The following article has been contributed by Matt, a preparedness expert currently residing down under in the beautiful country of Australia.
I live in a City. More in the suburbs than surrounded by towering skyscrapers.
It’s an Urban Environment. There’s no wilderness or bush, being from Australia the ‘bush’ is pretty much any area or terrain that’s remote enough to not have many if any other people living there. There are sealed roads, schools, shopping centres and we’re surrounded by miles and miles of housing.
We preppers are always ready to bug out. Stores are cached. Bug out location secure and hidden. Plenty of supplies and a means to get from ‘home’ to your Bug out location.
It might be essential to have a bug out location, but after all if you do have to bug out all you are essentially doing is moving from one ‘home’ to another ‘home’. The ‘other home’ (your bug out location) is well prepared, stocked and defended. Why not prepare your actual home in the same essence?
As we increasingly become more and more urbanized every day, in some places, bugging out to the woods, wilderness or bush isn’t really a viable option.
Sure, we have to plan for somewhere to go just in case. It might mean another dwelling still in or near an urban environment. But bugging out when family is involved might add to the challenges.
So what can I do to protect my family if the SHTF and Home is the only place they feel safe?
The Hidden Fortress
I got thinking and I want to be realistic. I want to keep my home a home and not a fortress. I want it to look like a normal typical house. But soon as a storm approaches and/or damages something or if the SHTF, I’d like to be prepared to protect my family and defend my home as quickly and easily as possible.
Now I live in relatively quiet street, elderly nosy neighbours, always out and about their front yard.
There are people tending their gardens, birds chirping. The last thing I want is to attract attention by erecting a 9 foot chain-link fence topped with razor wire around my property.
What can I do to defend my home and protect my family without drawing too much attention? If the SHTF and bugging in is the only option, there’s looting and rioting going on and the threat of intruders trying to harm my family on my property is realistic what can I do?
We have rose bushes along the front edge of our property. Plants are a great way to deter potential intruders. Thorns, spines, prickles, poison ivy. Just keep them contained, well kept, and as neat as a garden should look.
Our front fence will be (we’re currently renovating) a black aluminium pool fencing deal, topped with ornamental spikes. They look decorative and its high enough you can’t jump it without having to pull yourself over. But fall on one of those spikes and you’re going to have a bad day.
If your driveway permits it and is a bottleneck of sorts, you could also prepare some post holes in the ground. Cover and protect from weather. If the fear of intruders in a SHTF scenario and the potential for them to enter your property via ram raiding with a vehicle presents itself, then you at a moment’s notice can drop in some vehicle impeding bollards.
This also works for any other potential ram raid point of your home. Obviously a vehicle traveling towards any side of your house with speed will most likely break through a brick wall, but at least you can give them a bit of worse day by stopping, reducing, or preventing major damage.
You have also created time and that is what most of this is about. You’ve created inconvenience for them. You’ve reduced their opportunities.
Now preparedness is about being ready at a moment’s notice. Do you really want to lug all the way from your shed to the front yard reinforced concrete or metal posts? If you have the means and some proper bollards then do it.
I wouldn’t, so why not make them your garden bed edging. All you do is pick them up/ roll them from garden to post hole, several feet, and drop them in. Light enough to lift, with effort, strong enough to reduce the speed and increase the stopping power of a potentially unwanted vehicle.[Editor Note: If you have the financial resources, there are decorative bollards available that look like fancy light posts which essentially cover concrete/metal posts].
Additional Perimeter Ideas
The fencing around our house adjoining the neighbours is legal, to code, standard Colourbond fence. But to get over it you’ll need a crate, stool, or a bit of a jump to then drag yourself over it.
Additionally, if the SHTF fan and we’re forced to bug in without rule of law: I have a bucket with enough crushed/broken glass, a pair of sturdy cut proof gloves, and a few tubes of outdoor silicone to scatter the glass shards along the top of our fencing.
It sits there in a bucket, in the shed, and it didn’t cost a dime for the glass as a few parties supplied the material. Anyone caught trying to enter our property by jumping a fence is going to have some sore hands. If we have to leave we’ll throw a blanket over it.
As an environmental bonus: due to the terrain, our house and the surrounding houses are built on a slope. Being in somewhat of a valley like area a lot of driveways are on at least a 45-60 degree angle. Therefore we have a nice 5-6 foot drop from the level road to our front yard. So getting over a 5+ foot fence to then drop a further 5 or so feet isn’t going to tickle.
Use your surroundings if you can
Surrounded by trees, twigs, sticks, these are slippery underfoot plus make noise.
Same as loose gravel, stones, and dirt all leave tell-tale signs of a presence, by making noise or leaving marks.
