Safe Rooms


As indicated previously, in virtually all intrusion scenarios the procedure once inside our Safe Room is to lock the door and call the police, so you typically need protection for under 15 minutes – enough time for the police to get there. The size of our “standard” Safe Room provides enough air for much longer (up to 2 hours for a family of 4).

The Ventilation Option described here extends this to 40 or even 60 hours.

Let's cover the components of the Ventilation Option using the house plan presented earlier. As mentioned previously, all of these items will be added after all the house or remodel construction and inspections are completed, when we convert the Walk-in Closet into the Safe Room (this is done to maintain secrecy, since only our small team of highly trusted people will know of the Safe Room).

After the drywall of the closet is removed, two 3" metal pipes are installed through the outer walls, one low towards the rear of the Storm Room (for air intake) and one high near the front of the room (for air exhaust), as shown in blue in the sketch*. Both pipes are threaded and a thick metal cap (shown below the sketch) is used on the inside when ventilation is not needed. On the outside both pipes are camouflaged. The low pipe ends in an electrical box which is hollow at the bottom and the high pipe ends in a simulated pair of yard spot lights mounted on an electrical box with holes on the sides, as shown at right. Two more items complete the Ventilation Option: a CO2 meter and a 3" ducted fan, also shown at right. Finally, the Uninterruptable Power Source (UPS) is upgraded from the one that comes with the "standard" Room to provide for the longer current draw of the fan.

Under normal intrusion scenarios, lasting under 2 hours, none of this equipment is used. For longer stays, the CO2 meter is plugged into the UPS every hour for just a few seconds. In a sealed room the danger is not that you run out of oxygen but that the CO2 level from the air we exhale accumulates to lethal concentrations. If the CO2 reading exceeds 5,000 parts per million (ppm), then both pipes are uncapped, and the ducted fan is attached to the lower pipe and plugged into the UPS for 15 minutes to draw outside air in (stale air escapes from the upper pipe, carrying CO2 which concentrates near the ceiling because CO2 is lighter than air). The UPS will have enough capacity for 40 hours of ventilation at the specified duty cycle of 15 minutes every hour. The caps can be re-installed if necessary, although it is highly unlikely that intruders will find the exterior ends of the pipes, and equally unlikely that they would fire weapons through them (because it would alert neighbors) or that they have brought the equipment to feed noxious gases through the pipes.

A further upgrading of the UPS can provide 60 hours of ventilation at a slightly higher cost.

* Much of the cost of this Option comes from drilling two 3" holes through the concrete block outer wall, cementing the pipes into the wall, applying stucco around the openings and re-painting the area.