Protecting Your Home

During times of disaster, whatever the cause, we must prepare not only for our basic needs but also for our safety, when the emergency response system may very well be overwhelmed. Bigger the disaster, slower the response time. Criminals know this and take advantage.

Protecting Your Home
Don’t become a victim

In times of crisis, it’s crucial to prepare for potential violence as desperation can sometimes lead people to act out of character. When resources become scarce and survival instincts kick in, societal norms can break down, leading to increased instances of violence. Prepare now for the crime, violence, looting, and even home invasion that may be brought on during these tough times.

Unless you are told to get out, the safest bet if for you to stay home and out of the way. The decision to stay home brings two responsibilities: protecting your family and your home. By preparing in advance, individuals can ensure their safety and the well-being of their loved ones.

It’s important to remember that preparation is not about fostering fear, but about promoting resilience and readiness in the face of adversity.

Protecting Your Home
Security Layers

Protect your home using security layers

Criminals look for and will concentrate on accessible targets. You want to make breaking into your home difficult. Designing a home defense system that includes multiple security layers is a proactive way to protect your home, family, and belongings. Security layers are preventative measures that will advertise to intruders that they should avoid your home altogether.

Layer 1 - Outside

This layer comprises the exterior of your home.

Layer 2 - Inside

This layer comprises the interior of your home.

Layer 3 - Personal

This layer focuses on each member of the family.

Protecting Your Home
Layer 1 - Outside

Outer Perimeter of Your Home

This layer comprises the outer perimeter of your home, the landscaping, and security features (e.g., flood lights, motion detectors, gates, doors, and locks). Walk around your home and find where the vulnerable areas of entry are. Making some adjustments can help secure it from the outside in.

Plant vulnerable areas around windows and along fences with inhospitable plants

While making your property beautiful, thorn-bearing plants, like rosebushes, bougainvillea, or blackberry vines, make entry into your window and climbing over your fence much harder for would-be intruders.

Keep your outdoor areas well-trimmed

Trim shrubs that are close to the house so that strangers cannot hide behind them. Make sure the perimeter of your home and property is clear of hiding places.

Fence your entire property

Not all properties allow for fencing, but if yours does, do it

Lock your gate

If you fence all or part of your property, you will most likely have a gate. Use a combination or key lock (and don’t forget to make copies).

Light your property at night

There are many options with varying prices: motion sensor-activated Infrared flood lights can illuminate your home and property all night or be set to go off with a timer, then reactivate upon any outside movement; solar garden lights charge up during the day and shine at night.

Porch lights

Use a porch light with a dawn-to-dusk timer or one that is motion-activated. Either way, the light will be on when a person walks up to your door.

Exterior cameras

Lights can be placed at entry points and around your property’s exterior. These motion-activated cameras help identify and discourage would-be intruders.

Spare keys

A spare key should never be left hidden under a matte, a rock, a flowerpot, or a magnetic key holder placed under a car. Use a coded key vault instead.

Shatterproof window film

Place shatterproof window film on the exterior of your window.

Advertise your alarm system

Place stickers on windows and signs in your yard.

Place a stop on mail and newspaper delivery

Don’t allow your mail and newspapers to pile up. This only alerts thieves that you aren’t home.

Tell a neighbor

If you have a neighbor you know you can trust, let them know when you are leaving town and ask that they keep an eye on your home and report and suspicious activity. You can return the favor.

Protecting Your Home
Layer 2 - Inside

Interior of Your Home

This layer is comprised of the interior of your home. There are many steps you can take inside that will help protect your home and your family.

Beef up exterior doors and door frames

  • Best doors are made of hollow-core metal or solid wood.
  • Install 1-inch deadbolt locks.
  • Consider multiple locking mechanisms.
  • For glass doors, install a double cylinder lock to reinforce its strength.
  • It should have a peephole.
  • Invest in a high-quality metal frame. These are very difficult to breach.

Reinforce the window that is close to a door lock

  • It’s very easy for a thief to break a window, reach in, and unlock the door from inside. Reinforce this window to make this difficult.

Install an alarm system

  • An effective system monitor should include a window entry with an anti-lift device attached.
  • Have a thorough knowledge of how this system works, including the panic code on the keypad.
  • Set the alarm when you sleep.

Wireless Motion Sensors

  • These are battery-operated devices that attach to the door.
  • It allows you to have the alarm system off and still be notified when the door opens.
  • Its loud noise is very helpful for those watching children or Alzheimer patients, etc., who know how to unlock doors and want to get outside.

Keep curtains closed at night

  • While you can’t see out, people can see in if your curtains remain open.
  • Set a time each night, perhaps at dusk, to close each curtain throughout the house.

Secure sliding glass doors

  • Place a pipe, metal bar, or piece of wood on the middle bottom track of your door slide.
  • These items should be the same length as the door’s track.

Set a timer for lights

  • Set a timer for lights (and TV if you wish) to go on and off at programmed times to give the appearance that someone is home.

Consider a Safe Room

If someone breaks in while you are home, it’s important to have a place to go until help arrives. Replace this room’s door and frame with an exterior door and good quality frame. This room should have both a phone and a method of self-defense.

Protecting Your Home
Layer 3 - Personal

Each Family Member

This layer focuses on what each family member can do to protect themselves and those they love. Children can and should participate too.

Be observant of your surroundings

  • when leaving & arriving home
  • be aware of suspicious activity

Be wary of people that come to your door

  • Whether they are strangers, delivery people, or even officers of the law, if they are unexpected, you need to be alert. These are all common ruses that precede home invasions.
  • People can still be mugged, burglarized, and attacked simply by opening the door to a stranger.
  • If in doubt, do not open the door. Ask for IDs and call for verification before letting them in.

Teach children

  • to never open the door to a stranger.
  • to not to be easily persuaded by strangers who look professional or have badges.
  • who to call for help if you’re not home.
  • how to call 911 and when to call other posted emergency numbers.

Keep your stuff away from windows

  • Purses, car keys, money, and jewelry are just going to make thieves want to break in more.

Create a home invasion protocol

  • Teach what it is and how to follow it.
  • Teach how to use the security alarm and panic button.
  • Teach what to do if someone gets in the house.
  • Have a well-planned escape route to use if needed.

Choose a weapon for self-defense and know how to use it

    gun*, kitchen knife, pepper spray, lamp, fire extinguisher, hot coffee, baseball bat, and salt in the eye, etc.

    *Gun laws differ by state. Learn about the requirements where you live.

Sign up for a self-defense course

  • There are many different types of classes to choose from including Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Wushu, and Mixed Martial Arts.
  • Choose what's best for your family and let it be a family affair!

Know your neighbors by name

  • Establish at least a bit of trust. You don’t have to hang out, just talk occasionally. If you get along great, even better.
  • If they see something odd, they will take notice and have your back. You will do the same for them.

Zip Your Lips

Don’t tell others outside your family about the emergency preparedness actions you are taking to protect your family. While you’ll want to persuade others to get prepared themselves, don’t advertise your preps to the world. It’s a safety issue!