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How to design a secret Safe Room

Your house can easily have a “secret room,” for its novelty, for children and for a safe hideout from intruders. Entrances to these rooms are concealed by normal looking household features such as bookcases.

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Designing begins with determining the secret room’s function: a hideout? fantasy playroom? a space for meditation or writing your novel?

Location

Next, figure out where to have it. It’s easier to figure this out if your house is under construction. Otherwise, it can be located centrally, or inside a room or even in the basement. A smart option may be unused space such as beneath a staircase, in a huge closet or inside a storage room.

Furnishings

To save money, do as much remodeling, restructuring and furnishing as you can (including drywalling, painting, etc.). Hire professionals for electrical and plumbing unless this is your line of work. The room also needs proper heating, cooling and ventilation.

Secret Entrance

It’s best to have an expert design a spectacular secret portal. In fact, there are companies that specialize in secret room customization. An automated entranceway or portal can be created by a mechanical engineer so that this passageway is truly hidden (camouflaged as a dresser, fireplace, bookcase, what have you—even merged into the surrounding wall).

How It’s done

The automated doorway is built in the company’s workshop, custom-designed and shipped to the purchaser with complete installation instructions. The company can also send out installers. A secret entrance that’s 100 percent created professionally is nearly impossible to detect.

Truth or hoax?

The story on the Internet is that a guy was playing around in his house when his younger brother accidentally ran into a bookshelf—it opened to a secret spiral staircase that led to an unknown crawlspace…where a stranger was living. The older of the two crept down the steps far enough to discover the secret room, where his Halloween candy and a banana peel were scattered on some bedding. This story hasn’t been validated as true and is likely just an Internet hoax.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Household Safety: It’s Mold Awareness Month!

House mold is no joke. Mold makes you sick, makes your house sick and ruins properties if left untreated. Keeping mold under control is critical for household safety.

The Department of Health in New York defines mold as “Molds are microscopic organisms that live on plant or animal matter. They aid in the breakdown of dead material and recycle nutrients in the environment. Present virtually everywhere, they can be found growing on organic material such as soil, foods, and plant matter. In order to reproduce, molds produce spores, which spread through air, water, or by insects. These spores act like seeds and can form new mold growth if the conditions are right.”

Mold gets into your house as a result of moisture. That moisture can come from a flood, leaky roof, plumbing leaks, cooking steam, heating steam, humidifiers, wet clothes drying inside a home, or condensation accumulating inside crawlspaces from any of the above.

For your family safety, here are the most important things you should know about mold, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ten Things You Should Know About House Mold

  • Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  • There is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  • If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  • Fix the source of the water problem or install a water leak detector to prevent mold growth.
  • Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  • Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  • Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  • In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  • Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

 

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist toHome Security Source discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

Electrical Safety in Your Home

Electricity is an increasing presence in our modern lives. May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is promoting a healthy respect for electricity and increasing awareness of electrical hazards.

Electrical incidents and fires disrupt countless lives and result in the loss of billions of dollars in productivity and assets each year.

Week 1 – Cooking Up Safety in the Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where families gather to cook favorite recipes, share warm meals, and reconnect with each other, but it’s also the location where two-thirds of all home fires start. Identify and correct potential hazards in your kitchen before someone gets hurt.

Week 2 – Plug Into Safety in Your Family Room

The family room is an area of the home where many people go to unwind and relax, but there are certainly a lot of appliances powered there. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average home today has three televisions, two DVD players, at least one digital camera, one desktop computer and two cell phones. Many homes and their electrical systems were built before most modern-day home electronics and appliances were even invented. Learn to recognize and eliminate potential electrical hazards that can exist in common areas of your home.

Week 3 –Wake Up to Safety in the Bedroom

The average adult sleeps almost 8 hours per night, spending at least one-third of every day in their bedroom. Unfortunately, we are often at our most vulnerable while asleep. Thirty-six percent of people killed in home fires never wake up. Take steps to make sure your bedroom is safe—you’ll sleep better!

