Prep Your Apartment or Suburban Home for Riots and Civil Unrest: How to Get Ready FAST

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When you live in an urban or suburban location and it looks like all heck is about to break loose, how can you prepare your place fast for the potential of unrest? As we’ve seen in cities across the country, a peaceful protest can turn into a violent riot in the blink of an eye. How do you prepare when the spark is lit in your hometown?

While our first recommendation on this website is always “don’t be there” we know there are some situations in which leaving isn’t an option.

Therefore, this article is based on the premise that, for whatever reason, you’re going to need to hunker down in your home. The reason you’re there doesn’t matter – the concept is simply that you’re there. With only a couple of exceptions, we’re also going to use things you can commonly find in homes with no special trips to the store.

For a detailed overview of civil unrest and riots, check out Selco’s on-demand webinar on the topic.

Timing is essential

The first thing to consider is that speed is of the essence. If there’s something going on in your hometown that could cause unrest, like the announcement of a verdict or sentencing, you will probably know about it at least a day ahead of time. This allows you a bit more leeway in gathering supplies.

But we don’t always get that warning. Sometimes the response of outrage is immediate, as we’ve seen in the cases of several police shootings recently. In these cases, sometimes the outrage is warranted, and other times it’s not, but that part doesn’t matter when there are people who want to destroy, loot, and burn.

It’s best if you have an idea of how you’re going to prepare ahead of time. If you know this, then you can have on hand the supplies that you need. If not, you’ll be using what you have on hand.

As soon as you feel that unrest is a possibility, it’s time to take action if you plan to stay in place. Don’t just “wait and see.” Assume that bad things are coming your way and act accordingly.

Blend in

We’ve talked a lot about the gray man principle in the preparedness world. You can learn more about it in this article. In situations of unrest, it’s helpful if your home is also “gray.”  But it’s important to understand that gray isn’t always just non-descript or non-memorable. It can mean you are adapting to the baseline of your area. And sometimes that means adapting to it whether you agree with it or not.

How do you do that? Well, it depends where you are and who the potential threat is.

Many of the recent riots in the United States have been related to race and police brutality. These two things give you some hints on what you might want at your home and also what you might not want.

An important thing to note: I’m well aware this advice will not be popular in our circles, but remember that we’re talking about survival. Not about right vs. wrong, free speech, or your love of the United States of America. You have to be the one to make the decision whether you place precedence on the lives of your family or on your patriotism and principles. Sometimes, like matter, the two cannot occupy the same space at the same time. I can’t tell you what is right or what is wrong. I can simply point out things that could make your home a target.

First, consider the things you may want to remove temporarily.

It’s a sickening fact that homes flying American flags have been targeted by arsonists. It’s practically unbelievable that this is happening in the United States, but it is.  Due to this, you may want to remove anything that is obviously patriotic from the exterior of your home.

If you’ve got a “Thin Blue Line” sticker on your car, you’ll want to park it in the garage. In these harrowing times, obvious support of law enforcement is a sure way to capture the ire of a mob that wants to see the police eradicated. The same thing goes for flags and exterior decorations that show support of LEOs. In Minneapolis, it was discovered that police officers were being followed home and their families and properties were targeted.

Depending on the situation in your area, you may want to add some things to make your home a less desirable target. A small sign in the window that says something like “Racial Equality” may indicate the residents are sympathetic to the cause of those rioting and could be enough to deter them from smashing your windows and setting your home on fire. I’m not suggesting you have to go full-on BLM with your signage. But consider something small and relatively innocuous to use as a type of “camouflage.” I don’t see this as very different from the quarantine tape I have stashed away to make my home look undesirable in the midst of a pandemic.

Unless others in the neighborhood are boarding up their windows, you may not want to batten down the hatches with plywood on the exterior. Keep reading for more information on boarding up your windows.

Aside from these things, be sure to remove anything from the front of the house that could be used to break the windows, like planters and lawn furniture.  Secure your belongings like bicycles and toys indoors or you may discover they’ve been taken by self-entitled rioters.

Finally, if you are home during the riots, gather in one room. This way you know where everybody is if things get crazy and you know that everyone is practicing proper light control. Keep the lights off – some rioters really want a confrontation, so they’ll be looking for homes that look occupied. Keep your blinds or curtains closed and make sure any light you use is dim and not very noticeable. Before an event occurs, test things out. Can you still see the television in the family room from the outside when the curtains are closed? How bright is that nightlight in the bathroom? Can you identify people walking around inside through the blinds? Make the appropriate adjustments before any violence erupts.