Improvised Outdoor Self-Defence Weapons
Be mindful that anything you can use as a self-defence weapon someone else can use against you offensively.
Remember those rose bushes I told you about? Well there staked into the ground by garden stakes. They’re long, solid and splintery.
As an example: If I have to grab at a moment’s notice one of the stakes to protect my family from someone slipping in behind me as the gate shut when I got home from work and we’re rolling around the garden, then at least I can even the odds.
Same as the backyard. You’ll find the plants that need to be staked have the same ones like the front.
Things like this range from the simple garden stake to a letter box that’s secured well enough to the ground to not be knocked over but easily removed in case you need to take on an attacker trying to go one on one with you on your own property. An improvised large hammer if you will.
Stones (they don’t have to be the large kind), loose gravel, dirt and soil from your garden. As above if you have to square off with someone on your property and all you have is a handful of dirt or gravel the natural reaction of having something thrown at you is to flinch. This may give you enough time to get the upper hand or retreat inside. Look around your property and see where your ‘improvised weapons’ are. See where you can strategically place ‘normal’ landscaping materials that can be improvised at a moments notice.
I have pieces of plywood, paneling or whatever you call it where you’re from, cut and measured to the sizes I need to cover all my windows. These are stored in my shed with a hammer, nails and duct tape bagged and taped to the panels. If for some reason a football, rock or storm damage happens to take out a window and repairs will take more than a day or so then I can cover and seal the window safely until repairs are made.
In a SHTF scenario I can board up my windows at a moment’s notice without having to scramble for things, thus securing possible entry points, making it harder for looters to gain access and or giving me enough time to prepare for fight or flight. Cutting a few inch sized holes here and there will allow air, light and vision through if needed. Just remember to cover the holes at night otherwise the light may alert others to your presence.
I have enough pieces of wood 2×4 etc., to board up my entry doors (from the inside) if needed, once again, stored in my shed. Cut and measured and labelled for each door. If you need to brace a door to give you time against looting or for some other reason you already have the materials. Off cuts are cheap and easy. Make sure you always keep yourself an entry/exit point. Don’t board yourself in.
I have measured the length of duct tape needed to seal off my windows, vents and doors. Now I am not talking about airtight enough to die from asphyxiation.
Not near our home but further away, at separate times and days, there were some fires in a Recycling Plant, tire dump and garbage dump.
Picture living close enough to these and not being prepared to Bug In if you or your loved ones cannot go outside until the fires are controlled. Staying indoors and sealing off enough gaps to minimize and reduce the amount of toxic/poisonous smoke entering your home should make it more bearable until the problem is sorted. Just remember to leave some ventilation, don’t panic and do something silly.
Of course completely leaving the area would be better.
Know the visibility limitations from inside/outside your home
During the day look out the windows and see how far and where you can see. Find the blind spots. Do the same from outside. Do the same at night. This is particularly useful at night. Close all your blinds and go outside. You’ll be amazed what you can see when you think your blinds are shut. Silhouettes, all these unsecured curtain edges allow full visibility to your 55inch flat screen tv, what family sleep where, where you put your jewellery at night before you go to bed. See what you can from up close to the windows. See what you can from the street. Note it all down and make plans to close some gaps.
Do the same for audio levels. During the day crank your tv or radio up to a level and go outside. Keep doing this until you can just hear it outside. Note down the level.
Do the same at night. This is useful for monitoring your noise levels in case you have to minimize your presence to unwanted attention. Plus it might help with not annoying the neighbours if you know you can’t crank your music past volume level 8 at 10pm at night.
Then there are the usual measures you read about in most home safety or law enforcement tips for securing your home.
- Good quality locks on the doors and or windows
- Peepholes, viewing glasses
- CCTV, surveillance cameras, dummy or real
- Security Stickers
- Floodlights, security lights
- A dog and or sign
- Doors installed securely, long screws, Door Devils, solid core or reinforced doors
- Never leave anything outside that someone could use to break into your property (unless reasonably indistinguishable from something you’d normally look for, say like those garden stakes!) Ladders, tools, gardening equipment all secured in shed
- Make sure your home is well kept, gutters cleaned, maintained
- Rodent and pest controlled as best as possible
- Plumbing/electrical etc. all in good working order
This is by no means and exhaustive list and a lot of points can be expanded upon considerably.
In the end it is entirely up to you. Be practical. Be realistic. Don’t sacrifice looks and aesthetics if you don’t need to. Education might alter your family’s outlook on bugging out.
But there might be a time there is no other option than to just bug in, prep and defend.
Tactical Is Practical.