room.”
Sure, fortified windows and doors along with simple home electronics (see all below) probably would have prevented the burglary altogether, but Betty’s safe haven served her well. It can serve as the ultimate shelter.
Keep a knotted rope for escaping through a window. Keep a flashlight, a cell phone (it can’t be disabled from outside), and a weapon or pepper spray. Reinforce any windows. At the very least, even one family member barricaded inside long enough to call the police can save lives.
[Using the bedroom itself as a safe room may be a poor choice for escaping domestic violence because both the victim and abuser may already be in the bedroom when the violence begins. A better choice for a battering victim might be a safe closet (either within the bedroom or elsewhere in the home).]
A reinforced closet is also a great choice. It can store valuables and/or protect you from danger (although there's no window to escape through or yell for help). Use a double-cylinder deadbolt lock and hang one key inside the closet to quickly lock yourself in. You might want to line the inside door and walls with bulletproof Kevlar.
Also keep an old cell phone in there (with its battery fully charged). By U.S. law, phone carriers must keep all old cell phones still able to call 911 for emergencies, even though the phone is no longer on your account.
Now comes the hard part - you must be very discrete about not revealing your safe room, safe closet, hidden room, or any security products to anyone who doesn't need to know. Secrets always leak, and it'll no longer be as effective. Can you resist the temptation to show off?
A safe for storing valuables may be freestanding, wall-mounted, or floor-mounted (in a concrete floor). Other hidden caches may be hollowed spaces within doors, walls, furniture, books, curtain rods, and so on.
A safe is most effective when you are not at home. These days, more and more criminals prefer to invade when you're there – to force you to reveal hidden caches or a safe's location and combination – and gain access to your wallet, car keys, and you. They know the home itself helps hide their crime and your screams.
Home invasions are the most preventable of all crimes if you always follow the guidance in Home Security - Overview and also fortify your home with security products.