Be harder to get to

The next thing to do is to harden your home. You don’t want to be an easy target. When discussing this, a lot of folks immediately think “booby traps.” I’m not recommending anything like that. We’re not in a Mad Max situation right now, even though it could feel like it in the moment. Booby traps are illegal and you will be held both criminally and civilly liable for any injury or death that occurs from a trap you set.

As per the Geneva Convention:

Without prejudice to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict relating to treachery and perfidy, it is prohibited in all circumstances to use:

a. any booby-trap in the form of an apparently harmless portable object which is specifically designed and constructed to contain explosive material and to detonate when it is disturbed or approached, or

b. booby-traps which are in any way attached to or associated with:

1. internationally recognized protective emblems, signs or signals;

2. sick, wounded or dead persons;

3. burial or cremation sites or graves;

4. medical facilities, medical equipment, medical supplies or medical transportation;

5. children’s toys or other portable objects or products specially designed for the feeding, health, hygiene, clothing or education of children;

6. food or drink;

7. kitchen utensils or appliances except in military establishments, military locations or military supply depots;

8. objects clearly of a religious nature;

9. historic monuments, works of art or places or worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples;

10. animals or their carcasses.

It is prohibited in all circumstances to use any booby-trap which is designed to cause superfluous injury or necessary suffering.” (source)

Explosives, sharpened items, devices that cause guns to fire, and devices that produce toxic fumes upon contact are all prohibited.

While some folks may be bitterly disappointed that they can’t spear their adversaries with a custom-made booby trap, you can still protect your home

This happens in layers.

Securing the outside

Think like a criminal when looking at your home.

First things first, anything outside that keeps people further away from the home itself is good. Lots of folks have fences around the front but leave their gates unsecured. If there is any inkling your neighborhood could be a target of unrest, lock your gate! Do this with a padlock or with a bar secured across the inside of the gate.

In nearly every situation, I’d advise you not to leave pets outside to “guard” the home. Pets can be seriously injured or killed. They can also be used like a hostage by unsavory people to lure the homeowners out. Keep your pets inside during times of unrest.

As mentioned above, remove anything from the exterior that could be used to gain access by breaking a window.

Many people board up all their windows with plywood. If you plan to do this, get the plywood well ahead of time and pre-drill the holes so you can install it quickly. You can store plywood between your mattress and box springs, or under your bed. I’ll go into this more in a moment but do not cover every single window of your home with plywood. You don’t want to create a prison from which you have no escape. Generally, just cover the front windows and sidelights by your doors.

Make sure alternative entrances are protected with warning devices. I hang windchimes on windows and decorative bells on doorknobs. Even when I travel, I carry a little windchime to hang on the doorknob of my Airbnb or hotel room to alert me to potential trouble. When my daughter and I faced the potential of unrest in Virginia, I set up a tripwire at the back gate that fired 22 caliber blanks when triggered. Notice – I said blanks. As I mentioned above, you don’t want to set up anything that might hurt someone. 22 caliber isn’t overly loud but it’s enough to alert you that something is going on, and may even scare away less hardy intruders.

Deterring entry

If your home is breached, all is not lost. Your next goal is to make it difficult to get to you. We’ve already discussed that your lights should be turned off. This gives you the advantage of knowing the layout while those who broke in have no idea what they’re walking into.

But darkness isn’t your only advantage. When I was staying with my daughter in her downtown apartment during the COVID lockdowns, we realized that our front hallway was a true weak spot. The front door was solid glass and there were also glass sidelights. The door frame of the old building wasn’t of the highest quality and I could easily see the door being breached, either by the glass being broken or by a strong person simply breaking through due to the weak frame. As renters this is not something we could replace. So, we got plywood cut to fit and I added spacers that allowed the blinds to be between the plywood and the glass, making it look less obvious that we had boarded things up.

However, this didn’t do anything to prevent someone from breaking down the door, so our next step was to make the hallway harder to navigate. I came across this solution accidentally. We had come home late one day and dropped our purchases on the floor right inside the door, along with a purse and a backpack. I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and fell facefirst over a giant box of industrial trashbags. When I tried to catch myself, my foot got tangled in the long strap of my daughter’s purse. This, of course, was all gracefully executed. But as I sat there on the floor with my knee throbbing, I thought, hey, they call these things “stumbling blocks” for a reason.

