My introduction to “safe rooms” came in the form of a 2002 movie called “Panic Room.” The actor Jodie Foster played a newly divorced mother who lived with her young child in a New York apartment. A hired killer broke into that apartment. Foster’s character and that of the daughter lived only because the apartment had a safe room.
Fast forward to today and safe rooms are becoming the new “must have.” The cost of a safe room typically runs between $50,000 – $550,000 for a basic armored room. Basic translates into walls, floors, and ceiling that are made of blast-proof, bulletproof, Superman steel and ballistic fiberglass designed to prevent unwanted entry of anyone or anything, from gun-toting assassins to poisonous gases. Furnishings are extra.
Matthias Fitchum, CEO and managing partner of the bespoke safe maker Stockinger in Germany, said, “There has been a massive increase in demand for safe rooms and safes in general.” Fitchum’s business has built safe rooms in homes and offices in+100 countries. “A lot of stock-listed companies are requesting them for their offices as well as for the private homes of their board members.”
As natural/manmade disasters and mass shootings increase, the popularity of safe rooms increases. People want to be safe. People want their families to be safe. Bill Rigdon, CEO of Building Consensus, recently built a safe room on the bottom floor of an expansive waterfront estate in La Jolla. The safe room tunnels out into the canyon so “the children can escape.” He did the same for another family in Bel-Air.
“There’s a higher sense of awareness today and architects are calling us now, before a project even begins,” said Tom Gaffney of Vermont’s Gaffney Ballistics. “People want safety for themselves, their artwork, their Ferraris, sometimes even their shoes.”
People are also buying up military-base installations around the world and converting them into survival quarters that have the status and amenities of 4-star hotels. According to Robert Vicino, founder and CEO of the Vivos Group, “High net-worth individuals see the possibilities…it’s become an aspirational thing…it’s like a second house…basically, it’s another form of insurance…of assurance.”
Obviously, safety sells. The xPoint in South Dakota is a community of fortified bunkers the size of Manhattan. It has 575 private bunkers that accommodates up to 10,000 people. Europe One in Rothenstein Germany covers 250,000 square feet and is advertised as the world’s largest deluxe underground bunker.