Should Your Business Have A Panic Room?

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That depends on your business, your other security measures, and the threats you may face

Jodie Foster didn’t invent the panic room, but her 2002 film, Panic Room, certainly made the idea of an ultra-secure safe place more mainstream. The plot, coupled with a post 9/11 world and extreme weather patterns, helped make panic – or safe – rooms more routine for many celebrities, corporate executives, and wealthy homeowners.

As the adoption of panic rooms has grown in conjunction with widely-publicized violent incidents, some businesses are wondering if the office is a suitable place for one. The short answer is: That all depends.

The basics of the panic room

Unlike bunkers from the Cold War days which were built for long-term inhabitance, a panic room is simply a temporary shelter where people can remain until help arrives, whether it’s hours or a few days. To help make a temporary location secure and comfortable, there are plenty of options, like the fogger that one Hollywood Hills, CA owner used to disorient intruders.

On the low end, panic rooms can cost about $3,000 – but they can quickly rise to $50,000 and up to $500,000, depending on the bells and whistles (like foggers) desired.

The panic room is the last line of defense

At its best, security is accomplished through layers, beginning with the outer perimeter of the premises. Fences, surveillance cameras, and motion detectors are often the first line of defense.

Moving inward, there are additional cameras, a smart entry system, and, perhaps, a panic button. The panic room, at this point, is the last line of defense should danger succeed in passing through these security layers.

Why does a business need a panic room?

Businesses will often cite many of the same reasons homeowners do when deciding on a panic room: protection from an intruder, severe weather (such as a tornado), or even a terrorist attack (such as a chemical device).

When it comes to panic rooms in commercial or industrial locations, there are other considerations – and this is best summed up in a simple question: Who or what needs to be kept safe?

  • In some cases, the CEO – a person who may be as powerful and financially lucrative as the leader of a country – may need to be protected for the sake of jobs, shareholders, and economies, as well as the unique threats they may face.
  • If more staff is the prime consideration, then steps must be taken to ensure the panic room is appropriately stocked and sized for the number of people.
  • Finally, the panic room may be necessary to preserve documents and hard drives to help business to resume after an emergency.

For panic rooms, it’s location, location, location

Panic rooms come in all shapes and sizes – from converted closets to well-planned, spacious entities in new construction. Regardless of its purpose and options, though, the panic room’s location is most crucial.

It must be easily accessible for the person or people using it. This means understanding what points of entry are most likely to be used by an intruder so your paths do not intersect. And while panic rooms may be a viable option, more essential security steps should be a priority. Appropriate fencing and access control with identification, secure entrances with vestibules, and adequate, effectively-monitored video surveillance are all layers of security that can mitigate or even stop security incidents before one is necessary.

POM Technologies can offer assistance in assessing and creating a security plan, as well as establishing the right rings of security around your property.

Contact us today at 212.688.2767 or through our convenient online form for a free consultation about your needs.