The next day, I created my own stumbling blocks. I took some of our carry-on luggage and weighted them down with hard cover books. I lined these suitcases along the side of the hallway most of the time, but when unrest was nearby, I could easily roll them where I wanted and lay them down at different angles to make the hallway a bit more difficult to traverse. At the very least, these things will make some racket and slow people down before they get to your refuge.

Setting up a safe zone

And that leads us to the safe zone. You may not have time to create an entire safe room, but you can at least designate one room as a safe zone. Make this room the furthest from the most likely point of entry. (For us the most likely entry would have been the front door and the best option for a safe zone was a bedroom in the back part of the house.) The room needs to have a door to the rest of the house and an emergency way to exit.

You want your safe zone to be comfortable enough for the whole family to hang out in – this could mean pulling an extra mattress into a bedroom or rearranging the furniture. Plan to spend the evening together in this room.

Adults should be armed and prepared in the event that their home is breached. If your home is breached your priority is the safety of those under your care. If you have small children or anyone who is unfamiliar with the safe handling of firearms, please keep your gun on your person for safety purposes. In fact, I recommend that you keep your gun on your person at all times during these situations anyway. You’re not going to be able to say to intruders, “Oh, hold on, I forgot my Glock in the master bedroom.” A gun is like a trauma first aid kit. If you need it, you need it instantly, not in in five minutes.

You should have a plan to barricade the door to the safe zone.  This could mean relocating a heavy piece of furniture near the entrance where you can quickly push it in front of the door if necessary. Your goal here is to slow down and deter intruders.

While you should definitely call 911 if your home is breached to have it on record that you did call for official help, don’t rely on them to dispatch assistance with sirens blaring.  As a woman from Kenosha, Wisconsin recounts of her experience during the riots, “It was apparent from the beginning there was no help. No police, no fire trucks no ambulances. None.” Don’t expect your situation to be any different.

If you have intruders, you may wish to issue a verbal warning letting them know you are armed and will open fire if they continue to try and breach your safe room. For some people that will serve as enough of a deterrent. For others, swept up in the mob mentality, it could serve to enflame them further.

For the love of all things cute and fluffy, remember that you are probably not John Rambo. You might be able to take out a few intruders, but if dozens of people are swarming into your home, you won’t be able to take out all of them. Read this article for more information on escaping an angry mob. You may have family members who will suffer due to your actions, so think things through ahead of time. Don’t just blindly react.

Create a funnel

If, despite your best efforts, people do get into your home, there are things that you can do to manage where they go. Most people in mobs are participating in more of a group mentality – you won’t see a lot of critical thinkers. This means that you can often strategically guide them to the place where you want them.

Where you want them depends upon your goal and this is where the conversation gets tricky. Do you want them to head to the opposite side of the house from where your safe zone is to give yourself more time to escape? Do you want them to be in an area where you can take defensive action from a protected position?

I cannot advise you on a public website to set up some kind of shooting gallery in your home. But consider the following thoughts.

  1. Think about backstops. In the event that you have no option but to defend yourself, what is behind the intruders after you funnel them into your desired location? Would gunfire go through to the next apartment? Out into the street? Or would it be stopped by a concrete wall?
  2. Understand the difference between cover and concealment. Television has done us a terrible disservice when it shows someone tipping over a wooden kitchen table and taking “cover” behind it to survive the intruders opening fire with fully automatic weapons. Concealment means you’re hidden. Cover means you’re protected from most gunfire. If you ARE planning to take aggressive defensive action, you’ll want to do it from a place of cover.
  3. Understand that there will be legal ramifications. Even if you are innocent of all charges, you must prepare yourself for a lengthy and expensive court battle. Any set up you’ve done in advance will likely be used against you in such a battle. If your area is more sympathetic toward rioters than us average folks, you could be in for a barrage of negative publicity and harassment.

Consider all of these things before taking defensive actions. And perhaps reconsider leaving if that remains a possibility it all.

Now, back to our funnel. It’s fairly easy to guide people to where you want them to go. Most people, especially those who are untrained, will take the path that looks most direct and easiest. Figure out all of the options a person in your funnel might have. Options might include open rooms, doors to closed rooms, and exits.

Once you’ve considered what the options are, then make the options you want them to choose EASY and the options you don’t want them to choose CHALLENGING.

