What Is a Panic Room and Why You Might Need One?

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By Trinity Archie

Updated: Mar 07, 2024

8 min read

What is a Panic Room
Photo: @thepanicroomcompany

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    The Panic Room, also known as a secure room or bunker, is a fortified space within a home equipped with its own telephone line and closed-circuit security camera system. Its purpose is to provide a safe place during burglaries or attacks, offering protection while alerting authorities.

    These rooms serve as a refuge from diverse threats, including home invasions and natural or nuclear disasters, offering a secure means to contact law enforcement for help. While once a luxury for the wealthy, basic panic rooms are increasingly popular due to rising security concerns, featuring weather-resistant materials and survival supplies. Rooms in a house, such as a designated panic room, provide a proactive approach to personal safety, ensuring preparedness for unforeseen emergencies.

    Versatility of Panic Room

    The purpose of panic rooms varies widely, from simple reinforced rooms to elaborate fortresses, offering protection against various threats like home invasions, natural disasters, and even biological or nuclear attacks.

    While popularly associated with home invasions, they are increasingly utilized for safeguarding valuables such as artwork and computer hard drives. Depending on budget and security needs, panic rooms can be customized with a range of safety features, from basic facilities to luxury amenities.

    Emergence of Panic Room

    Panic rooms are more common than many realize, often blending ideally into high-value homes and kept confidential by owners. They are increasingly sought after by individuals at heightened risk, including executives, politicians, and public figures.

    Anonymity is difficult in the digital age, with online communities exposing private information, leading to watchful actions. Security measures are on the rise due to various events, including terrorist attacks and protests reaching residential areas, highlighting the limitations of law enforcement in controlling large-scale disturbances.

    Reasons for Having a Panic Room

    Reasons for Having a Panic Room
    Photo: @whitneycoxphoto

    Having a safe room serves several purposes.


    If you need to safeguard belongings you can't part with; a panic room provides secure storage. It's crucial to keep it well-stocked with essentials since emergencies can arise unexpectedly.

    Natural Disaster Protection

    Despite advance warnings for events like earthquakes, floods, and heavy rainfall, they remain uncontrollable. Being prepared for such emergencies is essential. During events like tornadoes, seeking refuge in a tornado panic room can save lives.

    Defense Against War or Attacks

    Pannic Room with Defense Against War or Attacks
    Photo: @whitneycoxphoto

    During conflicts, threats can come from all directions, with bullets and missiles targeting anything in their path. Having a safe panic room allows families to seek refuge and protection from the chaos.

    Creating Your Secure Space

    The Perfect Location

    Selecting the right spot for your secure space involves careful consideration. If protection from natural disasters like tornadoes is your priority, opt for a ground-level panic room. For basic security against robbery or ambushes, a basement hideout could be sufficient. For military scenarios, an underground bunker is ideal. If safeguarding valuables is key, prioritize solid walls, like those in a basement, and consider disguising the room's location within your home.

    The Right Materials

    Selecting the right materials for constructing your secure space is crucial. Opt for reinforced concrete for the walls and ceiling, as it offers optimal strength and affordability. Consider steel-framed windows if needed, and keep clear of flammable materials like wood.

    If time is a constraint, hiring a professional safe room builder is a viable option. Many companies offer prefabricated wall and ceiling panels for easy assembly. For a personalized touch, collaborate with a builder to realize your unique safe panic room vision.

    Additional Essentials and Power Supply

    Additional Essentials and Power Supply in Panic Room
    Photo: @whitneycoxphoto


    Stock a supply of food, water, and medication in your panic room to determine that you and your family can survive in the toughest of conditions.


    Regarding power supply, having a dependable source is paramount for prolonged functionality. Consider investing in backup options such as generators, solar power systems, or backup battery banks.

    These solutions can maintain essential functions like lighting and communication devices such as radios or cellphones and regulate environmental systems like heating or air conditioning. The Powerhouse is worth considering for its Hyperflash technology, which is capable of reaching an 80% charge within one hour.


    For communication, include devices like two-way radios or satellite phones to stay connected externally. Additionally, consider incorporating self-defense tools like firearms or pepper spray for added security. However, ensure proper training and licenses are obtained for the responsible use of any self-defense tool.

    DIY- Panic Room 

    When it comes to crafting a DIY safe room door, the primary focus is on building a defense fortress in your home.

