Have you ever noticed that when people take a chance and step up to do the right thing, they usually receive attention? Like the guy who wrestles the knife away from the lunatic, or the gal who refuses to look the other way when her boss sexually harasses a co-worker, or the kid who stands up to the bully on the bus. We see these stories on the news and there is always something that wells up inside us and makes us want to praise that individual for having the guts to do what needs to be done.
Of course, not all of the attention that true patriots receive when they do the right thing is positive. We get labeled as “crazy” for putting solar panels on our houses and wind turbines in our yards. (At least until the scoffers see how much lower our power bills are.) We get called “alarmists” for collecting and storing supplies of food, water and other essential items. We’re referred to as “paranoid” for our conspiracy theories because we don’t blindly accept everything we’re told by the government. And you know what? That’s OK. We know we’re doing the right thing and we’re strong and independent enough to handle the negative feedback from the same people who will be crawling to us when a crisis occurs for which they are not prepared.
But there’s another kind of negative attention that we may not be as prepared for as we should be. Once it’s known that you have safeguarded your home against power outages, food shortages and other kinds of chaos that are almost certain to erupt at some point, you become a target. By doing the right thing and preparing for an emergency, suddenly you may have a lot more to lose than your neighbors do. And this applies both now when things are relatively stable, as well as after a crisis hits and the people around you – including people who have always been your friends and neighbors – are now desperate to provide for themselves and their families and see that you have essential items that they need.
So, the way for you to become as prepared to protect your home as you are to face power outages and food shortages is to take to heart my Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Home from Invaders. Here they are:
- Install secure doors. A door is the most likely entry point that an intruder will use, so keep your doors locked whether you’re home or away. Solid wood doors or metal-clad doors are effective.
- Upgrade your locks. Grade 1 or Grade 2 deadbolts, accompanied by heavy-duty brass strike plates, should keep doors from being kicked in.
- Install secure windows. You don’t want windows that can be manipulated from the outside. Keep your windows from opening more than six inches. Consider installing mounting brackets now so that you could quickly install window bars later if necessary.
- Secure the perimeter of your home. Install motion sensor lights all around your home. Fences can be climbed, but having one might be enough to make an intruder choose a different home. Keep shrubbery trimmed to reduce the number of hiding places on your lawn.
- Install an alarm. The louder the better with an alarm. Even if you don’t have a full-fledged security system in place, the noise itself could scare away an intruder. Post a sign regarding your alarm near the entrances. Make sure your children know how important it is to keep alarm codes confidential.
- Secure breach points. Take a walk around your home – inside and out – and look for areas where someone could enter without much trouble. If there is a seldom-used door to the outside, install a 2 x 4 barricade on the inside.
- Join a neighborhood watch group. If one is not already in place, you may have to take the lead here. Neighbors watching out for neighbors can be an effective deterrent against burglaries.
- Have a dog. Being a dog lover, I think this is a good idea anyway. But if your dog can also make your home safer, all the better. Dogs can be trained in defense, or at least to bark when they hear a noise outside. If you can’t have a dog, you can still post a “Beware of Dog” sign in your yard.
- Don’t make it obvious you’re away. When you’re out of town, lights on automatic timers are very effective. Make sure newspapers aren’t delivered while you’re gone, and try to keep a car in your driveway. A trusted neighbor is important to have while you’re away.
- Have a family emergency plan. Every family member should know exactly what to do, in advance, if an intruder enters the house. Getting out of the house quickly is best, but if that’s not possible, a previously designated “safe room” is where they should head. Always keep a pair of tennis shoes, a flashlight and a cell phone by your bed.
I’m going to conclude with something I’d rather not talk about. But because it’s the truth, I’m not going to shy away from it. You may feel like you have great relationships with your neighbors and that they will always be loyal to you no matter what happens. But the truth is, if things get bad enough, people whom you trust may no longer be trustworthy, especially if they have not prepared for a crisis like you have. When people get hungry enough and thirsty enough, they will do whatever they have to do in order to survive, including trying to take something that belongs to you. And the collapse of social order in an emergency will make it all the easier to behave in this fashion.
You have to be ready to protect your home, your family and yourself from anyone who might try to break in and steal what you have worked hard to gather for just such an occasion. Violence should be the absolute last resort, and I would do everything I possibly could to avoid it. But if people threaten my family’s well-being by breaking into my home – whether they are outsiders or neighbors I’ve known for years – I sure as hell won’t hesitate to do what I need to do to protect my family and my home. Having a legal weapon in your home – placed somewhere that your children do not have access to – could mean the difference between surviving and not surviving when someone breaks in to steal from you and possibly inflict physical harm on your family members. If you are ever in a position where you need to use a weapon to protect your home, here are some choices:
- Pepper spray. This causes extreme stinging to the eyes and any skin surface it reaches. It could allow you to escape a life-threatening situation without causing serious or long-term bodily harm.
- Taser. More effective than a stun gun because it can be used from a short distance, a taser disrupts the motor function of muscles through an electrical shock. On occasion, tasers have resulted in death.
- Gun. If you have to use a gun on an intruder or attacker, aim for the middle of the body to increase the likelihood that you will hit the target. A revolver will normally be easier to use than a rifle or shotgun within the confines of a home. Well before you ever need to use a gun against someone, learn how to operate it efficiently and safely, and fire it accurately.