Week 4 – Build a Foundation of Safety in the Basement

The basement is one of the most commonly ignored areas of the home. Yet, it is also where some of your most essential—and expensive—home electrical equipment is kept. Heating equipment and electrical distribution systems are two of the leading causes of home fires. You can help keep your home safe by learning the basics of how these systems work and making sure they are properly maintained.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist toHome Security Source discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover.Disclosures

Brazen Burglars Broke into the Same House Three Times in a Week

In the first hit they made off with a television and four-figure sum of cash, plus a key to the garden shed.

They came back, let themselves into the shed, and took garden tools but were spotted by the returning home owners.

The GazzetteNews reported the homeowner investigated after noticing the shed door was open, and saw four people in the park behind the house, two of them were holding the tools stolen from the shed and the group ran off.

The burglars then made a third attempt on the house and caused damage to the property.

Local law enforcement well aware of the ongoing break-ins assembled a team of detectives to thwart the property crimes and to try and break the pattern.

Their strategy is to visit well-known suspects, keeping tabs on their whereabouts and doing what they can to “divert these individuals from crime.

“They also work closely with victims, providing them with support and giving them advice on home and personal safety. “Anyone who has had to deal with a burglary will know that it’s not just the financial loss that is difficult; more often than not, items of huge sentimental value are taken, so it also has a huge emotional impact too.

“This is completely unacceptable and the teams will be doing all they can to prevent this from happening to residents in our communities.”

Bravo to all involved in the effort to preserve the sanctity of citizen’s rights to safety and security.

But what’s missing in this story is the homeowner being proactive and doing something to keep the burglars out in the first place. Often a home alarm monitored at a dollar a day will do the trick. In my case, first my cameras see them coming day and night and that notifies me with an audible alert. Second, once they get close enough the German Shepherd lets me and them know she is ready. Third, the doors and windows are all locked. Fourth they need to get through the home alarm system and if they trip it, the local police are called.

If they do make their way in, the Shepherd knows what to do next. Me? If I’m home I’m taking the family out of there as quickly as possible and heading to safety, then pizza.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to ADT Home Security Source discussing Home Security on NBC Boston. Disclosures.

10 Wicked Inexpensive Ways to Secure Your Home

1. Call the cops. Most communities have programs in place where a law enforcement officer will inspect a personal home or apartment and make recommendations based on exiting vulnerabilities. Generally they will make those recommendations within your budget upon request.

2. Install signage. I bought 2 “Beware of Dog” neon signs for $1.98 this week. One for the front door and one for the back door. The same hardware store had “This House is Alarmed” signs for short money.

3. Go to the pet store. Dogs are a great form of home security. A few things I can do without include all the barking, tumbleweeds of fur, financial expense of shots and all the dog doo. Save a few bucks and buy the biggest dog food bowl possible. Get 2, one for the front porch and one for the back. Write “Killer” in permanent marker on it. This gives the impression you have a big dog. You can even buy a barking dog alarm.

4. Get your neighbors to guard your home. Why pay for security guards or lame remote security monitoring when you can have your neighbor Ed keep a keen eye on your property? Start a neighborhood watch program and design it so everyone has a monthly responsibility to work the neighborhood.

5. Make your home seem occupied 24/7/365. When you are away put the stereo or TV on loud enough to hear from the immediate exterior. Buy inexpensive timers and plug all your lamps in.

6. Install motion sensors that make a burglar think they are being watched.

7. Use your existing door locks and LOCK THEM! Or buy better ones and install yourself. Beef up the strike plate, which is the metal plate where the bolt enters the jam. Install 3 inch screws deep into the jam.

8. For short money you can buy a “security bar” that wedges up under your door knob and is also alarmed.

9. Secure your windows so they don’t raise more than 6-10 inches. Install small angle brackets that prevent the windows from going any higher.

10. Get a home alarm system for less than 100 bucks; then a dollar a day. A home alarm is the best protection while you are home and away.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Home Security on NBC Boston.