Physical Security

Panic in the home

by Mark Rowe

Since launch mid-2011, the Panic Room Company has been in discussion with the commercial and leisure shipping industries, international embassies and diamond dealers in South Africa. A market that’s emerging closer to home is private property in the UK, the firm adds.

Steve Brook, Business Development Director for the Panic Room Company, says: “Whilst we always had high net worth individuals at risk from attack in mind for the Panic Room, demand from various overseas governments and industries has tended to dominate. But, the tide is turning back in favour of private property installations in the UK. Some burglars are now actually waiting for residents to be at home rather than out so they can use extortion on family members to gain easier access to valuables, personal documents and sensitive data. People have a natural instinct to do all they can to protect loved ones so are turning to the Panic Room Company for help.”

Heath Hall, a £100m mansion that just went on the market in London’s Hampstead, has a steel-walled dressing room off its master suite with its own toilet facilities, control panel and telephone line with wires that cannot be cut. Some footballers are at risk the firm suggests as an assailant only needs to see a fixture list to figure out when the man of the house is out at work – leaving their partners, children and possessions exposed. A new trend is a trickle down to the more ‘ordinary’ family, according to the firmn.

Steve adds: “We’ve recently worked with a semi-retired self-employed builder in his early 60s of good standing and reasonable wealth. A year previously, opportunist thugs kicked down the door of his Midlands home in the middle of the night and, with no time to alert the police, he was badly beaten in the incident. The perpetrators left with minimal valuables but he and his wife were considerably shaken by the attack. He opted to install a Panic Room, costing £45,000, in his property within easy reach of the master bedroom suite.”

“The Panic Room is fully connected via a panic button to the gentleman’s alarm company,” says Steve, “Simply by pressing the button, they know that it is an incident serious enough to call the police and automatically do so. Via a monitor, the alarm company is able to see the Panic Room occupants and communicate to offer reassurance. External household security cameras can also be controlled from the Panic Room. Our client’s feeling is, had he had this safe room a year ago, they would have been able to barricade themselves in and sound the alarm before the thugs had a chance to exert physical violence. A bonus is that they have a villa in southern Spain for extended holidays so all the valuables, jewellery, small antiques and paintings go in the Panic Room while they are away. Not only are they safe from burglary but also protected in the event of fire or flood damage.”

The firm points to intruders who have attacked or threatened the homes of Premiership footballers who have evaded extensive security systems.

About the Panic Room

The product is described as a last point of defence and can be specified to withstand mechanical attacks, shotgun fire and more powerful weapon attacks. Each unit can be adapted to connect to devices such as alarm systems, smoke screens or security cameras. The makers say that the room can be installed in half a day with minimal manpower, no welding equipment needed, and be disguised to blend in with any environment. The room has external ventilation and air filtration, breathing equipment, lighting, back-up power supplies, fresh water and basic toilets.

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