Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bugging In Pt. I

With prior efforts, we’ve looked at taking care of immediate survival needs. So now the question is whether you’re staying put, or leaving for someplace better suited to sustain you. We’ll start where you are, and assume you’ve decided to stay where you are.
Wherever that is, for whatever reason, you’ve decided staying put is the wisest option.

So your needs, unsurprisingly, are going to be exactly the same as in the previous series. Except now, you need to make provision for yourself, and however many others are actually or are likely to be with you, for anything between 30 hours and 30 months. So let’s revisit the survival Rule Of Threes once again.
First off, where you stay needs to be secure. You can’t man the perimeter 24/7, you need to be able to sleep occasionally. So it needs to protect you (& Co.) from whatever may come your way. I’m going to assume you don’t (yet) live in a medieval castle (pity, that) and work with what you probably have. We’ll work from the outside inwards, starting with a typical house/lot.

You’ll need at a minimum a fenceline around the perimeter. However decorative it may or may not need to be, it has to be practical. Meaning it has to stop people from simply walking onto your site. A bare minimum would be the fairly ubiquitous 6’ high chain-link fence. 8’ or more is better still. A large “Beware of Dog” sign, and a big doghouse and large bone in front, with or without an accompanying large dog, wouldn’t go amiss. It also helps justify the fence to any curious folk. The ability to, at appropriate time, place barbed wire or even better, barbed razor tape/concertina atop this perimeter should be allocated for. A series of holes for concrete-filled metal bollards, which can be dropped (and locked) every 5’ along the perimeter will stop most vehicle attempts to pass. “Decorative” large concrete planters, at least along the front (rear and/or sides if you have street,  alley, or neighbors’ driveways along them) can be constructed large enough to stop an M1 tank, if need be. Once again, planting them with beautiful flowers, and more practical herbs and salad veggies will help diffuse suspicions or complaints. A 5’ solid obstacle, poured in place and anchored below grade will stop Abrams and Bradley tracked vehicles. Orienting them as diamond rather than squares will also make seeing all sides, and if necessary, shooting at all sides from inside your perimeter, a possibility, without compromising their basic function. If you already have masonry walls around any or all sides, so much the better. Simply add another wall 3’ inside, along with cross-bracing to the perimeter wall, fill with gravel or reinforced concrete, and top with decorative iron spikes. It’s how ¾ of the world lives all the time (nota bene domestic compounds in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.). So don’t be shy.
The walls of your domicile are likely stick-built (i.e. 2x4s) and stucco, or something similarly easily permeable by projectiles. Another “decorative” line of planters, 3 to 4 feet tall, a similar thickness, with, for example,  6-inch thick reinforced front, rear, and side walls, and the center void filled with ½” or so pea gravel, will stop most anything short of sustained .50cal machinegun fire, not to mention vehicular attempts to breach the walls. Putting in 4-footers, and making the topmost 12” topsoil, and planting them -again- with either decorative flowers and front-draping ivy, and/or more practical garden herbs and medicinal plants would be wise, and once more help with concealing their actual utility. This provision is far less unsightly and far better protection than stacks of sandbags, and eliminates last-minute back-breaking labor. You’ll also make the house quieter. If making nicey-nice includes setting the front wall back 3’ so you can plant a green “Eff Off!” hedge in front of the wall, both to green things up and prevent graffiti, so be it. (And if local codes try to hijack your entire front yard as view space for “curb appeal”, find out where you can start, build there, and plant the intervening space with the thorniest berry bushes you can find, surrounded by the tallest and sturdiest wall/fence allowed.  It’s green space for butterflies and songbirds. You can fight city hall, just not head-on.)

The minimum provision for windows should be, like those in hurricane country, exterior brackets or frames capable of readily receiving ¾” plywood covers, slid into place and screwed down. Unlike hurricane country, I’d have each of them with a cross-shaped hole positioned where you could both see out from inside, or open the window behind and shoot out from inside if necessary. Painting the outside to look like sheet steel with rivets isn’t a bad idea. Hollywood does it all the time, and it fools millions. What it doesn’t do is provide the same projectile stopping abilities as sheet steel. If/when you can provide yourself with actual shutters, of layered steel, with the same cross slits, by all means, do so.  Covering the steel with a non-threatening wood veneer is, once again, good camouflage.
When next you re-roof, concrete tiles or other flameproof coverings are highly advisable. You may even get a fire insurance break as a bonus. A series of bright lights under roof eaves, pointing at the yard and perimeter without being visible from half a block away aren’t a bad option. Lights way up near the peak of the roof pointing downward, same thing. Lights up high should be tall enough to make tampering difficult, and as hardened from slingshots, bb guns, and actual firearms as you can prudently make them with minimal fuss. A ground level alternative is to put them around the perimeter, pointing outward in criss-cross intersecting angles, and covered with brick or concrete except through their main axis. You can even put stainless mirrors inside and offset the lights from the light-exit hole by 90 degrees, making direct attempts to knock them out difficult.

Any decorative patio glass doors need to go. Period. Replace all but 3’ with one of the aforementioned concrete planters. For the rest, as with other exterior doors, hardened exterior doors should be sought. Hardened being anything from skinning the outside with a sheet of mild steel, up to replacing the regular door with layered sheet steel in a metal frame, with a suitably Leave It To Beaver friendly wood veneer. A peephole or small glass lookout hole more than 3’ from the handle are the only holes I would advise, other than one capable of admitting a muzzle from the inside pointing outwards, and securable from the inside. While you’re at it, get rid of any offset access to your doors. Make getting to them a relatively long (at least 6’) tunnel. That takes away the ability of people you can’t see to “stack up” on either side of your door, and puts any approach into a “fatal funnel” downview from your peephole, or if needs be, downrange from your muzzle.
The ability, in times of distress, or simply ordinarily, to put either wood 4x4 or steel pipe drawbars across your doors from the inside should be provided for. Whether it’s home invaders or police with the wrong raid address, making it nigh impossible to bash in your front door may very well save your life.

Get the super-duper hurricane laminate for all your glass that makes it break resistant. Apply it to all windows, on all sides of the house. It means no one with a hammer or crowbar is going to break in on a sunny day, it means nothing is going to blow through the glass in a hurricane, tornado, or high wind day, and it means shards of glass from a window won’t be flying around the room if the neighbors have a gas explosion. Then put the 100% mirrored reflective surface on it as well, so no one outside can see in.

Don’t forget to beef up any connecting doors to garages, attics, balconies, or basements too, along with the doors from them to the outside. If it helps, walk around the outside of your perimeter, and the outside of the actual domicile, imagine you had a chainsaw, a crowbar and half an hour uninterrupted, and see where you could get in, and what improvements would make it difficult or impossible to do so.

If you note that this making your home a fortress is much like what dope fiends do with their crackhouses, congratulations. I hope you regard your life as at least as vital as a crack dealer views his livelihood. Yes, it seems extreme. But when it comes to any number of scenarios, sitting amongst potential swarms of rioting human beings demands your preparations exceed the abilities of whatever or whoever is outside trying to get in. Second place in the Home Invasion sweepstakes, from 10,000 B.C. to now, is frequently eternal slumber, usually after some particularly nasty treatment. So you can start this small, but you’ve got to work all the way to doing all of this. Half measures will get you completely killed, or perhaps rightly lead you to deciding that perhaps staying put isn’t such a wise plan.

In Pt. II, we’ll look at other necessities. In Pt. III, options for those not in traditional home/lots.


RushBaby said...

Thank you.

Aesop said...

You're welcome.