There are many more perfectly sound and affordable methods to turn your home (or a section of it) into a secure and defendable space. For property owners, the best technique is to start on the outside and work your way in, establishing a solid perimeter of alarm systems, diversions and obstacles to prevent intruders from reaching your home. Those living in urban and densely populated buildings and neighborhoods may have less of a perimeter to defend, but your close proximity to dozens of other individuals trying to survive leaves you more vulnerable to attack, thus giving you even more reason to create a system of external defenses.
The larger your property and the fewer neighbors you have, the more advantages you have to defend your home. A large and open property layout gives you better visibility of your surroundings and more area to establish barriers and defensive installments to deter invaders. There is certainly an argument to be made for spending tens or hundreds of thousands on a piece of land with access to natural resources rather than a garage-sized doomsday shelter, which could become your tomb.
10 Basic Perimeter Defenses
How you decide to bolster your home security is only limited by your imagination and ingenuity, as survival is all about making the most out of whatever you have. The options are endless, including:
- Hedgerows – Thick hedgerows and thorny thickets have been used as natural defenses in warfare for centuries. If nothing else, they can slow down any invader on your property.
- Conventional alarm systems – Electric alarms, motion detectors and Gerry-rigged systems using bells, tin cans or other noisemakers can alert you to the presence of invaders and potentially deter them continuing forward.
- High walls – The higher and thicker, the better. Cinderblock and brick walls can be destroyed by vehicles or explosives, but they offer solid protection against gunfire and can halt an attack altogether.
- Fencing – Simple chain link fencing, especially when rigged with barbed wire or an electric current, can be set up around an entire perimeter as an effective primary or secondary defense.
- Trenches and dirt parapets – Armies have been digging trenches in battle for centuries as a means to slow down personnel and vehicles.
- Moats or natural water runoffs – Building a moat is a serious undertaking, but all those medieval castles used water to deter invaders because it worked.
- Security cameras – Even if they are fake or non-functioning, the sole presence of camera systems can be enough to scare away invaders.
- Natural or manmade barriers – Boulders, downed or standing trees, and things like large earthenware pots, old appliances and other bulky contraptions can be strewn about your property to slow down people and vehicles.
- Snares, traps and pits – Creating these can take some know-how, but a good trap can be used to maim human invaders the same as they can be used to catch game.
- Attack animals – Even the most docile dog can alert you to the presence of an intruder on your property. You can go the extra mile by training your dog(s) to attack on command.
You should explore and experiment with any method that may prevent a threat from reaching the safety of your home or shelter. Especially if you have decided to stay put and defend your turf no matter what chaos is going on outside, you’re going to have to learn how to effectively batten down the hatches and use what you have to turn your home into a fortress.
Locking the Door (and More)
Hopefully your home is already equipped with storm-grade doors that have more than one deadbolt lock. If you can afford the upgrade, shatterproof and bulletproof glass windows are great to have. But even old wooden windows can be screwed or bolted into their frames; then Plexiglas, wire mesh and iron bars can be added to protect the opening.
Sliding glass doors are one of the most vulnerable entry points and are difficult to defend. At the very least, they should have a dowel track lock and some kind of plate screwed into place to prevent the door from being lifted off its tracks. You could go the extra mile to paint the glass or cover it in some kind of protective material to obscure its presence.
A popular and affordable method of adding an extra layer of defense to the home is to line your walls with sandbags. Militaries use sandbags not only to defend against combat, but also to protect buildings, homes and bases against the effects of natural disasters. They are cheap and easy to mass-produce, and a few layers is enough to stop a bullet. You can simply purchase the sacks yourself, fill them with sand or dirt from your property, and stack a row or two on the inside or outside of your home’s walls.
These cheap and practical strategies will help defend your home and family from outside gunfire and require an intruder to do some heavy lifting to breach your walls. Keep in mind that the more work you do ahead of time to cover your bases, the more likely you are to remain ahead of potential enemies and come out on top.
Covering the High Ground
Conflicts and disaster situations throughout history have proven that higher ground can provide a distinct advantage for whatever human or environmental threats you may face. During hurricanes and tsunamis, victims are often forced to retreat to the upper levels or roofs of their homes or residential buildings to flee from the effects of flooding. In military engagements, the forces positioned atop a hill or ridge often have a distinct advantage over their opponents below.
No matter what measures you take to defend your property and the lower levels of your home, preparing the upper levels and roof can also give you a distinct edge. The height gives you a greater line of sight, which can allow you spot an enemy from a distance and potentially eliminate them before they reach your home. If you can access your roof, you should consider making a protective outpost and assigning a member of your family or group as a lookout.
Like a basement or crawlspace, the roof could also serve as a last-ditch location in the event your home is breached. Think about the Home Alone movies: if a young Kevin McCallister (played by McCauley Culkin) could deter bandits Harry and Marv by raining bricks and paint cans from above, you should be able to come up with your own simple ways of defending your home from the roof. Things like flowerpots, construction materials, tile and lumber can be stored on the roof and discharged upon intruders below, causing serious physical damage. The same tactics apply to the windows on the upper levels of your home.