[UPDATED 2021] Bugging In: How to Fortify Your Home for SHTF

You’ve built a well-stocked prepper pantry.

You’ve diligently squirreled away clean water for you and your family.

You’ve equipped yourself and your loved ones with alternative communication devices.

In other words, you’ve got everything covered to ride out any SHTF scenario!

Or so you think…

What if the friendly guy next door actually turns out to be an unfortunate zombie who didn’t bother prepping and now wants a piece of your stockpile?

Will your home stand a chance against the golden horde?

Here’s what you should know about hardening your home for SHTF:

Why Is Home Defense Vital for the End of Days?

They say disasters bring out the best in people. But preppers know they also bring out the worst. Crimes like looting are all too common when disaster strikes. And after all the restaurants and grocery stores have been wiped out, where do you think desperate folks will turn to next?

No shit, Sherlock. Your castle.

It’s not a pleasant thought, but it just goes to show that you shouldn’t only be prepping essential supplies for bugging in or bugging out. You also need to put an effort into beefing up your home defense to keep unwanted guests away.

So, how exactly do you start? Here are some things you should consider doing before TEOTWAWKI:

First Things First, Never Spill the Beans

The first rule of prepping? Don’t talk about prepping.

Other than the people in your household, no one should know that you have food, water, and supplies stashed away. Once word goes out that your house has everything people need for SHTF, expect everyone and their brother to come knocking at your door.

If they still have the decency left to knock, that is.

See, hunger can turn even the gentlest person into a savage animal who won’t think twice about harming you for a can of peaches. Either shut your darn mouth or face the consequences.

Camouflage Yourself and Your Home

Besides keeping your lips zipped, you should also make sure you and your home don’t stand out from the neighborhood. You want everything about you to be as average as possible to avoid suspicion. This is a crucial part of survivalism.

To protect your family and your stash of survival supplies, you need to:

  • Wear what your neighbors wear.
  • Be lowkey about your purchases.
  • Cover your windows with curtains or blinds to keep prying eyes out.
  • Rip receipts before tossing them out.
  • Avoid posting personal things on social media.

Related: How to Boost Your Home Defense by Camouflaging Your House

Guard Your Perimeter

When defending your home, your primary goal should be to keep any and all attackers outside your property.

But, in case somebody actually attempts to raid your house, you’ll want to keep them as far away as possible.

One of the best ways to achieve this is by creating a defensive perimeter around your home. Here are some tips:

Tall Fences? Maybe Not

Some preppers recommend building a 7-foot tall wall or fence around your backyard to deter potential looters. While a giant fence does make it harder for someone to snoop on your property, it’s also the most obvious sign that you have stuff worth stealing.

If you’re going to build fences around your property, it’s best to make them look as innocent as possible. A sturdy chain link or a tall wooden fence is your best bet.

Once SHTF, you can add barbed wire or spikes on the top to keep intruders from scaling the fence.

Landscape Defensively

If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with a lawn, use that to your advantage. Trees and shrubs don’t only provide shade. They also give you more privacy.

But, fair warning: folks might use your plants to conceal themselves. So be smart with your landscaping. Make sure your hedges and trees won’t block your view of potential intruders.

Also, don’t just add ordinary plants. Go for the ones with plenty of thorns and prickles. These can deal quite the damage to anyone bold enough to break into your home.

Here are some of the best defensive plants you can grow:

  • Firethorn
  • Century plant
  • Bougainvillea
  • Tomato porcupine
  • Spanish bayonet

Related: Why You Can’t Leave Out Landscaping from Your SHTF Plan

Don’t Be Afraid of Open Space

Having some distance between your wall or fence and the main structure of your house can give you a clear line of sight. Trespassers won’t be able to conceal their movements from you, which leaves them vulnerable and gives you the opportunity to make your move.

Hang a Foreboding Sign

Another way to deter intruders is by hanging signs on your property. Placing signs such as “Quarantine area,” “No Trespassing,” and even “Trespassers will be shot on sight” may stop them dead in their tracks.

They’ll end up going for an easier, less intimidating mark.

A “Beware of Dog” sign is also an oldie but goodie — even if you don’t actually own a canine. But when it’s TEOTWAWKI, announcing that you have a dog may not be a smart idea. Your poor pet may just become some creep’s dinner.

Set Up Cameras and Motion Lights

Think it’s enough to just look out your window for assailants when SHTF? Hell no.

If you really want to secure your home, security cameras and solar-powered motion-sensor lighting are worth investing in. Scatter a few around your property. No intruder will be able to sneak up on you.

The security cameras will display their exact location and what they’re doing in real-time. They’ll show you what you can’t see from the inside. You won’t regret having these cameras as your extra eyes.

As for your motion lights, they’ll make it incredibly tough for thieves to stay incognito at night. They set off whenever someone moves toward their field of view. To ensure they won’t react to the wrong targets (aka random animals), here’s an article packed with helpful tips.

Fortify Your Home’s Entry Points

What happens if an enemy gets past your perimeter defenses?