Going back to our long front hallway in my daughter’s city apartment, we wanted people in our hall for as long as possible, not scattering to rooms off the hallway. One bedroom near the door had a second door that led to the back part of the house. We definitely didn’t want intruders going that way because we’d end up flanked in our safety zone. I solved this issue by putting a bookcase loaded with books in front of the bedroom door that led to the hallway. Who is going to try and move a giant bookcase when there’s a hallway with 3 open doors ahead of them?

What you’re really doing here is using psychology to manipulate your potential attackers to the place where you want them. This article has a lot of excellent in-depth guidance on preparing your space for such a siege.

Be prepared for fire

One of the most common weapons we’re seeing used in the current spate of riots is fire.

Fires are very common during incidents of civil unrest. Generally, vehicles and commercial properties are where fires are set but in some incidents, homes have been burned too.

Fire is a cowardly attack that doesn’t require any interaction on the part of the arsonist. It flushes out the family inside, leaving you vulnerable to physical assaults. This is the one area in which you may need to make some advance purchases. However, all of these fire-related items are good things to have in your home during ordinary circumstances as well. You probably already have at least one fire extinguisher. If that is all you have, keep it with you in your safe zone.

  • Have fire extinguishers mounted throughout your home. You can buy them in 4-packs from Amazon.
  • During tense times, keep a fire extinguisher right beside your bed. You can use it as both a way to extinguish fires and a weapon if necessary.
  • Be sure to test them frequently and maintain them properly. (Allstate has a page about fire extinguisher maintenance.)
  • Have fire escape ladders that can be attached to a windowsill in all upper story rooms.  Drill with them so that your kids know how to use them if necessary. When I travel by vehicle, I have a fire-escape ladder in with my preps. Hotel fires are not uncommon and I want to have options.

Fires can easily spread from one building to the next, especially if firefighters can’t respond safely or can’t get their fire truck through the mob. Be on the watch for fires in your vicinity.

Fire can also be used as a weapon. Here’s an article about dealing with firebombs and Molotov cocktails should such an event arise.

Don’t close off your escape routes

Something I see a lot are plans that keep everybody out and firmly secure every possible point of entry. And I thought that was a fantastic idea until I took an urban survival course with Selco in Croatia and he pointed out that this can also be appropriately considered a “trap.”

If you put bars on every door and window, you’ve created a prison for those inside. What happens if your home is set on fire? What happens if your home is breached? You need some exits. They don’t have to look obvious and can take only minimal preparation.

For example, I told a family member living in a downtown area to remove the screens from her windows. That saves precious seconds and allows for a far more silent exit than if she were to have to remove the screens while rioters were breaching her front door. She can easily slip through the window, close it back so that nobody immediately realizes where she exited, and head out the back with a minimum of noise.

At the same time, her windows are secured with shatter-resistant film and a bar to prevent them from being raised. That bar can be instantly removed from the inside if she needs to make her escape.

Never ever make your home so difficult to breach that you cannot escape. While your plan may be to stand your ground no matter what, being burned alive would be a terrible way to go.

How would you quickly secure your home if tensions broke out nearby?

I’ve generally lived in places where I had a bit more control over my situation, but when unrest broke out in Virginia near the home I shared with my daughter during the lockdown, I had to creatively secure the apartment using things we had on hand. I hope that some of the ideas we’ve used are useful to you.

We all live in different settings and some of us are more likely than others to face the scenarios mentioned in this article. But take a moment and imagine that “peaceful protesters” were bussed into your neighborhood (or were expected.) Do you have a plan? Does your family know the plan? Do you have any ideas to add to the ones above?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She writes about current events, preparedness, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. On her new website, The Frugalite, she shares thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • This may be a blessing or a curse but I would get a small security camera system. If you can’t afford one then keep your cellphone camera in your shirt pocket with the lens pointing in front of you. If any contact is made with protestors turn it on. Yes, even if your just standing on your front porch talking to them. The caveat is that if you do something illegal it will record that as well. Proceed with abundant caution.

    • P.S. Remember the McCloskey’s…St Louis….Lawyers? Their biggest problem was that all the images of their interaction with the protestors were taken by the protestors. Needless to say the protestors only posted those images that reinforced their claims.

      • That’s a good point. One of those cameras that feeds video right into an online place might be the best idea because then, even if someone destroys the camera itself, the video is safe.

