4 Key Features to Consider When Choosing Portable Safe Room Options

Key features for portable safe rooms include secure doors resistant to debris and break-ins, bulletproof walls capable of withstanding various firearms, covers for protection from debris, and communication systems for seeking help and updates.

Opened old-fashioned solid vault door of a bank.

Portable safe rooms provide a vital sanctuary during natural disasters or threats. They offer protection within your home, shielding you and your loved ones. However, selecting the right option can be difficult.

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1. Secure Doors

Opening a hotel door concept

The door is a crucial component of a safe room, serving as the primary access point and first line of defense. A strong door can withstand forces such as debris in a tornado or break-ins.

Additionally, the locking mechanism should be reliable and only operable from the inside to prevent unauthorized access. There are various options available for secure doors in portable safe rooms. For example, the Hide-Away storm shelter features a quarter-inch thick, high-grade steel door. Equipped with three one-inch diameter bolt-action locks, this door provides excellent security.

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Weighing 300 lbs, it further enhances its ability to withstand high-pressure events. Another option is the Survive-a-Storm Twister Pod, which has a heavy-duty steel door designed to resist EF5 tornado winds exceeding 200 mph.

2. Bulletproof Walls

Bulletproof walls are crucial for securing doors and protecting against armed intruders. They should resist all types of bullets, including high-caliber and armor-piercing rounds.

Safe room walls can be made from various materials, but the most effective ones use military-grade steel like the ¼” American-made NIJ Ballistic Level III steel. This steel, found in Hide-Away shelters, can withstand handguns, shotguns, and even semi-automatic weapons like AK-47 and AR-15 rifles.

Some safe rooms offer an upgrade to NIJ Level III protection, capable of withstanding up to 7.62 NATO rounds (.308 caliber).

3. Presence of Cover

In a safe room, a cover provides extra protection, shielding inhabitants from debris during disasters. It also offers privacy and security in distressing situations. The type of cover can vary based on the design.

Some safe rooms have reinforced ceilings that serve as covers, while others have built-in furniture or fixtures that can be used as covers. It is important to ensure that the cover is sturdy and securely anchored to avoid becoming a hazard during an event.

4. Communication System

Helsinki / Finland - JANUARY 3, 2022: Closeup of pair of mobile two-way radios for Amateur radio operators against dark background.

A communication system is crucial in a safe room, enabling inhabitants to seek assistance or receive updates on the situation outside when trapped for a long time. A reliable communication system can also offer psychological comfort, alleviating feelings of isolation and fear.

Communication options for portable safe rooms can vary from basic, like a landline phone or two-way radio, to advanced systems with dedicated emergency networks or access to multiple networks for constant connectivity.

How much does a US safe room cost?

The cost of a safe room in the US can vary greatly depending on its size, features, and the materials used. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Do safe rooms really work?

Yes, safe rooms do work. They are designed and built to meet specific safety standards, such as those set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and have been proven to provide effective protection during tornadoes and other disasters.

Can you turn an existing room into a safe room?

Yes, it is possible to convert an existing room into a safe room. However, significant modifications may be required to meet safety standards, including reinforcing walls, ceilings, and doors, and installing a ventilation system.

What is the difference between a storm shelter and a safe room?

While the terms ‘storm shelter‘ and ‘safe room’ are often used interchangeably, there can be differences. A storm shelter is specifically designed to protect against severe weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes. A safe room, on the other hand, offers protection from a wider range of hazards, including intruders and potentially harmful airborne substances.

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