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Hamptons Life

Jan 5, 2015 11:23 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

'Safe Room' Packages Developing For South Fork Clients

Jan 5, 2015 11:23 AM

In the case of an emergency, one solution might be to get a room.

That would be a safe room—typically one invulnerable to disaster or attack, with walls made of concrete, polymer or another material that is waterproof and more damage-resistant than wood. Safe rooms are designed to provide comfort and security when severe storms hit or when a man-made disaster strikes.

For the last four years, a team at Survivability Services International in Bridgehampton has been developing a safe room package for South Fork residents that includes not only construction of the room, but training in how to use it properly. The company also offers continued protection, support and maintenance after the safe room is installed.

Frank Dalene, one of the company’s co-founders and president of the Telemark construction company, said geography plays a part in local demand. “We thought about the East End here, with 1,500 miles of coastline. With increasing ocean temperatures, you have storms of greater magnitude,” Mr. Dalene said. “This whole idea actually began being formulated two years before Sandy hit. So, when Sandy hit, it all of the sudden became relevant.”

Designed by architects, safe rooms can either be attached to a home, above-ground, or integrated into a basement. Mr. Dalene’s clients can choose from generic, prefabricated models or take part in the design process and help customize a room to fit their needs. Matt Kochanasz, another co-founder of Survivability Services, said that interested parties first receive a risk assessment from the company in which they identify exactly why they want a safe room before moving on to the building process.

Southampton-based architect John David Rose has already designed a handful of safe rooms in this area, he said. Many of his clients use the rooms to store valuables, but Mr. Rose agreed with Mr. Dalene that homeowners have different reasons for wanting such a structure in their homes, if they want one at all.

“It’s more about, does the client feel they need it,” Mr. Rose said. “A lot of clients don’t give it much thought. We’re out in the Hamptons, and a lot of times that’s one of the last things on their mind.”

Mr. Dalene and Mr. Kochanasz said safe rooms not only protect individuals during hazardous weather situations like blizzards or hurricanes, but also can provide a comforting, temporary environment in the case of a mass shooting or an attack. Safe rooms can be designed to look exactly like a living room, complete with electricity, bathroom facilities and a satellite feed for television. The only difference is that, because the room has no windows, an air scrubber needs to be installed to ensure clean air in the room.

“If you’re home in your own familiar environment, you’re prepared to deal with things much better without risk,” Mr. Kochanasz said. “This is not a long-term safe room where you’d be in there for six months to a year,” he said of the rooms his company provides, which can be incorporated into a new or existing house. “But at least you’re within your own home.”

The protection does come at a price: A safe room package that Survivability Services International plans to put on the market soon—the company is in talks with a few potential clients, Mr. Dalene said—could cost as much as a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

“With a wealthy clientele here, they may want to be the first ones to be rescued, and they can afford it, and that’s the service that we provide,” Mr. Kochanasz said, explaining that protection is key. “Our goal is to have their life the least amount affected. There is no other company in the U.S. that’s doing what we’re doing. That’s the training part, the construction of the safe rooms, and the protection part.”

Survivability Services International’s sole mission is to provide residents with all the tools needed to increase survivability in the case of a disaster. It also has a store tucked away on Maple Lane in Bridgehampton, that sells items such as medical kits, flashlights and batteries, goggles, industrial coolers, tactical clothing and armor in addition to shotguns and rifles.

“With the increase of threats that we hear about all the time, the concern is greater and greater every day,” Mr. Dalene said. “Whatever it is that’s going to affect us out here, we have to be prepared to deal with it, temporarily.”

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the only threat we have here is flooding from a major storm. In which case I certainly wouldn't want an underground room. Also pretty sure the people that are paying a couple hundred thousand dollars for one of these are the same people that aren't hanging around this area when there is threat of flooding. Are you even allowed to build a room people can stay in without egress? Didn't think the building dept. liked that. Good luck praying upon peoples fear to sell these.
By SHResident (49), Southampton on Jan 5, 15 2:37 PM
As they say in real estate in The Hamptons --

"Location Location Location"

1. There are few safe locations on the East End for extreme flooding, the worst of which is yet to come.

2. There is none within say 50 miles of a major center of population. NYC region has 25 million residents who can walk if necessary to The Hamptons and lift a safe house out of the ground. What threats might exceed the design parameters, outside of which is the "unsafe" zone of wasted money?

3. ...more
By Nero (262), Sag Harbor on Jan 5, 15 4:22 PM
PS or in Heaven . . .
By Nero (262), Sag Harbor on Jan 5, 15 4:25 PM
I think the more interesting aspect is the fact that there is a gun shop in the hamptons after years of summer residents fighting to have them removed from places like K-Mart and such... this place opened up very quietly in a area that is not pro-gun.

the safe room idea seems even scarier when you consider the clientele they are "targeting" what exactly are these people afraid of? They already did a pretty good job of killing off the ability for year round young people to survive.... how ...more
By SDRivers (14), Bridgehampton on Jan 5, 15 5:15 PM
SDRivers, how is providing a service that will provide local jobs to the people doing the construction, hostile to the community. If people want to spend their money on a safe room, let them.
By dnice (2340), Hampton Bays on Jan 5, 15 5:53 PM
2 members liked this comment
What are you scared of SD preparedness ???