    • Wouldn’t they just pry the camera from your cold, dead fingers? Maybe a Glock makes more sense. That way, if they do anything illegal, it will appear in the local paper…

      • A good friend of mine has 6 cameras around his home.
        Take a look at the camera on your smartphone.
        They are about that big. As they are hard wired (he did that on purpose) the resolution is outstanding.
        Have to be really looking for them to find them.
        By then, he is on the other side of the door with his boom stick.

  • This is a great article filled with good ideas! You are very creative Daisy and it’s a blessing that you share that with us.
    One can never be to prepared and there are always more than one way to skin a critter (so to speak!).
    While the “Racial Equality” sticker is not something I would normally consider it is a very small thing to perhaps secure the integrity of one’s home. Camo is good when it is survival in question!

    Thanks again for all the useful info 🙂

  • Cannot speak to urban or suburban areas.
    But if you look at some of the pics, vids of protesters, I see a lot of them wearing backpacks, tacti-cool gear, body armor.
    All things that add bulk or weight.
    Use that bulk and weight to your advantage but against them.

    • Can you clarify what you mean by that? I know the backpacks make them easier to throw off balance but I’d love to learn more about how this can be used.

      • Goes along with your create a funnel (aka a bottle neck) idea.
        Force the intruders into a narrow area, and have hooks along the sides. Great thing about backpacks with lots of tacti-cool webbing or MOLLY attachment points, gets caught up on all kinds of things (found that out getting in and out of helos, up armored vehicles, MRAPs). Could be heavy duty cargo hooks, screwed into the walls (hey, are you really going to care if you mess up the walls at this point in time, hhummmm?) with a cordless drill.
        Is it going to stop them?
        But a delaying tactic to give you time.

        Make them fall down.
        Body armor, tacti-cool gear and kit is great.
        And it is heavy. So trip them. A 2×4 across the hall way, or even rope. What do most people do when they fall? Put out a hand to try to stop from smashing their face into the floor. What usually breaks? Wrist, followed by collar bone. And that is without the additional weight. There is a possibility of cracking or breaking the free floating ribs or even a connected rib.

        One guy goes down, if the intruders are trying to rush in, they just might stampede or trip on their own guy. Least they have to stop to pick him off the floor.
        Again, makes them pause, gives you time.

        Remove a floor board or two? Good way to break a leg.

        I see some are wearing motorcycle helmets. What do you have laying around the kitchen, bathroom, garage that can obscure their optics? Heck, a jar of Ragu or that jar of your grandmothers preserves sitting in the back of the pantry for the past 5 years could work.
        If they cannot see, they either have take time to clean, remove the helmet (and feel more exposed) completely or leave.

        • Yup 2 kinds of fighting individual. Heavy n light. Apache Indian lightly armed and able to cover ground or medieval knight head to toe armor.
          Neither is wrong though situation dictates.
          Factors in the situation are your physical fitness levels such as can you run like the Apache or carry heavy armor like the knight. Back in the day I was a runner now I’m bull strong but can’t run more than a mile without pain. Life can change you and you better be real about where you are.
          Other factors are terrain, number of enemy, their weaponry, weather and time to critical failure.
          If your a shape and not in shape, unskilled and not mentally there then you aren’t gonna make it. I’m not going to lie to you.
          There are 3 factors to a successful attack: Speed, Surprise and Action of Violence.
          Figure out what is going to give you those.
          If it’s getting naked, smearing yourself with peanut butter (Surprise) and charging(Speed) the crowd in fire dancer pose while striking them with a burning poi (Action of Violence) while chanting in tongues so be it.

          • Matt in OK,
            Well said.
            I was looking at it more from a defensive rearward retreat(minding laws and stuff), delaying tactic.
            IF the law is moot, short controlled bursts at groin level, using premium hunting ammo in .308WIN.

            Ever notice how when naked guy appears on the scene, everyone scatters like roaches when you flip on the lights? LEOs look at EMS.
            EMS look at LEOs.
            “I am not cuffing him till you treat him!”
            “I am not treating him till you cuff him!”
            They say at the same time.
            Odd, is it not?

            • Lol nude ain’t no issue with me. We are fighting. Nude and covered in “PB” I hate lol.
              Tranquilizer darts should be allowed.

          • One thing I don’t often see mentioned in discussions like this is the value of being underestimated. That can really help with the surprise aspect. Criminals often have a certain type of person in mind they’ll try to neutralize first because they’ll see them as the biggest threat. Meanwhile, those who are not seen as threatening may very likely be ready to cause some mayhem.

