For some Americans still disturbed by the September 11th terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq has raised more fears of terrorism. And there are those so concerned they are preparing their homes for the worst case scenario—some kind of attack in their community. VOA-TV’S Tim Wardner reports.
NATURAL SOUND HAMMERS HITTING STEEL
Zytech Engineering in North End, Maryland is testing its product: Security vaults for people that are called ‘safe rooms’ or ‘panic rooms.’ This attack simulates intruders trying to penetrate the safe room.
“The system does answer the terrorism type of threat which is on everyone’s mind right now.”
Eric Dunn builds these safe rooms and business is up. Rooms were originally designed to protect against hostile intruders, but since the beginning of the war in Iraq, Americans are anxious about new terrorist attacks and some are looking to beef up home security.
“While we can do things to answer the terrorist type of threat including chemical and biological attack, the system and the interest is accelerated dramatically because of 9-11.”
These steel vaults may be secure safe rooms but they also come with features that allow occupants to fight back.
“This is a defensive gun port that provides high end ballistic protection from the outside but allows someone on the inside if they find it necessary, they want to, to stick the muzzle of a gun or a pistol through this defensive gunport and fire back.”
NARRATOR But the concern now is not so much intruders, but toxic air contamination from a biological or chemical terrorist attack.
“You can put 6 to 8 adults in this system and provide enough clean air through a chemical biological attack to keep those people safe.”
He claims that this plastic tent-like structure can be put up in ten minutes and provides the crucial air filtration to protect occupants until the toxic air outside dissipates.
“Unless you seal that room, you’re not protected.”
The fear that drives some Americans to fortify their homes is a reminder of the Cold War era of the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Some families dug underground ‘fallout shelters’ to protect against nuclear bombs.
“After the twin towers went down in New York, I’m concerned.”
“I was glad to hear someone say this is what you need to be prepared.”
NATURAL SOUND CASH REGISTER AND SPEAKING
Last month the U.S. government suggested the public buy plastic sheeting and duct tape for sealing off rooms in the event of a terrorist attack. The public bought supplies but security experts say these measures are inadequate.
“It’s psychological and for the cost of the duct tape and the plastic they are making themselves feel good but that’s about it.
Most people are not going to install an expensive steel vault in their homes but some are adapting existing rooms.
“So it’s at the end of our hall, has no windows, has a single air vent which can be blocked off if we need to.”
For homeowner Debbie Yamanaka, her safe room is a windowless below ground space stocked with food and water.
“By the time most people realize there has been a chemical or biological event it’s probably almost too late. What the room does, though, is it provides us some additional shelter. The key in any biological or chemical event is time, distance and shelter. And it provides us a place to be, some shelter so that time can elapse and provide some distance from where chemicals may come through the air.”
The intent of terrorism is to create fear. And for many Americans the antidote to fear is a safe place at home.