August 13, 2012: In a major effort to reduce the death rate in the Middle East, an Israeli firm has developed the instant safe room. While the biggest market for this will be in Israel (because of civil defense laws) people through this violent region can benefit.
Sixteen years ago Israel decided to upgrade its civil defense arrangements. They passed a law mandating that new houses have at least one "bomb proof" safe room, to be used as a shelter during rocket attacks. But most builders ignored the law. It's expensive. To add such a room to existing houses would cost about $30,000 per home. Aware of the very real danger many Israelis went ahead and designated one room in the house as the "safe room", perhaps reinforced it a bit, and stored emergency supplies there.
Now a defense firm has come up with a cheaper solution, especially for existing homes that do not have a fortified safe room. The new systems uses 60mm steel plates that can be installed (in 5-7 days) to an existing room and provide blast protection against a large conventional warhead going off nearby. Such an explosion would blow in all the windows and wreck the interior, wounding or killing the inhabitants not inside a reinforced safe room. The new design was tested using a home in a remote area, fitted with the instant safe room and exposed to a large explosion similar to a missile warhead. The safe room and its contents were a bit shaken but otherwise unharmed. The rest of the house was wrecked. The new system costs $21,000-24,000 and is growing more popular as Iran continues to threaten to fire hundreds of ballistic missiles at Israel.