            Nobody expects a kinda chubby middle-aged mom to be a threat but they also don’t know she’s carrying no less than 3 lethal pointy things and knows how to use them. Nobody expects the little old lady to be carrying a 9mm. Nobody expects the really nice, pleasant looking fellow in a button down shirt to have some kind of fighting experience.

            The way you’re perceived can be very disarming and is a valuable tool.

            • So in your underestimation tact you are using the elements of SURPRISE, not looking like a mall ninja and ACTION of VIOLENCE in deploying weapons so you need to ensure SPEED, by not trying to draw from a pocket or fumbling with retention devices, to complete the 3 elements.
              With the amateur criminals like we are seeing in the street that has actually happened several times where they underestimated someone and it either got them killed, hurt or detained.
              The professional criminal, like the ones I work with, are predators and will watch and exploit your weaknesses.
              Both are equally dangerous in that one is brash and emotionally based while the other is calculated and cunning.
              Regardless of what side your on the last mistake you’ll make in a fight is underestimating your opponent.
              Remember the 3rd Monkey.
              You gotta fight like your the 3rd Monkey on Noah’s Ark ramp and it’s starting to rain in order to make it.

          • “If it’s getting naked, smearing yourself with peanut butter (Surprise) and charging(Speed) the crowd in fire dancer pose while striking them with a burning poi (Action of Violence) while chanting in tongues so be it”

            … actually they might think you’re with them ….

        • To add in what Marine is saying look at their footwear. Most entry ways are a slick cleanable surface. Baby oil it. Shampoo will do in a pinch cause that’s what inmates do in jails.
          Let those slick silly sneakers they wear slide and the weight of their pack drag them down.
          That buys you time for escape or to attack.
          Just leave yourself a clear out.

        • A few spools of 100 lb monofilament fishing line is cheap, darn near invisible, almost impossible to break without a tool, and strung in a web at ankle and face level could create quite an obstacle.

  • I live in a rural area and all of this really makes me quite nervous. Thank you Daisy for giving many words of wisdom, creative ideas, and stories about how you did things. Hopefully, this level of rioting won’t come to this area. Especially since everyone has guns and older homes (easier to break into) are in abundance.

    • There are a lot of things you can do to secure your older home. Regular sash windows can be secured by drilling a hole through the inside frame all the way through into the outside frame and a long nail or heavy metal pin used to secure the two panels of the window together. Make sure cellar windows and exterior entrances are in good repair and able to be locked… installing an additional door at the foot of your bulkhead stairs, if possible, creates an additional layer of security.
      Replace pretty but fragile french doors with something sturdy and practical, or see if you can get metal shutters to cover them. Sliders can be secured by cutting a broom handle to fit and putting that in the slider track to jam it so it can’t be opened from outside.
      There are many other suggestions online, but you get the idea.

      • Window film to prevent shattering on sliders also. Drill for pins high & low on sliders as well as windows. Iron pipe across French doors that are level with window pane frames at high, low & middle positions offer protection & some concealment from outside view. Spikey plants in front of exterior windows may get you a homeowners discount on insurance.

  • This is a great article (as most are!) that’s gotten my blood flowing more than you usually do! I live in the Sacramento suburbs across from a city park, library & police station. I’ve noticed the police heli is in the air much more often since the COVID lockdowns. I had BLM protesters across the street a couple of times after the Floyd craziness, mostly just the bored local white kids attended.

    After reading this all I can think about is finally buying those fire extinguishers I’ve been meaning to acquire (thanks for the Amazon 4-pack tip!), and removing the rocks & metallic bench that sit outside the end of the 4-plex I reside in. Myself & most of my neighbors are armed up to the gills, but as you state this is a very unfriendly climate for folks like ourselves, and I’d like to take additional measures that will increase both my chances of survival AND less legal consequences. Thanks for another great article; and I didn’t comment on your frustrations article, but you’re no whiner and I think you did much to articulate many of our feelings & frustrations in the COVID new normal. And sorry to say this but forget about that previous “normal”, there wasn’t anything REAL about it & it’s not coming back. This doesn’t mean I surrender to the COVID-Nazis but I will learn to adapt & navigate, and hopefully thrive in the future that’s to come. Or get my death sentence for refusing the Fauci-Gates poison needle…opps I mean VACCINE. I’d rather be shot in the head first!

  • Excellent info as always .

