A safe room or a panic room is a secured room built in an organization or a private residence to provide the occupants with a safe shelter or hiding place in case of a break-in, home invasion, earthquake, terror attack, or any other danger or natural disaster. Safe rooms typically have equipment for communications that allow law enforcement authorities to be notified.
It has become a very real fear for many of us to be worried about our kids while they are away at school. With the destructive aftermath of natural disasters, it’s about time that schools started looking for ways to keep children and members of the staff safe from tragedies in their care. One way schools try to improve the safety of our children is through the installation of safe rooms.
Here are five reasons why schools should consider building on-campus safe rooms:
It provides protection to individuals
The components involved in the design of a safe room include security on all sides- floors, walls, ceilings and windows. Safe rooms are designed to be impenetrable by external forces, which is why they’re capable of offering protection. The protected entrance to the space helps students and teachers to instantly become safe in the event of a natural disaster or any else threatening situation.
On-campus safe rooms are usually made of ballistic steel that can withstand rounds of weapons commonly used in school shootings, bombs, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes of high magnitude. As a potential school safety element, safe rooms capable of withstanding gunshots and moderately sized explosions are now being explored, although they have been a staple in high-risk settings such as embassies and government buildings. Safe rooms help in staying prepared and feeling protected in the event that there is a breach of school security. Knowing about the protection offered should an emergency arise also allows for learning environments where students and teachers can be stress-free and focus on the process of learning.
It allows for external communication with concerned authorities
Safe rooms usually include communications equipment, such as cell phones, a landline telephone, or an amateur radio transceiver, to allow law enforcement authorities to be contacted if such emergencies do arise. An external security camera screen and an alarm system may also be available, while a peephole in the door usually serves the same purpose in more common safe rooms. Such facilities allow for an uninterrupted flow of communication between concerned authorities and the individuals inside the safe room, ensuring safety and alerting authorities into protective action. Children, teachers and other staff members are protected and can be rescued once the authorities are alerted and are in a better position to receive external aid.
It provides an available stock of essential supplies
Usually, safe rooms are packed with basic emergency and survival items such as lanterns, blankets, first aid kits, water, packaged food, self-defence equipment, gas masks and even a small portable toilet. High-end safe rooms may even have a wardrobe, an air-filtration device for biodefence that allows for the prevention of biological and nuclear pollutants, and a panic button that can lock down the area in question. A back-up stock of essential supplies in the safe room ensures continued survival even in the case of a lock-down or other emergency and helps to meet the basic needs of individuals seeking refuge in the safe room.
It can double up as a community safe room
Safe rooms in schools not only offer protection to the individuals on campus, but they can also double up as neighbourhood or community safe rooms should the local area be affected by extreme weather and other types of natural disasters. Community safe rooms can contain a larger number of people, hold more supplies and stock, and offer protection to the people inside during trying times.
It requires a one-time investment and has low maintenance charges
Although building a well-equipped safe room can be expensive because of the various specifications and safety precautions required, it is well worth the investment because of the multitude of benefits it offers. Once built, a safe room requires little cost in the form of maintenance charges and other ongoing expenses. It offers a powerful means of protecting individuals in the event of danger and has the potential to save lives that otherwise would have been lost in its absence.
Children, teachers, as well as staff members spend the majority of their days in school, and having an effective plan for protection in the form of on-campus safe rooms can tackle growing unrest and worry over how safe individuals are on campus, as well as create a positive learning environment for everyone involved.