It houses over 4,500 tonnes of gold bullion and even safeguarded the original U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta during the Second World War. Needless to say, immense security measures are needed to protect such a high percentage of the world’s valuables. The gold vault, which is in fact underneath the fortress, is reinforced by a 22 tonne blast-proof door, and the code for the door is not known by a single individual. Ten people have been given a part of the code and must all be present and verified to open the door. Even if a break-in did ever occur, there are 30,000 soldiers present at the residential Army base, and they are all given the security of Fort Knox as their primary priority, meaning that the entire troop could be armed and present at the gold depository within three minutes.
ADX Florence Supermax Facility
If you have tried to break into Fort Knox, you’ll probably end up here. The ADX Florence prison is in Colorado and is home to the most prolific criminals of our time. Even the most intelligent inhabitant couldn’t break their way out, as there are no loose materials in the rooms (even the stool, desk and bed are made from poured concrete), you spend 23 hours of the day in silent isolation and the four inch window only looks out on the sky, making it impossible to determine your position within the facility. There are 1,400 steel doors all with remote controlled locking systems, and pressure pads line the floors and stairs, alerting the staff to any unauthorised movement anywhere within the building. Described as, “a cleaner version of hell”, once you’ve been admitted into the prison, there’s no chance of ever leaving.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Svalbard seed vault is a much less sinister high security facility... sort of. The seed vault holds the seeds to every discovered variety of plant on the planet, with which we could replant and sustain any survivors in the event of an apocalyptic disaster that destroyed the world’s crops. What a happy thought. The vault is built 390 feet inside of a mountain on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, a location that is covered in permafrost, has no roads leading to it and isn’t fully documented on maps sold to the general public. Spitsbergen was chosen as it has a record low level of tectonic activity and as it’s 430 feet above sea-level, meaning that it will survive even if all of the ice caps melt.
Bold Lane Car Park, Derby
How can a car park be on a par with Fort Knox I hear you ask? Well this is no ordinary car park. Bold Lane car park has 440 car spaces, each one surrounded by foam dividers to prevent scratching. The only way in is to hold a barcoded ticket, which is scanned and linked to your specific parking space. Once you have left your car, motion sensors turn on that will sound an alarm if disturbed whilst you are not present. There are emergency buttons inside the entire facility that lock down the park within 45 seconds if pressed, and the security staff can communicate with pedestrians through a PA system, allowing them to question suspicious looking occupants.
The Burlington Bunker
As the Cold War loomed, the British government decided to prepare for the worst, and built a giant bunker 100 feet below ground. With an area of 35 acres, this underground maze was meant to house all of the political greats (approximately 4000 people, including the PM) in the event of a nuclear attack. Taking over from the Cabinet War Room and Paddock in London after the end of WWII, the Burlington bunker remained a secret until the 90s, when it was declassified and left empty. To allow communication to the outside world, the bunker was fitted with a broadcasting room, a telephone exchange and switchboard. This bunker was entirely off the grid and only those with the highest security clearance were given its true location. Burlington was the British government’s best kept secret for three decades, and is shrouded with mystery and unanswered questions even today.
The Safe House
We all know what a panic room is, but what about a panic house? The Safe House, built in Warsaw, Poland, is officially the most secure private accommodation in the world. When under normal conditions, it looks like a fantastic piece of minimalist architecture, all clean lines and exposed glass walls, but when under threat, every window, door, gate and bridge (yes, this house has a bridge) closes up with enormous concrete slabs and metal shutters. When sealed, the unit is impenetrable.
Al Corbi’s House
It’s a five story, nine million dollar mansion located in the centre of the Hollywood Hills Sunset Plaza community, and it’s one of the safest houses in the world. Along with its commercial grade pizza oven, hot tub and helipad, security mogul Al Corbin built his home with not one, but two panic rooms, for the safety conscious dweller who appreciates a bit of alone time. Every window is bullet proof, every door is blast proof, and the special extra features are the two ‘safe cores’, entire areas of the house that, at the click of a button, go into an impenetrable lock down, allowing you to be safe and secure, with access to a living room, kitchen, bathroom and the direct phone line to the S.A.F.E security company (Al’s company who created the mansion).