A lot of people assume that you can’t be a prepper without a big, expensive bunker. The good news is that simply isn’t the case. Preppers come in all shapes and sizes and some of us live in tiny cramped apartments or in the typical American suburbs. No matter where you are, you can create a safe shelter for your family to use in a SHTF situation by building a safe room in your home. Now you could spend thousands of dollars to have a contractor add a new room onto your home or you could take a different approach and make the best out of what you have available. I like the cheaper option and that’s what my family chose to do. Here are some tips to help you build your own safe room today.
Choose a Location
As you select a room in your home to act as a safe room, there are a few things you need to think about. First of all, you want to room to be easy to access from all points in the house. Ideally, a room in the middle of your home would be perfect, but you could also opt for a basement if you don’t have any other options.
Most importantly, your safe room needs to be closed off. Ideally, there wouldn’t be windows or doors leading outside. It should have thick, reinforced walls and access to water and bathroom facilities. The room has to be big enough to accommodate your whole family so a tiny bathroom closet just isn’t going to cut it.
Some good options might be a large walk in closet, a master bedroom with an attached bathroom, a big family room in the basement, a wine cellar, or even an attached garage.
Reinforce the Door
Your safe room needs a door that can be closed and locked to keep everyone safe inside. If you invest money in just one aspect of prepping your safe room, spend it on the door. Most of today’s interior doors are flimsy hollow core designs. They would be easy to knock down or bust through with a weapon. Instead, you need to buy an exterior steel slab door to hang at the entrance to your safe room. It doesn’t have to be obvious. You can always paint it to look like the other doors in your home. But you need to have this strong door and a solid door frame to keep your family safe inside.
You should also install a heavy duty deadbolt lock on your door and maybe even a door bar that would be easily hidden if you weren’t using it. Between the steel door, a deadbolt, and a door bar, your family should be pretty safe hiding inside.
What About Windows?
In a perfect world, your safe room wouldn’t have any windows, but if you live in a small apartment, that might not be possible. In this case, you need to spring for bullet proof glass or at the very minimum a ballistic film to cover your existing window. You should also have heavy drapes that will block the light and keep your family safely hidden and invisible inside.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Another interesting idea would be to create a hidden safe room. You can buy bookcases that double as doors. When the bookcase is in place, it will appear that it is just a random shelf in your hallway and an intruder would have no idea that there is another room behind it. If you do choose a safe room, it’s important that your family keeps it as a major secret. It’s best if no one knows about that hidden room except for the people you intend to hide inside.
Stocking Your Safe Room
Once you have the basic room chosen and set up with a secure door and lock, it’s time to add some supplies. The first thing on your list should be some communications equipment. Keep a cell phone in the room (a cheap prepay would be perfect!) and if possible, run a landline phone into the room as well, but keep the ringer turned to silent. It would also be smart to keep a computer or tablet with internet access in the safe room so you can have a quick connection to the outside world if you can’t use the phone.
Next, you need to add some water. Even if you have an attached bathroom, don’t assume that running water will always be available. Stock up with at least one gallon per person per day at the bare minimum. You can always hide it under a bed or stacked in a closet. You should also keep some food in your safe room that won’t require any heating or cooking. Things like canned tuna, crackers, and peanut butter would all be good choices.
You will also want to stash some cold weather gear in the room in case you lose power and it gets cold. Keep a big bin full of blankets, hats, gloves, and coats in your safe room. You will also need flashlights, candles, and matches.
Don’t forget to add some items for entertainment. If your whole family is stuck in that room for more than a few hours, you are going to start going stir crazy. Keep books, board games, puzzles, cards, and anything else your kids would enjoy stored in a box in the safe room.
Finally, make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit and at least a one week supply of all prescription drugs stashed in the room. You should also keep some over-the-counter medications on hand like Tylenol, Benedryl, and Cough Syrup. These are going to be important if someone is hurt or sick and you are stuck in the safe room for hours or even days.
This should be a good start to help you set up a basic safe room for your family. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to give your family a secure place to hide out in case of emergencies. If you think things through and work together, you can come up with a good plan and gather all the supplies you need so that you will have peace of mind if anything happens in the future.
What is your family’s plan for emergencies? Do you have a safe room in your house?