Fire and "bandit" Escape Door.... Through the Wall!

Introduction: Fire and "bandit" Escape Door.... Through the Wall!

About: Jungles my home _ College now my life _ Mechanical Engineer to be _ An adventurer at heart

Howdy!  Do you like secret little trap doors?  Do you want an idea of a way to make a quick exit from your house? Do you like passing through walls?  If you answered "yes" to any of those questions you're in the right place... read on.  

So, WHY do I have a trap door going through the side of our house?
January of 2008 a gang of gunmen entered a village and ruthlessly killed eleven persons including women and children.  Several days later we got a call saying that the same gang of men was spotted right down the road from us hiding out in the jungle.  It turned out that it was just a rumor that they were right down the street from us, but they were in our area.  They never came into our village, but did ruthlessly kill and burn several others in the surrounding areas of our village - loggers and miners.  Most of them were eventually killed or captured, but that incident caused my family to think more about escape plans.   :)  Usually our town is a peaceful town surrounded by jungle, but in case of an incident such as the gunmen or "bandits" as we call them,  we needed a quick exit.  Now, the door in my opinion is rather pathetic when it comes to a small army of AK - 47 yielding bad guys, but even more pathetic is standing our ground with only machetes, sling shots, and such - not much when you consider a AK - 47.  So that combined with the thought of fires is the reason why we have a trap door going through the side of our house.

The layout of our house is kind of bad for quick escapes.  All the windows have bars except the real high ones so that stops simply jumping out of the window.  If the doors would be blocked in the case of a fire or "bandits", it would be hard to get out.  It so happens that the upstairs bathroom of our house is one of the most secure parts of our house and also is backed by a first story roof.  That is where my dad decided to cut a door through the wall. 

For folks in more "civilized countries" this instructables is kinda useless except for the inspiration and idea stand point.  For me though, that is what instructables is about- sharing ideas.  I rarely duplicate a project - just gain an idea from it.  That is what this is.

Let me just say that this isn't something many people will be able to do as easily as we did.  Our house is rather simple.  The walls are only one layer of wood nailed on to the wall studs - simple yet efficient in a tropical third world country.  We also had a roof right of the back of the chosen room which is perfect for this.  It doesn't look the prettiest, but it works - especially in a third world country. It was constructed rather hastily and simply.  

This door isn't very secretive considering many hidden doors, but generally people aren't looking out for unusual little doors - especially here -, and in the cover of darkness it would be hard to spot. 

Enough talking, let me get to how this thing was made. 

Step 1: A Few Tools and Suplies....

We didn't need much to make a trap door through our wall because we have such a simple house. 

All we needed tool wise was:
1. - Skill saw or a sawzall would work great.
2. - Basics - hammer, square, tape measure, pencil, ect.
but depending on what kind of wall structure you have, you may need other tools. 

Some other things we used were:
1. - Two dead bolt latches and a handle
2. - Two hinges
3. - Wood screws

For wood we used:
1. - About a ten foot piece of 1x2
2. - About a five foot piece of 1x3

Pretty basic, huh?

Step 2: Tear a Hole Through the Wall....

Our house is simple in the sense that the walls are only composed of lap edge wood nailed into the wall studs.  That is it.  No thick brick wall with insulation and sheet rock like back in the States. 

Basically, all we did was draw two vertical lines on the outside wall, making sure they were between two studs but right next to one stud, and sawed down that line.  A circular saw was used, but a sawzall would work better probably.   You can see how it was cut in the picture.  
It is best to keep all the pieces of lap edge wood sawed out in the right order so that when put back together everything will fit just right.   

Step 3: Build a Little Door....

The door was easy....
We screwed all the pieces sawed out of the wall together with two pieces of appropriate lengths of 1x3.   Two pieces were also screwed horizontally across the door to provide places to screw the dead bolts and hinges into.  You can see clearly by the picture what I mean.  It is simple.  My dad was in a hurry.  :)

Step 4: Frame the Door Way....

Two pieces of 1x3 were screwed into the walls at the side and bottom of the door way.  You can see what I mean in the picture. 

Step 5: Finish It Up!

Basically, the door was just screwed to the door frame using two hinges.  The two dead bolts were screwed on to secure the door and a handle was added to aid in opening it since we put a bead of silicon caulking in the cracks of the door on the outside.

That is basically it.  :) 

Step 6: Finished!

As you can see, this door was very simple to construct - simple yet efficient.  Even though it looks a little ugly, it works just as it is supposed to.  It makes a great little escape door for multiple situations.  Thankfully we have never used it for an emergency, but if we need to, it is there.  

Thanks for looking at this instructables.  If you have any comments, questions, or criticism feel free to leave a comment.  I know this was a terribly simple and not too amazing instructables, but I hope you still enjoyed it.  :)

Until I appear again,

Organization Contest

Participated in the
Organization Contest

Secret Doors and Compartments Contest

Participated in the
Secret Doors and Compartments Contest

Be the First to Share


    • For the Home Contest

      For the Home Contest
    • Make It Bridge

      Make It Bridge
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge



    9 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks for sharing this. It is always good to see how a solution is tailored to a specific environment.

    Perhaps it might be helpful to consider a concealed rope ladder somewhere on the roof, to get down safely and quietly as well. Also some natural concealment to allow someone to get away from the house without being easily seen.

    There are some interesting things written out there on the internet about using landscaping (earthworks, bushes, esp. thorny) to natural "channel" routes of approach to a house. So an approaching group would tend to subconsciously approach in a more likely predictable way, and you would still have a route of egress away.

    Here's an example I found very thought-provoking:

    The original discussion was here (a good forum with many thoughtful discussions of preparedness):

    Hope you and your family are safe and well,



    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Let me add:

    The above PDF contains some thinking and planning that also involves engaging these attackers. This might be not an option due to practical, legal, or other concerns (e.g. you mentioned having really only machetes and slingshots). However, there is some thinking in the PDF and forum discussion about how landscape elements can shelter people and channel movement.