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Photo by: IDF Spokesperson's Office
New line of steel furniture doubles as bomb shelters
By YAAKOV KATZ
08/05/2012
Steel-enforced secure furniture will allow people to huddle in safety during rocket attacks.
 
Some houses offer a bomb shelter in the basement while others are built with fortified secure rooms. But soon, homeowners with neither will be able to seek safety in their beds or closets.

Part of a new line of protective furniture made of steel, these out-of-the-ordinary closets or beds can withstand shrapnel and proximity explosions.

The IDF Home Front Command recently conducted a series of explosive tests to simulate the effect of a Scud missile explosion on various protective materials, or different types of concrete, windows and furniture.

During the series of tests – held on a military base in southern Israel – the HFC checked the quality of the specially-designed closets and beds, in which people can hide if an air siren sounds warning of an incoming missile attack.

“25 percent of Israeli homes do not have adequate protection - neither a bomb shelter or a protective room,” a senior Home Front Command officer explained. “This furniture could be the solution for these people.”

One of the tests involved a bed which springs from the back and folds shut, allowing enough space for a few people to seek shelter. Another product is a closet made of steel, which people can sit inside.

“These products are made of steel and are not penetrated by shrapnel, protecting the people inside from injuries," the officer said.

All homes built since 1991 are required to be constructed with a secure room but many still lack one today.

The HFC’s requirements are based on the assessment that the secure rooms will withstand potential damage from a proximity attack but not a direct hit – which would likely destroy the secure room and its furniture.

According to the officer, the protective furniture will cost around NIS 20,000, a sharp discount in comparison to the estimated NIS 100,000 construction of a protective room.

The HFC is also moving forward with a program aimed at reinforcing stairwells in apartment buildings that do not have or cannot build bomb shelters.

Under that program, the HFC serves as a consultant for owners of apartment buildings that are interested in strengthening their stairwells.

The staircase is an ideal place to seek shelter in the event of a rocket attack and in absence of a proper bomb shelter.

According to HFC recommendations, one of the first steps that should be taken is to replace the entrance to the roof with a steel trapdoor. In addition, all doors acting as the main entrance to an apartment should be replaced with heavyset doors like the Israeli Pladelet, which includes multiple bolts, and will likely stay in place even if there is a blast in the apartment. Another option is to replace windows in the stairwell with fiberglass.
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