- By: Tara Dodrill
- Posted on: March 7, 2014
Home fortification is likely at the top of the preparedness “to-do” list. If you have very deep pockets, building a fortress is feasible, but for most of us, budget-minded tasks will have to do. Evaluating a home’s strengths and weaknesses is the first and most important step to creating the most secure structure your bank account allows.
While creating a home fortification inventory, both man-made and natural disasters should be taken into consideration. Where you live will play a significant role in what types of improvements need to be made to the home, barn and storage buildings present on the property.
Regardless of the natural disasters prone to your specific region, everyone should strive to secure their home against any civil unrest which could occur after a major disaster. Panicked and desperate individuals seeking food, water, shelter and weapons could likely see your home as a safe haven.
Here are seven areas to examine:
1. Signs. Sure, we all may ignore speed limit signs we pass while running late to work, but we notice them and fully understand the potential result of breaking the rules. Posting “no trespassing” notices, and “armed owner” signs will not deflect the intentions of the most brutal sort individual fleeing a disaster zone. But, they may deter individuals who are unarmed or untrained in self-defense. In other words, many people may not even walk on your property after seeing the sign.
A well-lit area immediately lets trespassers know they have not stumbled upon a vacant property and allows you to see people as they approach. A light in a sea of darkness could also make you a target, so weigh the risks carefully and perhaps opt for motion-sensor lighting.
3. Doors and Locks. Choose extremely sturdy exterior and interior doors. Select door jams that are firmly secured into the framing with long screws. The hinges around the door should also be secured with long and sturdy screws. It is a waste of time to install steel exterior doors, strong locks and solid wood interior doors without securing them properly.
Although a bit pricey, using commercial grade doors and locks enhances safety and makes it extremely difficult for the lock to be picked or a bump key used to get inside. A security bar, which can be placed across both exterior and interior doors, might not be attractive on a daily basis, but would be valuable when faced with marauders.
4. Windows. The windows on the home are the most vulnerable areas of the structure. Purchasing tornado or hurricane security windows is a valuable use of funds. Bullet resistant windows are also beneficial, even if they have to be installed one pane at a time when funds become available. Bars on the window are very unattractive, but add another layer of protection. If adding bars to home is simply an unacceptable option, consider having wood or a sheet of metal cut and on hand to install quickly when disaster strikes. To avert a reduction in visibility, have the metal and/or wood cut and installed in a shutter fashion, or with slots. A brace bar, similar to the one used on the doors, will help secure the metal or wood window fortifications. Banks and other businesses often re-glaze teller and clerk window dividers with polycarbonate plastic. This material is readily available in various thicknesses and is reportedly strong enough to deflect flying debris and some small caliber handgun and rifle rounds.
5. The Perimeter. Metal or stone fencing is more expensive than wood, but also provides more protection. A metal gate not only at the entrance of the property, but at several intervals along the drive, can help prevent trespassers on foot from entering the property. A makeshift tire track comprised of nails hammered through a 2X4 and placed along the drive will also help keep vehicles from coming down the drive and near the home.
6. Landscaping. Shrubs and bushes might look pretty in the flowerbeds around your home, but they offer intruders a place to hide and can make the dwelling more vulnerable to fire. Stick to shorter plants when decorating around the house and keep pine trees and hay bales far away from structures to reduce fire risk. Brush fires spawned by a natural disaster or a marauder tying to burn you out of the home are aided by poor fire prevention planning. Use a garden hose to keep foliage around the home damp during dry weather conditions and routinely cut back tree branches and underbrush near structures.
7. Observation. A second-story deck can double as a favorite gathering spot when times are good, and as an observation deck when disaster strikes. Such a platform will also help prevent marauders from gaining access to a fireplace or woodstove chimney. Dropping something flammable into the chimney is one sure way of driving you out of the otherwise fortified home.
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