Ms Architecture Journal

How to Design a Secure Room to Keep the Family Safe

A safe space is a shelter that protects people from catastrophic occurrences. It can be separated or built inside a structure. The type of occasion one wants to be safe from (e.g., a weather event or a terrorist incident) will establish the room’s requirements. A safe room is the two-word description of a “hardened structure,” meeting specifications and guidelines set by FEMA and the International Code Council (ICC) Standard 500. A secure room can provide a high level of protection for one and family from various hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, or terrorist attacks.

How to Build a Secure Room? 

One must follow some essential steps for building the room:

  •     Safety plan. Before building a secure room, read the government manual to learn how to design it safely and effectively. It covers design considerations, potential risks, structural design criteria, air filtration, and other vital aspects. If one ignores this manual, he may endanger his family with a faulty room.
  •     Learn about the particulars. Build the room to withstand storms and attacks. Use materials that resist high winds and debris, such as concrete walls or steel sheathing. Avoid windows, or make them small and shatterproof. Anchor the room securely to prevent lifting or overturning.
  •     Choose a location. One can build a safe room inside or outside the home depending on preference and space. Indoor rooms can use existing or new rooms, such as basements, closets, or attics. Outdoor rooms can use detached or new structures like sheds, bunkers, or cellars.

How to Design a Secure Room? 

Here are some tips on how to design a room:

  •     Choose a door.
  •     Door choice depends on strength, weight, and material.
  •     Solid core doors are strong but heavy and costly.
  •     Hollow core doors are light but weak and cheap.
  •     Wood doors are nice and insulating but flammable and moist.
  •     Metal doors are fireproof and waterproof, but they are also conductive and noisy.
  •     Choose a lock.
  •     Lock choice depends on reliability, convenience, and security.
  •     Mechanical locks are reliable but require keys or combinations.
  •     Electronic locks are convenient but require batteries or power.
  •     Single-cylinder locks are simple but allow intruders to enter if they break the glass or the door.
  •     Double-cylinder locks are secure but trap occupants inside if they lose the key or forget the combination.
  •     Choose a light.
  •     The choice of light depends on brightness, efficiency, and source.
  •     Natural light is pleasant but not always available.
  •     Artificial light is consistent but needs batteries or power.
  •     Fixed lights are stable but do not cover all areas.
  •     Portable lights are flexible but may be lost, damaged, or stolen.



A safe room is a valuable investment for a home or business that can enhance security and comfort. Following the tips in this article, one can design a space that suits their preferences and requirements. However, if a person has any questions or doubts about building or creating a secure room, he can always get professional or specialized advice to guide him through the process. Remember that a room is not only a shelter but also a living space that should provide comfort and convenience in times of emergency.

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