Given the uncertainties in today's age I'm concerned about food supplies and personal safety for my family should SRHTF. Food issue is a done deal. Bug-out bags are a done deal. Home safety part is in-work.
Living in Florida, hurricane rooms became a common feature with custom home builders after Andrew. Usually they would just block and pour a walk-in closet instead of framing it. The cost difference was moderate and it was a nice selling feature. FEMA Document 320 is free and has illustrated drawings, material lists and explanations how to build a safe room inside your house. You can download it or request a free copy. This document is for Hurricane preparedness but the principals can be applied to a Safe Room
Here's my plan:
I'm going to pour my master walk-in closet walls 3.5" thick solid rebar reinforced concrete (5000 psi fiber-crete). Closet is block along one wall (exterior) and is roughly 8 x 11 framed. I'm going to tear out the interior drywall, add more studs and reinforce the sill plates, headers and everything else really well. Once the wall is beefed up I'm going to cover it with 3/4 plywood, sealing the seams with caulk/liquid nail to prevent leakage. Now I have one side of my pour "mold". Next I plan to come in 1.75" (1/2 the width of a 2x4) from the plywood and drill holes along the interior perimeter spaced 12" apart. The holes will receive epoxy'd 1/2 rebar. Now I need the second half of my mold so I'll build another set of interior walls in 3.5" using reinforced and braced 3\4 plywood. This plywood will be the new "interior surface" of my walking closet as I plan to leave it up after the concrete hardens. I'm going to stain it and trick out the closet in dark wood. Anyway, once the mold is ready I'm hiring a concrete pump crew to pump the mold cavity solid. I was planning on using 1/4 plate steel for the ceiling but have decided to pour it solid also. It will be much less work and the pump crew will be onsite so I might as well take advantage of their presence. The concrete ceiling will weigh roughly 3900 lbs (1 cubic yard) over the 75-80 sq feet or so it's going to required quite a bit of reinforcement. The last thing I want is for something to collapse and get injured or get concrete in my home
. The ceiling will have a large rectangular hole for fold-down attic stairs. Stairs will have a steel trap door above, think "vault" or "panic room" at this point. Integrated into the closet wall pour will be 3.5" thick walls of a large corner gunsafe that will store my guns, bugout bags, family photos, tapes, and other critical items that are not currently fire-proofed. The door of the safe will be 1/4" AR400 plate steel and here's the "cool" part. The safe door when opened will become the closet's vault door
. In other words, if you enter the closet and open the safe it closes off the closet with the same steel door. I still have to work out lots of details but that’s the fun part! I will photograph and document this process for everyone to observe and enjoy. I plan to start over the holiday break so much planning is still in order.
Feedback and ideas are greatly appreciated! Items I'm still working out include:
1) Custom safe door lock mechanism and how it integrates as the closets vault door when opened.
I planned on using a Stanley Biometric deadbolt(s) to disengage a notched rotating steel disc that engages and disengages internal 1" steel rods the will secure the safe door. I have a Bio-Box and like the fingerprint reader technology. Ideas?
2) Back-up power system for lights, phone, other
Maybe 2 large AGM Hawkers and an inverter? Haven't given it much thought. Could use some ideas?
3) Ventilation methods
I was thinking about running 1-2" OD steel pipes to various undetectable locations (including outside) and having large ball valves to open and close them. I don't want to vent unless in "vault mode". Thoughts?
4) Water delivery System
I'm on a deep well and will likely pipe a hidden water line in from over-head. Should be cake.
5) Remote camera system
I recently thought of this when I saw a post by someone on this forum. It would be nice to be able to watch any intruders to see when it's safe to leave or go offensive. I'm a noob here - any thoughts? I want to keep $ low like using a Harbor Freight chepo B&W system or similar.
6) Safe room evac option in case of fire or barricade.
Attic stairs to elevated walkway is my current plan.
7) Sound cannon -bullhorn push button in vault.
Hit intruders with CRAZY loud sound from a speaker they can't disable quickly. Plus it will notify neighbors.
8) Set of instructions (task list) for anyone inside the vault.
During stress, critical thinking may go out the window. Task list ensures critical actions are taken, for example- open vents for oxygen delivery!
9) Murder holes for firearms?
This seems a little extreme but if I'm hiding from intruders in a vault, things have already gotten extreme....
This project started out last year as a simple custom fireproof gunsafe that morphed into a small hidden "safe room" that morphed into the entire closet due to lost space. Funny how things happen.
Cheers and thanks for the feedback!