Panic room FAQ

January 2010 Residential Estate (Industry)

Grant Anderson, MD, Armormax SA, examines what a panic room is and why it is important to consider one in your home.

What is a panic room?

Think of a panic room as a vault for people. In a country of gated communities, panic rooms are designed to be the ultimate in security. They range from simple rooms with reinforced doors to elaborate mini-fortresses that protect their occupants against home invasions. High-end panic rooms, made with the most advanced materials, are more like luxury dens than bleak vaults.

What does it cost to install a panic room?

The cost depends on the level of protection required. The base panic room starts with the installation of one of our armoured doors at the entrance to a secure area within a house, such as a walk-in cupboard, at a cost of about R40 000. We can then add in various layers of security, ranging from CCTV, communication network, alarms, smoke generators, air filters, additional structural and ballistic re-enforcement, back-up power supply, fire suppression equipment etc. The sky is really the limit when it comes to the construction of one of these rooms.

Why is this security system a must have?

One only has to look at the latest annual crime stats released by the SAPS. With a murder rate translating to around 50 people per day and other horrific statistics, civilians need to protect themselves. The cost of upgrading your security is relatively small when compared to the potential loss of property or life.

For how long can one remain in a panic room and how does communication work with this system?

The length of stay during a home invasion is likely to be fairly short, and it is highly unlikely that it will be for more than an hour or two. The design however enables you to stay in the room for days if necessary. The internal communication system is a combination of cell/radio and fixed line technology. When your armed reaction arrives in response to your alarm activation, you can let them in remotely, and through an intercom system guide them to the perpetrators if necessary. Our room fogging devices can fill all rooms in the house with a harmless but blindingly thick smoke within seconds, rendering the intruders helpless and unable to find their way around.

Can these be fitted in any home/room within a house? What are the basic requirements?

The easiest and most cost-effective way to install a panic room is during construction of a new home. You can work with an architect specialising in secure facilities or bring in a service provider during the blueprint stage. You will probably want to tell as few people as possible about the panic room. In existing homes, bathrooms, closets and wine cellars often get made over into panic rooms.

For more information, contact Grant Anderson, Armormax SA, +27 (0)11 709 6400,

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