Or admitting a Ferguson scenario is plausible
By 27dan (2494), Shinnecock Hills on Jan 5, 15 8:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
To me its a basic sign of a mistrust of the community a person is living in that they cannot trust the police or the people who live around them to provide a safe community. It may give local people work, but to what end if the result is a devaluation of community trust and development.
By SDRivers (14), Bridgehampton on Jan 6, 15 12:14 PM
admitting a Ferguson scenario is plausible is equal to saying the value and trust in a community has been broken, which was the thesis of my original comment. We don't have a community out here anymore as much as very wealthy people who have no (apparently) taken to building safe rooms because they distrust the saftey and security of the place in which they live.
By SDRivers (14), Bridgehampton on Jan 6, 15 12:16 PM
Sorry but it is getting scary out there my friend (see below), Better your family safe then sorry and I was raised to take care of friends, family and neighbors in a crisis and not depend on the government to bail you out.

Civil rights activists entered several restaurants in New York City and Oakland, Calif., on Sunday in what organizers billed as “Black Brunch.”

Dozens of people participated in demonstrations in New York, where they momentarily “disrupted” ...more
By 27dan (2494), Shinnecock Hills on Jan 6, 15 1:05 PM
Nothing wrong with being prepared, some people just have the means to take it to another level. Jealous?
By Preliator Lives (312), Obamavillie on Jan 7, 15 3:24 PM
You are wrong SDRivers. A basic sign of mistrust? Are you so naive? If any catastrophe were to hit, there is nothing more dangerous than a desperate human being. Did you not see the panic and lack of compassion on the gas lines post Sandy? As far as preparing goes, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Your trust in the state to protect you is misguided.
By dnice (2340), Hampton Bays on Jan 8, 15 1:05 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SDRivers (14), Bridgehampton on Jan 10, 15 3:46 PM
Yes, that is my example as it is a recent example of panic and disorder and it wasn't even that dire of a situation. You are either naive or just a sheep by nature. If the SHTF, you think your neighbors are going to come to your rescue? Sure they might help temporarily, but if things get serious, or people get hungry, you are wrong to put so much faith into them. What is the average police response time under normal conditions? Care to speculate what it might be during worse times? Don't worry, ...more
By dnice (2340), Hampton Bays on Jan 10, 15 9:39 PM
Safe rooms are a common thing in LA. It's a trending thing.

Masked marauders supposedly enter the house and ask everyone to cough up their bling. You run to the safe room and make dinner reservations after calling the PD.


Big waste of money is right. Some people trust in their possessions more than they do anything else in this world. Thankfully they're making our local economy go round.

Good on you Mr. Darlene for seeing an opportunity!! 100k for a room with locks ...more
By Harbor Master (103), Sag Harbor on Jan 5, 15 7:17 PM
3 members liked this comment
Someone has seen The Purge movies and Walking Dead a little too much! LOL
By LovedHerTown (129), southampton on Jan 6, 15 12:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
I have been through many hurricanes big and small. They are nothing to take lightly. The safest place to be is in an evacuation area. Houses cannot stand up to the wind and are not able to protect anyone from the storm surge. Evacuate out of the area. If you survive and when you get out of your safe room, the house will be gone. You still need food shelter and water. Very limited in the community and in a shelter after a storm. If you can afford a safe room, go to CT or somewhere in a nice ...more
By Baymen87 (120), Lugoff, SC on Jan 7, 15 1:36 PM
Why does anyone care what someone does on their property with their money. You guys sound like a bunch of haters. If someone feels safer with one of these safe rooms God bless them.
By chief1 (2549), southampton on Jan 7, 15 2:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
By all means if they want to spend the money for it its their decision. Just dont expect to be able to demand the first responders to take care of you since you didn't evacuate to a safe area with services like water and electricity.
By Baymen87 (120), Lugoff, SC on Jan 8, 15 8:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
Nobody is staying in one of these rooms if we have a hurricane. The room is designed if we have a terrorist attack or one of these wealthy families has a home invasion they can hopefully hide until law enforcement shows up. You read more, and more of home invasions on Long Island. I'm sure the home invaders are looking for wealthy people so they want to protect themselves.
This board is green with envy!!
By chief1 (2549), southampton on Jan 8, 15 9:58 AM
and what sort of terrorist attack would happen out here? I'f there was a nuclear attack or anything in the air from the city you would still be dead, just dead in a safe room...

what exactly are you (the owners of one of these safe rooms) defending yourself from besides the community at large?
By SDRivers (14), Bridgehampton on Jan 8, 15 11:58 AM
How about a extremist radical Islamic group detentes a dirty bomb in Manhattan, think about the crazies coming east for food and shelter, better be ready cause you think Ferguson was bad you have know idea how real it would get and how fast.

Stock up on food, water and bullets while you can. better safe than sorry
By 27dan (2494), Shinnecock Hills on Jan 8, 15 12:54 PM
Perhaps the 1%'rs are just getting a little nervous that they've taken a bit to much and their worried about the bottom 90% coming for them? Google "Nick Hanauer". After all, just because your paranoid it doesn't mean there isn't someone out to get you. Just saying.....
By bird (735), Southampton on Jan 12, 15 4:32 PM
1 member liked this comment