First of all, what is a Citadel?
The dictionary definition of citadel states that it is "A stronghold into which people could go for shelter during a battle."
When I was working as a private military contractor on the comercial ships that were transiting the High Risk Area the citadel was a room where the crew of the ship can hide in case there is a pirate attack on the ship or when the pirates are aboard the ship.
The citadel requires having not just food and water supplies but also effective communication channels to be able to communicate with the outside world, with a proper system of ventilation and a first aid kit. The citadel needs to be properly planned and constructed. The anti-piracy fortification is like a last attempt on the part of the ship’s crew to escape from the pirates. This is why there cannot be any loopholes in the construction of the stronghold.
Taking this idea we can use this strategy to create a citadel inside our home. Many of you are also knowing the term "Safe House" or "Safe Haven"
Unlike a bunker, it’s not meant for long-term shelter. You’re only supposed to stay in a safe room until the threat’s over or until help reaches you.
But the citadel must not be created only for violent intruders, home invadors but also for different type of scenarios that are involving danger if the you and your family are leaving the house.
Whether you're facing natural disasters, home invasions, or other emergencies, a well-prepared safe room can provide protection and peace of mind for you and your loved ones. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps to create a secure and well-equipped safe room, covering everything from security items to safety, medical supplies, communication tools, and more.
The creation of a Citadel or a "Safe Haven" should be based upon a thorough Risk Assessment. Also you must create a type of SOP (Standart Operating Procedure) identifying for example in which dangerous situations you will access and use the citadel and what you and your family must do in this cases.
Choosing the Right Location
The first step in creating a safe room or citadel is selecting the ideal location within your home. Of course that this is depending on the configuration of your house. Ideally, it should be on the ground floor, easily accessible to all family members, and not located in a flood-prone area. Basements or interior rooms without windows are often suitable choices. Try and pick a room with no existing windows to help conceal your new safe room’s presence and minimize potential entry points. The citadel must be at close to frequented living spaces as possible. You’ll want the walk in safe room rapidly accessible in the case of an emergency. Seconds can be of the essence.
The walls of your citadel are very important. Can provide you and your family cover especially when we talk about bullets. If not, you must find another solution to reinforce the walls. One of this is adding Armored Steel Panels but I must underline that this is an expensive method.
Essential Security Items
Reinforced Door: Install a solid-core or steel door with a deadbolt lock. Reinforce the door frame and hinges to make it more resistant to forced entry.
A secure door is an important element when we talk about a citadel.
One of the main reasons why most rooms don’t make a great safe room is due to the door. Interior doors are meant for privacy and not safety. They’re not designed to be secure like an exterior door is. The doors are thinner, locks and hinges are flimsy and the frames are weak.
Security Windows: Windows are a major security threat. Since even the slightest blow could break the glass, it’s best if your citadel doesn’t have any.
But many times this will be impossible if you live in a small apartment. If your safe room has windows, consider shatterproof glass or security film to strengthen them against break-ins and flying debris during storms.
Door Security Bar: A door security bar or barricade can provide an additional layer of protection.
Below is an example of a door security bar on a commercial ship and also for a house.
Safety and Medical Supplies
First Aid Kit: Stock your safe room with a comprehensive trauma medical kit( tourniquets, hemostatic gauze, chest seals for all your family members) and also a first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptics and medications.
Fire Extinguisher: Have a fire extinguisher on hand to deal with any potential fires or hazards.
Emergency Lighting: Battery-powered or hand-cranked flashlights, lanterns, and glow sticks are essential for providing illumination during power outages.
Portable Toilet and Hygiene Supplies: Include a portable toilet, hygiene products, and sanitation supplies for comfort during extended stays.
Emergency Food and Water: Store non-perishable food items and enough water for each family member for at least three days.
Again I underline that this type os safe room or citadel is not designed like a bunker that can shelter you and your family members for a long period of time.
Cell Phone and Charger: Keep a fully charged cell phone and a backup power source like a portable charger.
Ham Radio: When the phone lines are down, you could use a ham radio to connect with other individuals. Keep in mind that you need a license to operate it.
Two-Way Radio walkie-talkies
Additional Safety Measures
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Ensure your safe room has functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Security Camera: A security camera with remote monitoring can provide real-time information about the situation outside your safe room.
Emergency Documents: Keep important documents (e.g., identification, insurance policies, medical records) in a waterproof, fireproof container within your safe room.
Cash and Valuables: Store some cash, important documents, and small valuables in a secure box or safe.
Emergency Contact List: Maintain a list of emergency contacts, including family members, neighbors, and local authorities.
Cold Weather Gear: When the heat stops working, how can you avoid freezing to death inside your citadel? Store some extra clothing, and sleeping bags.
Training and Drills
Having a well-equipped safe room is essential, but proper training and regular drills with your family are equally important. Ensure everyone knows how to access the safe room quickly and is familiar with its contents and safety protocols.
Conclusion A safe room is a vital component of any comprehensive emergency preparedness plan. By choosing the right location, equipping it with essential security items, safety and medical supplies, communication tools, and taking additional safety measures, you can create a citadel within your home that provides protection and peace of mind during calamities or danger situations. Stay vigilant, stay prepared, and prioritize the safety of your loved ones.