If your home is your castle, shouldn’t you be able to defend it like one? Assuming that a disaster doesn’t leave your home in shambles, the structure will still offer protection from the elements—even if the electrical grid is down and the other utilities are out. But the weather isn’t the only thing that your home could keep at bay. Crimes such as looting seem to go hand in hand with emergency situations. To better protect yourself and your family, it’s important to take an objective look at your home’s safety and security. One simple thing that anyone can do with existing elements is to merely keep their doors and windows locked. This basic defense will eliminate a lot of home invasions before they start. But would that be enough in a crisis? Use these tips to harden your home against unwelcome “guests.”
Strengthen the Doors
Exterior security doors and beefy deadbolts are a great way to discourage break-ins. Yes, these can be pricey, but they should add value to the dwelling and add a little more peace of mind to your night’s sleep. Cheap hollow-core interior doors could be replaced with stronger, solid ones. You could also get stronger locks. The more they cost, generally the better they are. And it’s never a bad idea to change out your locks if a key goes missing in a place where documents with your address and the key are left unattended together, like a car repair shop.
**Guard Your Garage **
Garage doors are a particularly weak point, since most of them have rather flimsy construction. If you have a security system, be sure it covers the garage door (you’d be surprised how many people forget this step). If you have an automatic garage door opener, you can reprogram it to have a different code than the factory setting. Contact the manufacturer for details—it’s usually very simple, and adds an extra layer of security. If you’re going out of town (or want to be extra secure overnight, or when home alone), you should consider installing a slide-bar latch or a padlock to keep the door from being manually rolled up. You can also cut a piece of wood to fit snugly into the door’s track, and clamp it in place, preventing it from rolling up. Disable the opener beforehand, so that if you forget and try to open it, you won’t damage the door.
Stop a Glass Door Breach
Sliding-glass doors are extremely vulnerable; be sure they have a locking steel pin to keep them from being forced open, or go low-tech with a length of dowel or 2×4 that you can place in the door’s tracks to keep it from being forced open by intruders.
Have you beefed up your home defenses? Tell us your ideas by leaving a comment.
Photograph by the author