Use these basement shelter ideas and safety tips to keep both your home and family protected.
Now that you’ve learned how to protect your basement, let’s talk about how to protect yourself with your basement. By taking a few simple precautions, you can turn your basement into a safe, secure room for your family—for both everyday use and emergency situations.
Follow these steps to feel peace of mind in your home for years to come.
Install basement windows and window wells
You should always have a clear escape strategy for every room in your home. This is especially important for basements since they generally have fewer exits. Because of this, if you’re building a new home or making additions to your current one, consider installing basement windows that are large enough for a person to climb through—especially in children’s bedrooms.
If you’re getting large basement windows, then you’re going to need large window wells to match. Make sure you invest in window wells with safety features like built-in steps that allow for easy emergency egress. And as an extra tip, keep all furniture away from your window wells so you always have clear access to them in an emergency!
Get the best basement window protection
Once you’ve got basement windows, you need to take measures to keep them (and your family) protected. As mentioned in Part 1, security film can be sealed over your windows to provide added strength—and if the glass does break, the film will prevent it from shattering into your home. This is an inexpensive way to ward off intruders and secure your family against flying debris.
Polycarbonate and security-bar covers are must-haves for any window well. These covers can be opened from the inside and will keep your pets and children from falling into the wells. And their unique design offers reinforced protection while still letting natural light into your basement!
Finish your basement
Your basement houses most of the plumbing, electrical and climate-control systems in your home—all of which can be dangerous to children and pets. If your family is going to spend a lot of time downstairs or you plan to use it as a shelter, consider finishing your basement.
Not only will a finished basement increase your home’s safety, but it will also give your family more room to grow.
Keep an updated supply of food storage
We’ve discussed how to exit a basement in case of in-home emergencies, but what about using your basement for protection? Basements are great shelters, but shelters are only good if they can keep you safe and healthy long enough for help to arrive.
Every home should have a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food. The standard rule for water is one gallon per person per day. Keep your food in sealed containers and on open shelves, and ensure that it’s kept away from heat, moisture and drafts.
Store emergency supplies
Along with food storage, your basement supply is going to need some emergency essentials. Start with a first aid kit and a flashlight—and make sure you’ve stocked plenty of extra batteries. Next, ensure that you have contact with the outside world with a radio and an extra cell phone with a backup battery. A whistle is also a small item that can easily signal for help.
The rest of your emergency stock will be composed of helpful supplies, like dust masks, duct tape, moist towelettes, garbage bags, a toolkit, a manual can opener and maps of your surrounding area.
Build a basement shelter or safe room
It may seem like your basement is stable enough to withstand anything, but it doesn’t hurt to add extra protection—especially if you live in an area that is prone to severe weather.
To get started, decide exactly what you want your shelter to be for—and how many people will need to be sheltered in it. If you’d rather not build it yourself, there are professionals who can help you turn part of your basement into the perfect shelter or safe room.
Practice emergency routines
Once you’ve got your home prepared, you need to prepare your family. Run practice drills for a variety of different scenarios, including severe weather (make sure you learn the kind of natural disasters that are common in your area), intruders, fire, flood, and other potential threats. Make sure each family member has a map of your home’s escape routes.
Enjoy your beautiful basement in safety
With just a little preparation, you can ensure your family is always secure, safe and protected in your home. Get started with RockWell’s Premier Series egress window wells. These stone textured, UV stable wells come with built-in stairs that will help keep your basement bright, beautiful and safe.