Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
When preparing for SHTF scenarios, we gather gear, supplies, make detailed emergency plans, train, obtain knowledge, and learn skills that will be useful during such a time. However, an area that is easy to overlook is your home and how well prepared it is to protect and defend you and your loved ones.
Numerous reasons can cause the S to HTF and when it does, it is a safe assumption that people will hunker down in their homes for safety. Recently, due to the pandemic, many people got a glimpse of what that would look and feel like.
Generally, our homes are where we feel the most comfortable and safest. Unfortunately, and ironically, many homes are nowhere near as safe as they could be. During normal times, that little button lock on your front door may be enough to deter a would-be invader, but when the SHTF there will be an increase in lawlessness as resources are spread thin and people become desperate.
It won’t matter if you have six months of food, water, and medical supplies to ride out a storm if you can’t defend it. That is why the purpose of today’s article is to recommend eight easy things that you can do to better defend your home when the SHTF and before.
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1. Clean Up the Outside of Your Home
I cannot tell you how many homes I have been to or just driven by, where I can see all sorts of stuff left outside that could be used to an invader’s advantage. Gardening tools, hand tools, rope, even ladders leaned up against the home or fence.
A fence is a pretty good defense for keeping people out, but not if there is a ladder leaned up against it. Walk around outside and pick up anything that can be used as a weapon or to gain access to your home. If you are going to keep these items in an outside shed, be sure that the shed is secured with a padlock and not some simple slide latch.
2. Install Outside Lights and Cameras
The name of the game for robbers is to not be seen or to be caught, which is why they like to stay in the shadows and under the radar. Installing outside lights and cameras is a tactic that you can use to deter people from coming onto your property.
Motion lights are a great option because they only require a little bit of movement in front of them to be activated. Although they can be a bit annoying because almost anything can set them off.
Cameras are cheaper nowadays, which makes them an affordable option and they are easy to install. However, if you don’t want to go through all of that, dummy cameras could be installed instead. These cameras don’t operate or record anything at all, but to an outsider, they look like the real deal.
3. Change Door Hardware
The hardware that is used on most home doors, is just strong enough to hold everything together. It is not meant to withstand an individual trying to kick or pry their way in.
Replace all the screws in the hinge plates and strike plates with longer quality screws. Swapping out shorter screws for longer ones has been shown to increase the amount of time it takes for someone to break down a door.
Also, those little security sliding chains you see on hotel doors are worthless. If you have one of these on your door, get rid of it and install a quality deadbolt.
4. Secure Windows
Windows are another weak point of a home because they are easily broken into. There are a few options for reinforcing these areas. You can replace the windows with ones that have safety glass, which is much more difficult to break.
A cheaper route is to apply a specialty film to the glass that is designed to hold the glass together rather than shatter in case it breaks.
If you have windows that slide up and down or side to side, a cheap fix is to cut a small piece of wood, like a wooden dowel, and place it in between the window frame and the moving pane. Cut the wood so that it is as tight of a fit as possible. With the piece of wood in place, the window cannot be opened.
For windows that are on the second story, try to eliminate any structure around that window that could be used to climb on, such as tree branches.
Also, don’t forget about basement windows which can be extremely easy to access given their location. Consider installing interior locks, bars, or covering them up completely. Completely boarding up windows is one of the best options for increasing their defensive position because they will be harder to break and impossible to see through.
At a minimum, every single window in your home should have solid curtains on them so that outsiders cannot see inside.
5. Use Natural Obstacles
People spend a lot of money on making their property look nice by removing or fixing things that are deemed eyesores. For example, many people don’t want thorny vegetation growing on their land because it is frustrating to deal with, but this stuff is like a natural barb wire that no one wants to walk through.
Take a look at your property and think through the defensive applications of natural objects or vegetation before removing or altering them.
6. Set Up Barricades
There is a lot of empty space inside of walls and with the addition of windows, a house is quite susceptible to gunfire and other projectiles. While it’s possible to bulletproof your entire home, you should at least have a few areas that are reinforced with sandbags and other dense materials will provide increased protection should a projectile make its way into the home.
7. Get a Dog
A dog is not only a great companion, but an early warning system, a deterrent from afar, and a force to be reckoned with when a member of their pack is threatened. Especially if you get one of these dog breeds.
Some robbers do not want anything to do with dogs. Seeing one or hearing a dog barking can be enough to make them think twice about trespassing onto your property. Of course, some people do not care if you have a dog or not because a lot of dogs are not properly trained.
If you want your dog to take on an effective protector role in your home, it would be a great idea to enroll them in a course that specifically focuses on those methods and practices. Of course, this is something that needs to be done before the SHTF and everyone in the home will need to be on board with the training.
8. Low Tech Alarms
Earlier I mentioned that robbers avoid being seen. Low tech alarm systems that alert you when a potential intruder is nearby can be easily and cheaply installed. These can be installed in the home, but they work best outdoors, especially if you have some land. Here are two popular options that anyone can set up.
The first option is to create a noisy tripwire. This entails stringing up a piece of cordage horizontally, about one foot above the ground. Aluminum cans, glass bottles, and other noisy materials are suspended from the mainline. When a person activates the tripwire, it will pull on the mainline, causing the objects to swing around and clang into one another.
The second option involves a mousetrap, a blank ammunition cartridge or shell, and a tripwire. All this is set up so that when the tripwire is triggered, it activates the mousetrap which snaps down onto the primer and the blank ammunition is set off. By using a blank, no one will be hurt by the discharged cartridge, but a very loud sound will be produced.
I wanted to end this article with a friendly safety reminder. Some of the things that you can do to better fortify your home can also pose a risk to you and those that live with you. For example, boarding up windows and doors is effective at keeping people out, but it also blocks paths of egress to people that are inside. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a hammer, screwdriver, and pry bar handy in case the barrier needs to be taken down quickly.
This line of thinking applies to all other defenses that are in place, and everyone in the home needs to be aware of all defensive placements as well as how to counteract them.
Your home needs to be just as ready as the rest of your preparations if you are to get through SHTF. I hope that the recommendations in this article will help you to do so. Lastly, if a person is determined to get inside of a home, then they will. Please take the appropriate steps to be able to defend yourself and your family should that happen.
Be sure to leave any thoughts or questions in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and stay prepared!
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