Apartment Installations

Home and Apartment Safe Rooms

Collective protection for civil defense
A nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) safe room protects its occupants from inhaling harmful or deadly airborne toxins such as very fine particles of radioactive fallout, biological toxins, and chemical agents. In the past, the United States Government has poured extensive resources into providing the best information (at the time) for the protection of its citizens from NBC warfare agents. This is not the case today.

For protection of the U.S. population we have the government website: www.ready.gov. It suggests duct tape and plastic, then wait for further official instruction. Although the tape and plastic method would offer some immediate short term protection from low level toxins at low concentrations, it would be, at best, a short term solution. Most governments tend to only recommend emergency procedures that can be afforded by all their citizens.

As a contrast to most governments, both Switzerland and Israel require, and subsidize the cost of, NBC safe rooms in apartment buildings. They have strict standards in place governing both the construction of the room and the ventilation equipment protecting the room.

For protection of some of our military personal and government officials, the U.S. Department of the Army - Corps of Engineers has standards by which NBC airborne toxic free areas must comply. These standards dictate the differential pressure in the safe room (protected space) as well as the design of the NBC filter/ventilation system.

The main reasons why an un-pressurized room will not protect the occupants for very long is that the room "breaths" - in other words, it leaks air both in and out through the cracks as the external atmospheric pressure fluctuates - due wind or other atmospheric variables like temperature, and barometric pressure swings due to approaching weather fronts. Air constantly tries to normalize its pressure and temperature between different variants - as it does this, it brings with it whatever that air contains. Also, in a sealed room, there is no accommodation to replenish oxygen and expel the exhaled carbon dioxide of the occupants.

In order to create and maintain overpressure as well as give the required air exchanges to support the air supply needs of the sheltered occupants, a safe room must be equipped with true positive pressure NBC filter/ventilation unit and a means of a metering the exhaust air out of the protected space.

American Safe Room filter/ventilation equipment and related components are designed and manufactured specifically for this purpose.


What you need

A Safe Cell


How air is let in

1. Wall mount flange:
Do-it yourself with the included wall mount flange

2. Through the wall kit:
Use our easy-to-install kit to make a simple, clean installation

3. Register duct kit:
Easily attach your intake hose to an existing register duct


How air is let out

1. Use the existing structure: Air seeps out the cracks under doors and around windows - this is perfectly acceptable, as long as you maintain overpressure

2. Overpressure relief valve:
In a very well sealed protected space you will need to meter the outflow of air


In an emergency

1. Emergency hand pump
For long term power outages, you can draw safe, breathable air into your protected space through the filter banks of the Safe Cell

2. Auxiliary blower
This will automatically refresh the air in your protected space when you are not using it - and - it can double as a backup blower for your Safe Cell

3. Replacement filters
These can be installed after an event when your existing filters have done their job and become less effective because they are clogged with particles and gases that would be in your lungs if they were not captured by the filters of the Safe Cell


What you need to know

A safe room consists of an envelope (a room) that has a true NBC filtration/ventilation system installed that will maintain more air pressure inside the room than outside of it (overpressure) in order to constantly keep air bowing outward from the protected space. This will not allow airborne toxins from migrating back into the air you breath.

With the right equipment, standard residential construction - homes and apartments - can be a perfectly suitable envelope to keep out airborne toxins. Absolute sealing of the room is not necessary - as long as you have achieved and maintain overpressure.

Even if you are inside a hermetically sealed container, you need true ventilation - air in and air out. This ventilation continually removes heat, moisture, and carbon dioxide that is exhaled by the occupants while bringing in a fresh supply of oxygen-rich air.

This air must be filtered in order to make it safe and breathable. The best filter combination is a bank of pre-filters, an individually DOP scan tested nuclear grade HEPA for radioactive fallout and a nuclear grade carbon adsorber that will adsorb radioactive iodine.

All of the component necessary to do any kind of installation of a safe room is right here, waiting for you.


Critical things to consider

  • Room selection - inside rooms offer more distance (one component of protection) from radioactive fallout, but outside rooms offer more surveillance of outside your safe room
  • Room size in volume
  • The number of anticipated occupants 
  • How well the room is sealed - if the room is well sealed, then the air must be allowed to be metered out with an overpressure valve
  • What pressure the air is that is being drawing into the room - is it being drawn from static air or from a central forced-air system? 
  • What do you do if the power fails? The Safe Cell has an onboard automatic battery backup system


There's more:
the Pusher Mode

The Safe Cell has the ability to quickly and easily be mounted in an adjacent closet or under a cabinet. We call this the "pusher mode" because it is "pushing" air into your safe room (protected space).

Normally, the Safe Cell is mounted inside the protected space and the only hose required is the intake hose that connects to the bottom intake port. This allows you to quickly attach the emergency hand pump to the top output port and start manually drawing in filtered air - without leaving your protected space. This is a simple schematic of a normal installation:

But sometimes, you may wish to have a more discrete installation - hiding the fact that you have military grade protection from airborne toxins. That is why we made this simple kit that allows you to mount the Safe Cell in a closet or other adjacent space. This is a simple schematic of a pusher mode installation:

In the pusher mode mode, it is possible to mount the Safe Cell outside of the protected space, but we do not recommend this type of installation. All of our military sales and research into protected spaces used by militaries worldwide has shown that it is imperative that the occupants be able to have access to the filtration equipment from within the protected space. Access to the Safe Cell allows you to change filters, use the emergency hand pump, and quickly attach the auxiliary blower - if needed. It also gives you visible and audible feedback that the Safe Cell is functioning. Here's how a "pusher mode" installation looks:

Shown above is a Safe Cell mounted in a wall of one end of a walk-in closet in a bedroom. The air is drawn from outside the residence through the hose at the bottom left and expelled into the bedroom through the 90-degree fitting and the hose at the top right.

This entire installation took about a half-hour - from out of the box to hitting the "on" button. Anyone can do this with a few simple hand tools.