No Power? No Problem! Methods for Home Security When the Grid is Gone

Jason Miron
By Jason Miron February 15, 2018 08:49

No Power? No Problem! Methods for Home Security When the Grid is Gone

One of the biggest concerns people have with home security is what is going to happen when the power goes down? When the grid is out what are my options? Simply put not only do you have a lot of options you probably already have most of them with your home security system. You just need to have your mind right and a plan in order so you can figure out what to do when you power is gone.

When I was in West Africa, we lost power hourly and it was a problem. However we were never defenseless or without options. The end user at home should be in no different of a situation at all. All you need is to know your options and how to better plan for them. That is all security is essentially, is learning your options and how to apply them.

So, here are a few conventional and unconventional options that you may not have considered for when the grid is gone.

Related: 5 Things You Need to Do When There’ll Be No Rule of Law

Your Dog is Your First Line of Security

Without a doubt the best first line in home defense requires no electricity. They do require attention, feeding, and water. Sometimes they like a bed to lay on or at least a house to live in to protect. I am of course talking about an animal and more specific a dog. You do not need to have a big bad looking dog, even a small lap dog can bark. You see criminals operate in a world of avoiding drawing attention to themselves. So, a dog yapping in the middle of the night is generally something they want to avoid.

Naturally, criminals are only deterred if what they want is less valuable than being caught. So, if you are trying to protect something of extreme and high value having a little dog is not going to do much to shy away a criminal. So scale your needs and the needs/wants of your family to reflect that when you get a dog. They are great companions as well and truly do serve their master as a great first line of security.

Related: 14 Dog Breeds for Preppers

A Backup Setup to a Battery Source is Essential

Your traditional home security network most likely has a backup set up to a battery source. If you do not have this ability then you need to upgrade to this ability and get it done. Even if for some reason the phone lines are down, when your alarm goes out it is LOUD and people notice loud things. Again criminals like to avoid drawing attention to themselves. So they will most likely flee in the event of an alarm. Even with the power down, an alarm going off draws lots of attention and it will be the knee jerk reaction for the criminals to believe the police will be there soon to thwart them.

Related: The Battery That Can Power Your Home Completely Off The Grid

One of my personal favorite options is to implement the use of a game camera designed for hunting. Now this of course will not deter anyone but it will aid in their capture should they do something on your property. You can find them for a fairly cheap cost and they operate on a long battery life. So you can set up a good little network of hidden cameras that will capture video and pictures of criminals caught in the act. Even when the grid is up and working these cameras are a great means to help add to a case for homeowners insurance and the police love having pictures catching criminals. So later they can show them how caught they truly are. They are easy to hide, the cameras, and they can withstand all weather conditions.

Traditional Tripwire Security Systems

Of course another option is the old fashioned tripwires. Now I am not talking about setting up an interlocking field of fire with trip wire mines to initiate an ambush. I am talking about tripwires set to trigger alarms. There is a whole host of methods out there that operate on either light or a physical wire being tripped resulting in a loud alarm going off. This of course sends most fleeing and can serve as a means to alert the authorities. Which is something else to consider. Just because there is no power does not mean the phones are gone. You still have options!

The phones work without power and most systems are hard wired to a land line. So just because the power is down, does not mean the security grid has to be down. You see phone lines work regardless of power, and can be operated by most systems even without power being available. So, you could in theory have tripwires set up, or your normal alarm system (which operates in some ways like tripwires) and once triggered the alarm can send an alert to a company who in turn informs the police of an entry. So, its possible that even without power you still have some means to get police on scene and fast.

Related: Spider Hole Tactics to Defend Against Looters

There are a lot of options and steps one can take to ensure their home is safe even if there is now power present. Natural disasters, heat waves, cold snaps, you name it…the grid goes downs sometimes but that does not mean we are without means and without resources. Plan ahead because failure to plan is planning to fail and our security plan, cannot fail. You need to make sure you have some unconventional methods in your back pocket like the game cameras and the pooch.

You also need to consider your options within the realm of more traditional methods like tripwire security systems. The idea here is to come up with a way to draw attention to your home. A clear signal that something is not right and that will send most would be criminals running. This will give you peace of mind while you sleep, are out of town or simply are away when the power is down. You have options, just plan for them!

