Attic Safe Room??

Discussion in 'General Homesteading & Building' started by USMC5811, Oct 20, 2010.

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  1. USMC5811

    USMC5811 New Member

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    I would like to have a safe room for my family for many reasons. Mainly for a home invasion threat as we have been burglarized before while we were sleeping. I have listed out my idea below and would like some feedback on the pros and cons as well as any other ideas you may have. Thanks!

    Attic Safe Room

    Attic Safe Room Purpose
    Secure retreat location for family or wife / 2 children guests during home invasion (not bullet proof)
    Supply location for Survival Supplies
    Unknown Location to secure documents / valuables incase of burglary or home invasion
    Location for children to go if home alone and feel threatened (when they reach an age of understanding and responsibility)

    Current State of Home / Attic
    Home is 3 stories slab (no basement)
    Attic is on 3rd floor
    Has traditional pull down stair attic access
    Has 3 half size attic doors in 3 different rooms
    Attic Safe Room entry would be through half size door inside closet
    Current have Foil Radiant Barrier and Insulation
    Measured space to inhabit - need to measure

    Attic Safe Room Potential Capabilities / Contents
    Lockable from inside
    Audible alarm on door (armed from inside room)
    Wired Lighting / Flashlight / Battery Powered Lantern
    Dry Food / Can Goods / Can Opener / Paper Products
    Water / Other Drinks
    Communication / Prepaid Cell Phone / Charger
    Electrical Power Receptacle / Batteries
    Platform to stand / lay down on
    Sleeping Bags / Blanket
    Battery Operated Fan
    Seating
    Defense - Shotgun / Pistol / Baseball Bat
    First Aid Kit / Air Masks /
    Safe - Secure Documents / Valuables

    Positive Reasons to use Attic as Safe Room
    Low building costs
    Unknown to potential threats
    Ability to create path to walk to other attic door entries, multiple entries / exits

    Negative Reasons to use Attic as Safe Room
    Heat during summer
    Cold during winter
    Dust
     
  2. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Hmm...add to the negatives: you could be trapped if there's a fire. Also, if the intruders hang around very long, you could be stuck in there for a while, and with children it might be hard to stay quiet. If the intruders searched very thoroughly could they find your safe place, thereby putting you and yours in harm's way?

    Looking at the description of how your house is laid out, it might very well be the only "invisible" space you have to work with. I hope you're able to put in a back-up escape route.
     

  3. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    Is there a vent to the outside of the house in the area of the attic like shown below

    [​IMG]

    If so, can you modify it so that it could be opened from the inside only and then hard-mount a rope-ladder near that vent to allow escape from the house (fire, carbon monoxide, intruder). Can you line the floor with 1/4" plate-steel (in the T1 or QT-100 variety) to repel any small arms fire from below?

    Can you set up a solar-powered lighting system that could also power a CB-radio BaseStation or HamRadio for communications to the outside world - just incase the main power or phone hardline is compromised.

    With the temperature changes, you might not want to have water up there unless it is packed in tetrapaks or polybags - the same stuff that the US CoastGuard recommends for emergency water rations.

    And the final recommendation I have for you is to use sealable metal containers (like surplus ammo-cans) to store all your "consumables" inside of. That will make sure that moisture, bugs, rodents, etc do not cause damage to your supplies in the attic...
     
  4. thunderdan19

    thunderdan19 Shoots to Thrill

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    Sounds like you have it pretty well thought out. I would agree that you need a fire egress plan/means. I'd also have phone (one that doesn't require power) wired up there. Then you can dial 911 from there. Keep your cell phones too, but that one will tie right to your address (presuming you have a 911 system where you live, of course). Otherwise, make sure your family is briefed on how to give your addy quickly, clearly and concisely for the operator.

    It wouldn't hurt to add a couple more layers of plywood to the floor of the attic if you are going to build out that area anyway. That'll reduce the penetration potential (you could also look into sandwiching kevlar fabric).

    Otherwise, sounds like you have it planned out pretty well. Are there any windows looking out? If you are planning to use it for TEOTWAWKI, you would want to be able to look out or access the roof to look out and have a perch overlooking your property. You would want a scoped rifle to defend it.
     
  5. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

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    13,772
    I have a couple questions as I'm not getting a mental picture of the layout. Want to post some pictures?
    You said there's a drop-down staircase and 3 half-size attic doors. Where are these 1/2 size doors (in the rooms they exist, are they in the wall or ceiling or ???)?
    When you go into your attic, what's the dimension of the 2x's that make up the floor joists in your attic? In many attics, they would be 2x6's. If so, that's inadequate for your needs. You may need to scab some 2x10's or 2x12's to them for the strength you'll need. You can walk on the 2x6's but they probably won't be strong enough for you to store your provisions.
    On your drop-down staircase, I'm assuming it's the folding staircase that's in the ceiling. If that's the case, I'd make some way to dead-bolt it from the top (as well as making the pull-down string retractable so it can't be used from below.

    As already mentioned, excessive heat could be a real problem.
     
  6. USMC5811

    USMC5811 New Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback! I'll be taking some pictures and post them so you will have a better idea of my set up with the attic doors. There is a vent in place that could be kicked out and a fire ladder deployed out to escape in case of a fire.