What is it? - Panic rooms or safe rooms are built for many purposes. Typically it is a strengthened room, which is use to protect the homeowners from harm. Such harm could usually come from intruders and from weather-related catastrophes, but often the reason of building a panic room is to keep safe certain documents and data or even jewels, cash and/or firearms.

Where is it coming from? - Modern panic rooms evolved from the ideas of Cold War fallout shelters. Embassies use them since long time to protect their employees and sensitive documents in case of emergency, such as violent intrusion. In Latin-America, in countries like Mexico and Colombia where kidnappings for ransom are common, many wealthy families use panic rooms. Although it is hard to estimate how many panic rooms exist in Europe, following the trend in the US (especially in California and New York), more and more European executives, celebrities and politicians opt for them.

How to make one? - The easiest way to build panic rooms is during the construction of the house. This is also cost-effective, because a security expert can work together with the architect already from the blueprint stage on (naturally, after signing a confidentiality agreement). Often contractors don’t even know about the panic room, and once it’s built and meets the pre-set construction requirements, moves in the expert team to “mechanize” it and set it up. In existing houses or apartments, bathrooms, cellars or bedrooms can be converted into panic rooms, by fortifying all access points and make them suitable for this purpose.
Panic rooms with the goal to provide safe haven from intruders typically must hold long enough for the police to arrive and should satisfy basic communication needs (cell phone reception, charger, dedicated phone line, etc.) while perfectly isolating the habitants from the outside. Naturally, the level of protection can vary and go from basic to top; it can be fire or flood proof or bulletproof if necessary.
Safe rooms to provide shelter in natural disasters are different. Primary concern is location, as in some cases a basement provides better protection than ground or first floor, in other cases (e.g. flood) the other way around.

How much it cost? - The costs of panic rooms are relatively high. In our experience, back in Mexico, premium panic rooms started at around 35,000 USD if you refurbished an existing room. Adding Kevlar, back-up generator and other tools can increase the price. Basic features can be installed within a week and the room is operational once secure access is provided, which can add another few weeks, especially if custom-made door and air ventilation is required.

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