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Jason Miron
By Jason Miron February 15, 2018 08:49
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  1. Homesteader February 15, 16:05

    When we have a power outage, nothing works. The landlines in my area are VOIP, or whatever it is called these days, and without power, the modems don’t work so the phones don’t work. So how is a system that needs power suppose to notify someone? Am I missing something here? Or did the author of the article not take into consideration that a lot of people have phones hooked to modems?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tellingitlikeitis February 21, 18:54

      Your setup isn’t a conventional landline per se. Landlines are 48 volts DC until you try to connect. Always have a rotary dial phone in your repertoire of communications. Rotary phones work on the telephones voltage even when the electric power goes down.

      Reply to this comment
    • Bryce February 25, 16:42

      I really need to get better glasses. When I first read your comment I thought it said “The LANDMINES in my area are VOIP…” LOL

      Reply to this comment
  2. Labienus February 15, 16:50

    I usually would rig a wire on the floor on the inside of the door to a string of cans with pebbles and screws in them that rests on the inside door by the door knob. Door opens, it rattles quite loudly. Then my dogs tend to bark.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Ronni February 15, 18:21

    homesteader, the land line works for 911 just keep a cheap phone plugged in (NO bill) it still works for 911

    Reply to this comment
    • cb February 15, 20:23

      911 will be useless

      Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader February 21, 21:26

      I’ll have to try to find a phone take doesn’t have to be plugged in to an outlet to work, like phones used to be. However, cb makes a valid point that 911 will be useless when the grid is down. All of their operation and information is on computers, and even with a back-up generator to run their operation, they will be limited in what they can do.

      Reply to this comment
  4. left coast chuck February 15, 19:44

    This article was a base on errors. While there is nothing basically wrong with it, there is a lot that is not there. First, if the “grid” goes “down” for anything other than some kind of act of nature, it means transformer stations have been attacked and electricity will not be flowing for some time. If the cause is a CME it means that electricity will not be flowing for some longer time. If the cause is an EMP that means electricity probably will not flow again in our lifetime. And by “some time” mentioned for the two earlier causes, I mean at least months and possibly years.

    As has been pointed out many times, the huge transformers you see behind chain link fencing at various locations around the country are all custom made for that location. They are very large and extremely heavy. They are not built in this country, thanks to tree huggers who have driven the manufacture of such items out of the country. They are manufactured in Canada and, of course, by our good friends, the Chinese. It takes several months to build ONE. Think how long it would take to build all the transformers we have in this country. See those boxes handing on the electric pole? Those are transformers. How many of them are in your town alone? Just replacing those transformers will take years. Where do you think your neighborhood lies on the priority list of places to be restored?

    I am not an electrical engineer, physicist, or any other scientist type dealing with electrical energy, but I have read a lot by folks who do claim that expertise. It is my understanding that long strands of copper wire are especially susceptible to damage from either a CME or an EMP. So there is a chance that your land line might not work too. Even if it does, with an overwhelming event such as I am discussing here, the police will not respond to individuals who are being invaded. They will be protecting major municipal buildings and public works and major shopping centers. Assuming that the power failure is as a result of a natural phenomenon, ask yourself how long it takes the cops on average to respond now. Ten minutes” Twenty minutes? Now assume a huge blizzard and the roads are clogged with spun out vehicles and snow drifts. How long do you think the response time will be? Assume a flood and the roads are awash with flood waters. What do you think the response time will be?

    My position is that in any kind of catastrophic event, even natural ones, for some period of time law enforcement response will be non-existent. Therefore, even if your burglar alarm is still hooked up and working the cops won’t be arriving. Even if your outside alarm is ringing loud enough to be heard on the next block over the cops won’t be coming.

    This article could have gone on in more detail about home grown ways to create a barrier to alert you to intruders. But it didn’t. A dog is great and the devices the author did mention are fine but there is a lot more that can be done and a meaningful article would have gone into some of those methods.

    Reply to this comment
    • Auckland Escapee February 15, 20:13

      Hi Chuck, an audible alarm screaming loud enough to be heard on the next block, will bring the police in many countries, they will come and charge the alarm owner with excessive noise and disturbing the peace. How times have changed.

      Reply to this comment
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