Your home is your fortress, and it is your first and most important line of defense against someone who intends to do you harm.
In the current world, locked doors and perhaps a home security system is more than enough to deter most burglars. However, disaster breeds desperation, and once the SHTF, many people will suddenly be willing to work a lot harder to enter a home if they think there is anything worth stealing inside.
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Before disaster strikes, it’s important to have a plan in place for how to fortify your home in order to protect against burglars and looters. In this article, we’ll look at nine things that you can do to fortify your home before all hell breaks loose.
1. Reinforce Your Doors
Points of entry are obviously the weakest links in a home’s security and therefore must be thoroughly fortified. The unfortunate reality is that a single knob lock is not enough to deter a determined intruder for more than a couple of minutes. A strike or two to the doorknob with a hammer is all it takes to render this type of lock useless. Knob locks can also easily and quietly be picked using something as simple as a knife.
To ensure that your doors are secure, you will want to equip them with deadbolts, reinforce the hinges with longer screws, reinforce the jamb with longer screws, and reinforce the strike plate with longer screws.
Here is some more information on how to fortify a door.
2. Reinforce Your Windows
Windows may not be designed to be a point of entry, but they are arguably an even weaker link in your home’s security than your doors since windows can easily be broken.
One solution for fortifying the windows in your home is to install metal security bars. If you’re worried about making your home look like a prison, you’ll be happy to know that many window security bars come in decorative designs that won’t ruin the aesthetics of your home.
Another option is to cover your windows with security film. This transparent film prevents windows from shattering when they are struck. Keep in mind that glass doors present the same security issues as windows and must also be reinforced in the same manner if you really want to fortify your home.
3. Install An Alarm System
In many instances, the sound of an alarm going off is enough to scare away would-be intruders. In an SHTF scenario, though, the sound of an alarm by itself is probably not going to be enough of a deterrent.
With that said, alarm systems serve a second, even more critical function – alerting the occupants of the home when someone tries to break in.
Many people mistakenly assume that they will be able to hear an intruder breaking in even if they are sound asleep. While this might be true in some instances such as an intruder trying to kick down your front door, there are many instances where intruders are able to break in without making much noise at all. If you are even somewhat of a sound sleeper, the problem is even more exaggerated.
With an alarm system installed, you can ensure that any break-in attempt will be met with piercing noise that alerts everyone in the house. This can provide you with the precious seconds you need to arm yourself and address the threat.
4. Block Off Your Chimney
Few people ever consider their chimney as they plan to fortify their home. However, if an intruder is desperate enough, entering a home via the chimney isn’t out of the question. It’s no doubt a risky and somewhat tricky maneuver, but shimmying down a chimney is possible if the chimney is large enough and the intruder is small enough. To prevent this from happening, you may want to consider blocking off your chimney.
There are several different products on the market designed to close off the top of a chimney, many of which are able to secure the chimney while still allowing smoke to escape.
5. Secure Your Garage Door
In most cases, intruders won’t be able to access your home through your garage since they have to get through both the garage door and the door into the house. With that said, it is still essential to secure your garage if you plan on storing any supplies or valuable items in it. Even if you leave your garage empty, securing your garage door still provides an extra layer of defense for your home.
There a number of products you can purchase to fortify your garage door and make it impossible to force open from the outside. These products include things such as lock kits, door stops, and fortification bars that you can attach to your garage door.
For more information on how to effectively secure a garage door, check out this article.
6. Plant Deterring Plants Underneath Your Windows
Windows may be the weakest point in a home from a security standpoint, but they do take some effort to enter. Suffice it to say that it isn’t all that easy to break a window, hoist yourself up onto the ledge, and climb inside when there is a cactus or a thorny rose bush planted beneath the window.
This method of fortifying your windows certainly isn’t fool-proof and should be combined with window security measures such as bars or security film. However, planting things such as cacti or other thorny plants underneath your windows can make life that much more difficult for an intruder who plans to enter your home through a window.
Check out this list of plants for home security.
7. Put a Fence Around Your Property
Putting a fence around your property provides you with an outer layer of defense that an intruder must conquer before he is ever able to reach your home. Most privacy fences are relatively easy to scale, though, so you will need to be selective about the type of fence that you choose.
There are several different qualities that a good security fence should exhibit. First and most importantly, a good security fence needs to be difficult to climb. This means you will want to choose a fence that is at least eight feet tall, has few if any horizontal rails, and is spiked or pointed at the top.
A good security fence also needs to be difficult to bypass. This means securing your fence to the ground with concrete and equipping it with a padlocked gate.
Lastly, you will want to choose a fence that you are able to see through in order to prevent intruders from being able to hide behind it.
There are a number of metal security fences that fit all of these qualifications while still being decorative enough to not stand out in an urban neighborhood.
8. Fortify Your Walls
Very few break-ins involve busting through the wall of a home. However, if someone decides to open fire on your home, drywall and wooden studs are not going to do much to stop bullets from shredding through your walls.
The bad news is that the only way to really fortify your walls is to have walls that are made of stone or brick on the outside. If you live in a stone or brick house already, you don’t have to worry too much about your walls being a weak point. If you don’t have stone or brick walls, though, you’ll need to have a plan in place in the event that someone decides to open fire on your house.
9. Keep Firearms Accessible
In many cases, the best defense is a good offense. While all of the tips discussed in the previous sections will make it very difficult for an intruder to enter your home, there is no way to make an ordinary house impossible to break into unless you have an enormous amount of money to spend and don’t mind your home looking like a prison.
Fortifying your home may be enough to convince most intruders to try for an easier target, but it isn’t going to stop someone who is hell-bent on entering your home. Given the right tools and enough time, a determined intruder will eventually be able to break into your home no matter how well fortified it might be.
When and if this happens, you will either have to hide away or meet the threat head-on. In both cases, it is essential that you are armed. Hiding away in a locked bathroom in the hopes that the intruder will simply steal all of your stuff and leave is both a risky gamble and a good way to lose everything you own.
Even if you do decide to hide once an intruder enters your home, you’ll still want to have a firearm on you in case they enter your hiding place. Of course, trying to confront an intruder without a firearm is an even more deadly risk.
Once you have fortified your home, make sure that you keep at least one firearm that is loaded and easily accessible. It may be your last line of defense, but a firearm is also the only defense capable of stopping an intruder who is willing to do whatever it takes to get inside your home. Here’s our list of the best guns for home defense.
As I said, if a criminal is determined enough, he will find a way into your home. However, there are other things you can do to make it more difficult for him. For example, you could get a dog (or dogs), a decoy safe so your most valuable things don’t get stolen, or you could build a safe room so you can at least keep your family from harm.
Here are some more home security tips for life after SHTF.
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