Your Panic room (Place to go when disaster hits)


Old 02-11-13, 09:56 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
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Your Panic room (Place to go when disaster hits)

I hate to call it a panic room, but essentially that is what it is.
With all the storms and what not hitting North America, I've been quietly looking at my current home and where we would go in the house if a freak storm was to hit (Hurricane, tornado, ice storm, etc).

Our previous house, the cold storage was the place to go if things got hairy. It was a concrete room under the front steps, so no above structure to come down.
This house has no concrete room area and with 3 stories above, the basement may not be the best place to go.

In your home, where would you hunker down if leaving wasn't an option?
What makes that area the one of choice?
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Old 02-11-13, 10:11 AM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
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Oil room - 16'' thick stone walls and a solid wood porch above.
Old 02-11-13, 01:09 PM
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My house doesn't have a basement..... well it does have a small cellar under part of the master bed rm with a trap door entrance in the walk in closet but my wife refuses to go down there because she might see a spider and it's dusty.

Back in the spring of 2011 when the bad storm system ripped thru the south, some of the kids [who live in MHs] came over to hide out in the cellar. My wife was at work. Since I was getting ready to take a shower before they came, I went ahead and took my shower while they were in the cellar they still talk about that today. We had a lot trees come down but no damage to any of my property. I did have a rotten pine that had been dead for over 20 yrs disappear. It was in the middle of several leaning trees with no way to cut it down. As rotten as it was I never understood while it still stood but that storm took it somewhere - I have no idea where.

...oh and I try to never panic
Old 02-11-13, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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While not endorsing any one company I have heard of actual steel safe rooms that people can go to if a burglar gets in their house or a bad storm comes that can cause a great deal of damage. Actually I worry more about the storm than the burglar as we reinforced all of our doors and it would take a battering ram to break into our house. Anyway just for fun I looked up those rooms that you can buy that are steel reinforced here is a link to one I found in a Google search Steel Safe Rooms Jackson - 4x6 Steel Safe Room . I wouldn't buy the room though as I don't have the money to and don't think it is necessary. I think we would just go to our basement it should be safe enough for a while.
Old 02-11-13, 01:43 PM
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I've worked on a few homes where a 'safe room' was incorporated into the design. Personally, I'm not worried about burglars, partly from where I live and while I do have a security system [for when I'm gone] I figure my rifle, pistol or shotgun is enough deterrent while I'm home
Old 02-11-13, 02:09 PM
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We have a crawlspace with 5' ceiling that has always been our "go to room" in the event of a storm. Just for the heck of it, I have a handsaw, an axe, and a framing hammer down there, in case the house did end up in a pile and we needed to cut our way out. I ran a line off of the buried phone line from the road, and have an older phone that does not require electricity down there, thinking that we might be able to dial out, even if the interface box on the house were damaged. Ironically, when a tornado did actually touch down just a couple of miles from us last spring, we were doing what we always do, standing on the front porch watching the storm. After seeing all of the destruction from that though, we have pretty much decided that we'll take cover in the future. As for burglars, well, it's them that need to hide, not me, so I will remain in the comfort of my own home and enjoy the show!
Old 02-11-13, 05:47 PM
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I think tornados are really the only storm you need a strong room to take refuge in. Hurricane's come with enough warning that you can evacuate. Tornados are rare here in NJ, and when they do show up, they are short lived and weak. Hurricanes don't hit here too often either, and when they do, they aren't the big ones that hit FL and the Gulf Coast. The only thing I need to worry about is the big maple tree in the back with a split down the middle. So I just need to stay away from that part of the house if it seems like it might come down. No need for a strong room here.
Old 02-11-13, 06:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
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I talked to my insurance agent several years ago about some antique crystal we had inherited, I wanted to list it on our policy. Well, not to be. Appraisal and yearly cost would add significantly to our policy. That got me thinking so I looked at just what was covered and what needed to be listed with a value applied. One of the faults of growing old is buying good stuff that will last. Bottom line, half of what I own isn't covered.

The panic room you speak of will be a multifunction room for us, where most of the valuables that can't affordably be insured will be stored. Secure with a concrete ceiling this will be a block room in our basement. A panic room, a secure retreat, a storage vault, it will serve all of those functions.

Old 02-12-13, 03:22 AM
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We don't have to worry about flooding or hurricanes (Except Ivan) here, so tornadoes are our biggest adversary weatherwise. We have an external brick chimney system, but the area under the firebox is a concrete "U" shaped area completely below grade. Small area, but they say the smaller the structure the more stable it will be. We keep canned goods and the extra freezer in the room adjacent to it, so there is food should everything else get blown away.
Old 02-14-13, 09:15 AM
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I know it's foolish to say "won't happen to me", but up in the SE Pennsylvania mountains, there really is no negligible threat from atmospheric or geological weather. I live in a totally forested area where there are no significant open spaces for miles. Even when all the leaves are off the trees, potential windspeed is a fraction of what is experienced in the nearest unprotected area.

During Sandy, we had a couple of rotten trees fall down and tons of small branches "shredded" out of the trees by the constant wind.... no damage to the house

Where would we go for the end of days? In the basement, under the cantilevered fireplace hearth. There are no windows in that corner and the fireplace's ash pit, a block-and-stone structure with ~2ft thick walls, is built into that wall. Better yet, there is only a roof above the hearthstone, so falling debris would be at their minimum, too.
Old 02-14-13, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
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NJ is fairly safe as well. Storms like Sandy are unusual and the bulk of the damage was less than a mile from the shoreline.

The National Hurricane Center released their report of Hurricane Sandy. The height of the water that came into my town was measured at 7.9 feet ABOVE GROUND. They don't have a storm surge measurement because there are no tidal gauges here. I'd throw on another 3 feet to get to sea level. Thankfully I live on high ground.

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