Sick and elderly, the North Tulsa couple married for more than 65 years had faced their share of challenges. The husband, Bob Strait, fought with the 101st Airborne in World War II. His wife, Nancy, liked to can jelly and make quilts. According to news reports, the couple did everything together, from going to doctor’s visits to doing the grocery shopping. They were one of those couples you see who have been together so long that the idea of being apart is unthinkable. They deserved, at their advanced age, to be enjoying their twilight years and their retirement.

Bob Strait was 90 years old. His wife was 85. Back in March, according to police, suspect Tyrone Woodfork allegedly kicked down their front door, beat them both and sexually assaulted Nancy. She died two days later. Her husband hung on until earlier this month, when he finally joined her. Bob Strait was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroism as a soldier … and now he and his wife have been killed by street trash, a piece of human filth so vile he deserves to be dragged out into the street and beaten to death by the Straits’ neighbors.

Something similar could happen to you. Danger could come to your door. This is not alarmism. It is simple realism, an acknowledgment of reality. But there’s something you can do. There are precautions you can take. One of these, coupled with proper awareness, could protect your family. It’s a safe room.

It may sound like something from a movie. The term conjures images of steel vaults at the center of large mansions, where wealthy victims cower and monitor the ransacking of their homes through banks of television monitors.

The reality is that a safe room is technologically achievable by almost any family, across a wide range of budget levels. Given the prevalence of home invasion and the looming civil unrest promised by “Occupy” agitators (and other class-warfare proponents), it may well be time to equip your family’s dwelling with a safe room.

A safe room, simply put, is an area of last resort, a place to which you can retreat in the event of a home invasion or burglary. It is the stronghold, the place to which you fall back when you cannot (or should not) face the evil that has come knocking on your door.

Elaborate construction of a full vault safe room is beyond the budgets of most families. For all practical purposes, it’s also unnecessary. Unless you hope to build a full-on nuclear fallout shelter, you can build a safe room that serves your self-defense purposes perfectly well, without spending a small fortune (or even bankrupting the family you’re trying to protect).

First, choose a room in your house to make the safe room. Ideally, it should have only one entrance and exit, someplace you can safeguard and secure. (Don’t worry about an escape route. If you have the ability to escape from a dangerous situation, you shouldn’t be hiding in a “safe room” in the first place.) Bathrooms are a good choice because they have certain infrastructure in place – namely, plumbing for running water and the removal of wastes.

Secure the door of the safe room so that it is resistant to most likely attacks from outside. This means, at the very least, fitting the room with a heavy wooden door (not a hollow-core door, which can be kicked in or even destroyed easily). Hinges should be located on the inside of the room, not on the outside where they can be taken apart. Remember that if the door can be destroyed with hand tools, you are vulnerable to anyone who has such tools on hand. (Remember the “Here’s Johnny!” moment from “The Shining?”)

There are available on the market metal “safe” doors that are intended to turn a closet or small room into a walk-in vault of sorts. You could buy one of these metal doors and install it on your safe room, though of course if the room is used regularly (such as for a bathroom) the door must be operable from both sides.

Your safe room should have, at a minimum, the following items and supplies secured and organized inside:

Communications. Some means of calling the outside world in order to call police and ask for assistance if necessary. Land lines can be cut by tenacious home invaders, so a wireless (mobile) phone backup (not a cordless phone) is a good idea.

Food and water. If you choose the bathroom for your safe room, water is abundant, and you have the plumbing needed for personal emergencies. Stockpile some food, such as energy bars, just in case you have to make an extended stay.

Weapons of self-defense. If you can secure in your safe room a legal weapon, such as a locked shotgun or a handgun in a push-button safe, do so. Do NOT use the weapon to try and “clear” your home in the case of a burglary or invasion. The weapon you keep in the safe room is there to defend you should the invaders attempt to breach your last line of defense.

Survival kits and safe room supplies can be purchased online and in certain stores, so look around and see what you can find. Remember, too, that a safe room is not just for burglaries and home invasions. A properly designed safe room can also be used to keep you safe from natural disasters like hurricanes and tornados, if you choose the appropriate location in your home (such as a second half-bathroom in a basement).

Every family’s needs, and every individual situation, may differ, but the goal is the same: Establish in your home a securable, lockable location to which you can retreat during a disaster or a violation of your home. Your home is your castle. Burglars, rapists, drug addicts and, yes, violent gangs of roving “Occupy” protesters represent a very real danger to the sanctity of that castle. Take steps to safeguard your home and loved ones now, before you need them.


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