> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Securing your Home: What to look for in a home



Securing your Home: What to look for in a home

This is a good start.
Securing or fortifying the average home is a topic of interest to many out there, especially those with the primary plan of bugging in. If you're going to ride out a disaster in your home, you'd like it to be as secure as possible, right?

Unfortunately, most modern American homes are built with "curb appeal" and cost cutting in mind, not security. Lots of windows, multiple entrances, packed in close to other homes and so on. Security potential is one of the primary things to look at when shopping for a place to rent/buy. Some homes are honestly never going to be very "secure" - your efforts may be better placed elsewhere.

So, the first step is to look for a fairly secure home to start off with. Unless you can live in a castle like the one pictured above or maybe some kind of concrete bunker, you will probably have to make some compromises. That's life.

Here are some basic things to look for in the construction of the home:
  • Construction methods: Is the house built of brick, stucco, etc.? Sturdier is better, less susceptible to fire is better, etc.
  • Entrances: How many are there? Can they be hardened? Fewer is better.
  • Windows: Especially ground-level windows. How many are there? Can they be hardened or secured? Think storm shutters, burglar bars, etc. 
  • Walls/fences: If they exist, can you do anything to further secure them? If they don't exist, can you build them, or do HOA/neighborhood rules forbid it? 
  • Visibility: Concealment works both ways - a side door, not visible from the street, is a perfect place for a burglar to work. You'll need to decide on the level of privacy vs. visibility you want.
  • Lot size: a bigger lot means more stand-off space between you, neighbors and potential intruders. There are a variety of advantages here, but basically space is a delay and obstacle that potential intruders need to overcome, especially when combined with motion sensing lights, dogs, etc.
  • Floor Plan: An especially important consideration to families with children. Where are the bedrooms located? Is there a place to develop a central fall back/safe room?
  • Location An obvious one, but probably the most important. Somewhere that's generally safe, friendly and quiet before trouble hits is a good idea. Your neighbors can be a huge asset or a big liability in hard times, so choose wisely.
These are some of the basics that I look for when assessing a home's security. Things like reinforcing doors and installing security systems can be added after the fact, but a house with lousy construction, too many windows, too many doors, a small lot, HOA laws that forbid a fence, and an odd floor plan can't really be changed. These are looking at the overall "canvas" that you have to work with.

If you're building something, you can design something to your specifications that avoids many of the problems with modern homes (too many windows, spread out floor plan, etc.). If you're shopping around for a purchase or rental, keep these in mind.

I will go into further detail on each one of these bullet points in future posts, as well as ideas for battening down the hatches and hardening your home up when TEOTWAWKI rolls in. Keep an eye out!