Your home is your castle, but it should also be a fortress, especially when times get tough. If society collapses and you are bugging in, either because you chose to or because for whatever reason you couldn’t make it out of the city to your bug-out location, you need to ensure that your home and your family stay safe.
Naturally, if there is a collapse of society, whether it is financial collapse, natural disaster, pandemic, EMP, or something else, things are going to get bad. However, the good news is there are things you can do to prepare your home so it is more defensible should looters or desperate people come knocking.
The very first thing you absolutely must know about defending your home, the number one rule of prepping itself, is to never ever tell anyone you are prepared. No one should ever know you have food, water, and supplies stocked up. I know it’s hard not to brag, but once people know this, yours will be the first door they knock on. You will have extended family members, neighbors, parents of your kids’ friends, and numerous other people knocking on your door and asking for handouts. Simply put, if they don’t know you have it, they won’t ask for it and they won’t go looking for it. If you want to help someone you can choose who you want to help.
Appearances are everything.
You will want to be sure to look as desperate as everyone else. Blend in. Go outside each day like everyone else and talk about how bad things are.
Ask people if they know where to get food or what the government is doing to help. You don’t really care about these things, but if everyone around thinks you care, then you will seem as concerned and desperate as they are and they won’t be wondering why you aren’t looking for help when everyone else is.
Aside from this, you will still need to prepare your home to withstand assaults. Remember, the important thing is to keep people from gaining entry to your home, because once they are inside, you have most likely already lost. Fortunately, there are many things you can do inside and outside of your home to ensure your home is as defensible as possible.
Exterior Home Defense
Let’s start with making the outside of your home more defensible, because if you do your job right here, there is less of a chance your inside defenses will even be tested. When it comes to the outside of your property you want to accomplish a number of things:
- Ensure your property is highly visible
- Deter people from entering your property
- Direct people who are on your property
- Create areas cover for yourself
There are a couple of critical ways to improve the visibility on your property. The first of these is to install solar-powered motion-sensor lighting around your property. This will ensure that if anything is out there, they will trip the sensor and it will be very difficult for them to sneak up on you.
The second thing you should do is remove as much ground cover as possible within a radius of 100 meters (110 yd) around your house. In other words, remove bushes and any other ground cover in which someone could easily hide.
The best way to protect your home is by keeping people from entering your property in the first place. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to erect barriers to keep people out. These barriers can include fencing, a rock wall, ponds, dense brush, and ponds all around the perimeter of your property. If people can’t see your house well or it’s difficult to get into your yard, they are less likely to bother.
There are other deterrents you can use. First and foremost is a guard dog, but be sure to put up a sign so you can cover your bases in the legal sense (for pre-SHTF situations). Aside from a guard dog, there are other deterrents that are purely symbolic, but carry a lot of weight. For example, you can spray paint your house with gang symbols that will warn people to stay away.
Or as one of our readers (Rustynail) wisely commented on a different article : “Post the property with signs saying trespassers will be shot on sight”. This way you’ll also be sure that whoever enters your property is a villain so you ain’t going to shoot innocent people.
If a pandemic has occurred, then you can mark your house with a spray painted red X and/or place a couple of biohazard bags outside your house full of old clothes and junk. No one will know your display is fake and they would have to be pretty desperate to risk checking out your house. The point is to be creative when considering potential deterrents and take advantage of the situation.
If someone does get onto your property, you want to direct them to the areas of your property you want them to go to. You can do this by constructing pathways lined with gardens that contain thorny plants and bushes. Keep them away from your windows by planting thorny bushes, such as raspberries or roses. The only direct and easy path should be from the sidewalk to your front door, somewhere you can easily identify and deal with the person.
Areas of Cover
Another good idea is to ensure you have some areas outside of your house that give you cover. These can be areas of cover that allow you to move about your property unseen, such as from your house to your garage, or allow you to take cover to watch suspicious activity. You can use strategically placed bushes, boards, or fencing that will conceal you if needed.
Interior Home Defense
There are a number of things you can do inside your home to ensure it is more secure and defensible, which primarily means securing doors and windows.
When it comes to windows, these are the easiest entry points in most houses. For this reason, you need to be sure they are well fortified. The following can be done to ensure your windows are secure:
- Ensure windows have a solid lock
- Install steel bars to the inside of windows
- Replace the glass with Plexiglas, which is not breakable
- Have a piece of plywood for each window that will fit securely in place or have sand bags or cinder blocks to cover them (particularly if you don’t have Plexiglas or bars)
Naturally, you don’t want to eliminate your ability to see outside or interfere with your line of sight for strategic areas outside of your property, so be sure to make the appropriate adjustments on any plywood you put into place so you have a good view of your entire property.
Doors are also an easy point of entry into your home. After all, they were designed to let people in. However, you want your doors to keep people out if necessary, which means doing the following:
- Install high-quality deadbolts on all doors that access the outside
- Make sure your doors are solid steel or solid wood with no windows
- All door frames should be steel or doors should be attached to the door frames with steel supports
- All hardware used to secure the doors should be at least 3 inches in length
- All doors should have a steel bar that can be locked into place on the inside
Aside from preparing your property to keep people out and make it more easily defensible, you should have some self-defense tools and weapons on hand. Any kind of construction supplies are good to have in abundance. This includes tools, such as hammers, nails, and crowbars, and materials, such as plywood and lumber. You should also have shovels, sand bags, and spray paint.
When it comes to self-defense weapons, there are many you can keep on the premises. Of course, having at least one firearm for each person is a good idea and enough ammunition stored away to use for a long period of time. The important thing is to ensure you are licensed to own a firearm and that you and anyone else using one have the proper training to use it effectively.
Having proper training is a concept that is critical for any of the self-defense weapons you might choose to use. Choices include:
- Crossbow/bow and arrows
- Pepper spray/mace
- Stun gun/baton
Finally, should anyone gain entry into your home and you are unable to stop them, it is wise to have at least one location in your home where you can hide food, water, and supplies so they won’t be found. It is also wise to have a hiding place for the people in your family so they have a better chance of staying safe if intruders penetrate your defenses. If you, your family, and your food and supplies can remain hidden, then you have a chance of coming out of an intruder situation relatively intact.