    STEP 1 - Door Security with Specialized Materials

    Since doors are the vulnerable entry point, reinforcing them with lightweight ballistic materials is a common tactic. However, adding heavier materials, such as steel, to a standard door can lead to functionality issues.

    Achieving resistance to forced entry is crucial, often requiring a specialized vault door. The locking mechanism should be tailored to the room's purpose; for storing valuables, a permanently locked door is ideal, while a panic room door should be easily accessible.

    Step 2 - Securing Windows for Safety

    In an ideal scenario, your custom-made safe room should lack windows, although this may not always be feasible. Thankfully, there are options for high-security windows available. While ballistic window film is often promoted, it offers minimal security despite its name, as it is thin and primarily functions to hold glass together when shattered rather than stopping bullets or other weapons.

    Similar to doors, the resistance to forced entry is crucial for window security, requiring both the frame and window to be secure. Rebuilding bulletproof glass into existing window frames is ineffective and impractical. Fixed bullet-resistant windows are notably cheaper due to the engineering complexities associated with managing the weight of ballistic glass.

    Step 3 - Creating a Secure Room

    Consider cement walls for new constructions.

    For existing homes, opt for modular ballistic panels. Purchase bulletproof panels in standard sizes to integrate into current walls.

    Steer clear of using steel for reinforcement. Think about both security measures and provisions for sustenance and entertainment for your family during their stay.

    Step 4 - Preserving Your Family Lives

    Several considerations for preserving your family lives are distinct from preserving objects and necessitate careful planning.

    Ventilation is critical, especially in confined spaces like panic rooms or ductless areas such as closets. Installing an air filter with external air intake can address oxygen depletion concerns.

    Long-term sustenance, crucial for scenarios like natural disasters or sheltering during emergencies, requires stocking shelf-stable foods rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Storing them in sealed containers prevents damage from pests or water.

    Plumbing alternatives are vital for extended use, ensuring access to potable water, cleaning supplies, and sanitary facilities.

    Communication methods, like a dedicated cell phone, are essential for contacting authorities swiftly during emergencies.

    Are Panic Rooms Economical?

    Traditionally viewed as a luxury reserved for the rich, panic rooms were deemed affordable only for those with spacious mansions and ample resources to install bank-grade vaults. However, this notion may be outdated. Modern architects and designers now offer cost-effective panic room designs integrated into house plans, eliminating the need for extravagant vaults and fortress rooms.

    Instead, focus is placed on concealing the room effectively, which accounts for half the cost of its security. By making the panic room virtually undetectable, potential intruders are frustrated from locating it. The responsibility lies with designers and builders to employ solutions that genuinely conceal the panic room's presence.


    It is possible to transform a current room or section of your residence into a Panic room. Opting for a concealed location is crucial for a safe panic room's effectiveness. The contents of a safe room depend on its intended use, with some preferring to include additional provisions for security and comfort during extended stays. This may require stocking non-perishable food items, installing plumbing for prolonged use, and keeping medications. A phone is essential for communication with the outside world and emergency services.

    While commonly associated with affluent individuals, panic-safe rooms can be installed by anyone. These rooms aren't exclusive to celebrities; individuals from various backgrounds may opt to incorporate them into their homes for added security against threats like burglary or natural disasters. Alternatively, investing in other security measures such as motion sensor alarms, security cameras, and detectors may mitigate the need for a Panic room.


    How to Build a Panic Room?

    Select a conveniently accessible room and fortify it. Identify potential dangers. Choose walls and windows. Pick a secure entrance door. Assemble necessary components like water, food, medicine, etc., and execute an emergency plan.

    How Much Does a Panic Room Cost?

    Constructing a deluxe panic room usually begins at $50,000 and can exceed $500,000, varying based on amenities. Transforming a closet or spare room into a panic room typically starts at approximately $3,000.

    Who Requires a Panic Room?

    In the case of an assault, having a secure area is beneficial for inhabitants to evade interaction. When law enforcement or intervention teams come to apprehend attackers, it's possible to expose oneself. Thus, it is advisable to seek refuge in a panic room.

    Are Panic Rooms Safe?

    They're made from durable materials resistant to weather and equipped with gas masks and potassium iodine tablets for defense against biological and nuclear threats. Additionally, it can host families for an extended period, possibly up to a month.

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