Thanks to recent publicity from the movie The Panic Room, safe rooms have come out of the closet. Since Sept. 11, demand for safe rooms has doubled, according to Bill Rigdon, vice president of Building Consensus, a Los Angeles based company that specializes in safe-room construction. “The people we do these for take security very seriously,” he says.
The rooms have gained popularity with those wanting to protect themselves and their valuables against home invasion and robbery. Some can be equipped with bulletproof Kevlar panels and flame-retardant material, while multiple forms of communication, such as dedicated phone lines and panic buttons, are becoming the standard.
To protect against biological attack, air-filtration systems and wash stations can be installed, along with other high-end options such as emergency power, video banks, portable toilets and food storage.
Though a $500,000 price tag to construct a bunker is not uncommon, Rigdon says it’s possible to create a small safe room with basic materials for $20,000 to $30,000. For those looking to safeguard their families during a home invasion, a room with a reinforced steel door, a heavy-duty deadbolt lock and a cell phone can do the trick.