Imagine if he ignores your signs, scales your fence, disregards your cameras and lights, and makes his way through your door or window.

This is where the next layer of your home defense becomes important.

Properly fortified doors and windows will make all the difference in keeping intruders out and keeping your family safe.

Improve Door Security

When SHTF, zombies — especially the hungriest, most desperate of them all — won’t even bother sneaking down your chimney or digging their way into your basement to steal your loot. Most of them would simply walk right up to your door and smash their way through it.

Don’t give them any openings. Boost your door security with these suggestions:

  • Install high-quality deadbolt locks. Go for single-cylinder one-inch deadbolts, not the double-cylinder variety. The latter may end up working against you if you’re stuck in a fire.
  • The best locks in the world will be useless if you use regular hollow-core doors, aka doors that even a 12-year-old can easily kick through. Replace them with metal-insulated or solid-wood doors.
  • Use longer set screws for your door hinges and strike plates.
  • Install door jammers. Door jammers will buy you some precious time in case of an attempted intrusion.

Now when the world as we know it ends and lawlessness ensues, no deadbolt will get in the way of an intruder hell-bent on prying your doors open. You’ll want to add extra reinforcements to your doors — like barricades, door stops, and flip locks.

Secure Windows

Large windows are perfect for letting natural light into a room. Unfortunately, light won’t be the only thing coming inside your home if you don’t secure your windows enough.

Windows are probably the weakest part of a home. It doesn’t take a genius to shatter them with a bat or even a huge rock they find in the driveway.

If you want to secure your windows completely, bulletproof glass is the way to go. It might put a hole in your pocket, but it’s really a small price to pay to safeguard your family and your survival supplies from the golden horde.

Don’t worry if that’s out of your budget, though. There are other window security tricks you can do:

  • Strengthen windows with security film. It keeps glass from shattering completely and will require the intruder to break the entire window completely to enter.
  • Plant cacti or thorny bushes beneath first-floor windows to make it tougher for home invaders to get through.
  • Install burglar bars over windows to prevent unwanted entry even when the glass has been shattered. They need to have a quick-release mechanism that will allow you to escape in scenarios like earthquakes or fires. This should be far enough from the window so an intruder can’t reach in to activate the release and gain entry.
  • Install window locks. In most situations, thieves are careful about not attracting attention. They’ll have a hard time keeping the noise down when the locks force them to break the glass.
  • Be prepared to set up sandbags behind windows in case more prepared intruders with ammo try to take over your home.

Related: Simple Security Solutions to Beef Up Your Home

Set Some Booby Traps

Give your unwanted guests a surprise they’ll never forget by setting up booby traps both inside and outside your home.

There are tons you can make to get ready for SHTF — ranging from the harmless to the deadly.

But while the lethal ones look badass, they also do their job…a little too well. And because you’re more likely to get into trouble with the authorities for making these traps than actually experiencing Armageddon, we don’t recommend them.

Instead, try these booby traps below. They may be virtually harmless, but they can still shock the bad guys. These traps will either make them run away or keep them busy while you execute the next step in your home defense plan:

  • Trip wires
  • Perimeter alarms
  • Pit traps
  • Corn flour explosive

Related: 7 Kickass Booby Traps That Keep Intruders On Their Toes

Be Ready to Take Up Arms

Self-defense should be a major part of your SHTF plan.

Now, you don’t need to be armed to the teeth to defend your home.

What you do need, though, is a selection of trusty, NON-LETHAL self-defense weapons that you and your family know how to use in any situation.

It’s smart to keep a small cache of these items in each main room of your home.

This may be difficult if you have curious kids at home, but there are endless places to stash your weapons. Wall art, fake electrical outlets, and kitchen furniture, for instance, make great hiding places.

But if you ever find yourself in a pinch, you can use ordinary household items and construction supplies as makeshift weapons:

Related: Best Non-Lethal Self-Defense Weapons

Designate a Safe Room

Even with the best security and home fortification plan in place, there’s still a chance that zombies will gain entry into your home. So it’s essential that you have a place you can retreat to when your home defense fails.

No matter what you call it — safe room, escape room, panic room, or bunker — your last resort must also be reinforced so that your family stays protected.

Keep these tips in mind when building your safe room:

  • Your safe room isn’t a place where you wait for death. It should have a stockpile of survival supplies and must also offer the same level of security as your exterior doors.
  • It should blend in and not be painfully obvious. A modified closet or walk-in space will work just fine.
  • It must have enough sleeping space for all of your family members.
  • Build it at an accessible location, somewhere each family member can quickly flee to.
  • Outfitting your home with a hidden living space can be tough if your house doesn’t have much space, so it pays to be creative and find out what works best for you.

Related: Our Guide to Building a DIY Safe Room

Final Thoughts

When SHTF, the unprepared will be on the hunt for food, water, and shelter. As a prepper, you need to be able to defend what’s yours to ensure your and your family’s survival. And one of the best ways to do that is to fortify your home!

Get ready for the worst while you still can — keep your prepping private, secure your perimeter, reinforce your entry points, train for self-defense, and have a safe room if things go south!

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