Corporate safe rooms - fortified environments that act as a protective refuge in the event of a home invasion or other threat - are an increasing necessity for people and organizations of all interests. And, while films and television programs continue to mythologize safe rooms as an indulgence for the super rich or eccentric, actual events tell a different story: safe rooms are an integral part of corporate structures and residences worldwide, an otherwise well kept secret that immediately captures the public's imagination. 

Safe rooms are often the key factor between life and death. Indeed, safe rooms for homeowners are the result of the more common (though less popularized) reality that is life in a global corporation -- because a company without a safe room is an invitation for violence, terror, ransom and destruction. In most cases, safe rooms are part of an architect's plans - and a crucial element for security experts - when consulting with owners during the critical stages of construction. Throughout this process, one principle is sacred: a safe room is a haven, a place where individuals, families or executives can protect themselves from violence while the authorities answer a call for help.

For not only are executives vulnerable to attack - imagine the very real possibility of a CEO kidnapped, beaten or killed by extremists - the lack of a corporate safe room is, according to global security experts, a huge liability: the capture or murder of a company's executives would emotionally and financially devastate shareholders, expose insurers to potentially big payouts and leave other businesses in a state of constant worry. Simply said, no executive is truly safe without a safe room.

Also, corporations do not publicize the existence of safe rooms for obvious reasons: first, executives and their security detail have no desire to broadcast to the enemy (yes, the enemy) the fact these things exist; and secondly, from a purely psychological standpoint, there is no reason to frighten employees and disrupt their day-to-day operations. And yet, events like 9/11 remind us of the global security dangers that confront us. In fact, counterterrorism experts repeatedly warn companies that extremist groups seek opportunities to seize executives. For example: picture an otherwise sedate corporate campus – a multi-acre software company in Silicon Valley or Washington State, the very model of a relaxed work environment, led by a young billionaire and his team of engineers. That same campus - that seemingly calm destination where programmers can play volleyball during their lunch break, and the CEO parks his car in an ordinary space – definitely contains a highly sophisticated safe room. The real question is not whether the executive has a safe room; the more intriguing question is, What does a corporate safe room look like? What is inside the ultimate safe-space?

More sophisticated safe rooms, like the kind built for celebrities or executives (and there is some overlap concerning the essential features in a safe room for a home versus a corporate building), include: doors, walls, floors and ceilings reinforced with bullet and bomb blast resistant materials, wireless communications, coatings to prevent eavesdropping, surveillance cameras, survival items (first-aid kits, water, packaged food, self-defense tools, backup generator, and even a kitchen and bathroom) as well as a secure air supply in the event of biological or chemical attack. These safe rooms are no longer luxuries; rather, safe rooms protect lives, and are part of any reasonable company's playbook — and without a corporate safe room to protect executives from this onslaught, the terrorists and extremists win. Period.

Additionally, corporate safe rooms have economic benefits for building owners and tenants. These financial advantages are important in an economy where commercial real estate is in a massive slump. According to James Huang of BRC Advisors, a commercial real estate broker and investor, safe rooms can make a building more valuable and attract a more diverse array of tenants. “I represent clients with a lot of international exposure, companies that have satellite offices in cities throughout the United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Some of these companies handle sensitive information, while also fielding protests from extremists in countries where security is, frankly, a daily problem. I also know that I could more easily rent a building to a large corporation should that property contain a safe room. For many clients a safe room is a priority, a non-negotiable part of a building purchase and/or signing a lease.”

A corporate safe room is an example of common sense and basic intelligence, a way to protect a brand's most valuable assets: its executives. Failure to build a safe room is almost a form of negligence, willful blindness in a dangerous world of criminals and terrorists. The good news is that a safe room – the propriety kind designed by global security experts who recognize the enormity of this issue – can help guard against outside threats. As a haven from the unexpected and unforeseen, a corporate safe room is the best investment executives can make.