    Anyone who doubts that Civil War is heating up should go to “The American Thinker” site and read the article ” The Battle of Nov. 3rd. ” at the bottom of the left hand column.

    • I read it. Interesting, if somewhat distorted perspective. I stopped reading when he insisted that this pandemic has not caused many deaths. We’ve been isolating, masking, and hand-washing for half a year, and still have 200,000 dead – that we know of. Macy other countries, under better leadership, took better precautions, yet still have substantial death rates. And a few other countries, operating under the Drumpf model, have ginormous rates of death.
      Look, we have 4% of the world’s population, but 25% of its prison population. and 25% of its pandemic deaths. The protesters have some legitimate grievances. Regrettably, kooks and nutcases join in such events and make the protests appear violent and dangerous, but there are real issues not being addressed by the selfish class which rules us.
      And, yes, this election will probably result in additional civil chaos. But not because of the protesters, whose greivances are legitimate, even if they are sometimes overstated. But because of the selfish interests, the greedy no-goodniks, the power-hungry aristocracy. Plutocrats always end up screwing the rest of us and destroying the country they’re pillaging. But they get rich in the process, so who can criticize them?

  • I live in a three-story apartment building, on the first floor with my girlfriend and young son. We are pretty well prepared for various incidents of unrest, but the two other couples in the building are certainly not. A few weeks ago, while at the hardware store I wondered “how can I prevent a) a front hallway breach and b) our back door being breached”. Then it hit me (as both doors swing in): I could rapidly pound a few 90° braces in to the floor! So I bought six 6×6 braces and a handful of 4 inch nails, and have then stashed in a drawer (along with a framing hammer) in the living room. Sure, those wouldn’t hold indefinitely, but would slow down or deter looters. And if things were bad enough to warrant doing that, damage to a rental property would be the last thing on my mind. I also keep a magazine, clearly marked with a band of orange electrical tape, half-full of blanks to use as a scare-tactic deterrent. Great article; going to have me thinking for days about other little fast, cheap and easy preps. Prost!

  • I recruited Mother Nature to help me out. I’ve planted some of the stickiest cacti I could find right in front of my windows for several feet out. They are called, ‘jumping cacti’, cause they use static energy to jump right you. Cheap,too,the desert is full of them

    • I’ve been bit by the teddy bear cactus. No fun. Pyricantha, holly, roses, century plants & cactus in front of windows may also be a benefit to lower homeowners insurance. Check with your carriers.

    • Barberry under windows is an excellent plant to use east of the Mississippi. We’ve called those vicious things barbed wire for years. They grow quickly and heaven help you if you want to trim them.

  • The other day I had to leave my teen daughter alone for a bit. I told her that if needed she should run downstairs into the tornado shelter that is in the basement and put the bars across the door. The problem with this is that it is designed to keep us safe in a tornado and so there is only one way in or out. I told her that if she couldn’t get to the basement she could go to my room and lock the door and jump out the window if need be and run and hide. We live in the country and it’s a ways to get to the neighbors. What do you suggest in that situation Daisy? Also, could you have one of those boxes to check to subscribe to remarks left? They are handy as sometimes I forget to look back to check for a response to my comment when I ask a question. Does that make sense?

    • MaryK
      You’ve got the “run”and “hide” options for her. Do you have a “fight” option?
      It’s a 3 prong solution.

      • We don’t have a “fight” option. I was wondering about something like tae-kwon do , but she is very shy and I don’t know if that’s a good option. I don’t know if there are any classes because of the virus now anyways? This is something I’ll have to think on.

    • First step is always to call 911. While I don’t always hold out hope that the police will arrive in time to “save” me, I’d still rather get that call out. That way, at the very least, help will arrive at some point and if anyone is injured or if the attacker was still there, it could be the difference between life and death.

      Do you have a foolproof place for her to hide? If not, consider how you might be able to create one.

      Depending on your daughter, I would get her some way to defend herself. Pepper spray (or pepper gel if she’s asthmatic) might be a good option. It’s non-lethal but would potentially give her a chance to get away. It’s pretty straight-forward to use but go over the instructions with her several times so she thoroughly understands.

      Next is getting to the neighbor’s house. Is there concealment on the way to the neighbor’s house? Can she get there discreetly or is it a big open field? That would help determine her course of action.

      • I told her to call 911 and then to call me so I can head home. There is no fool proof place to hide. We do have old outbuildings, but not really sure if that is a good place or not. We live in the middle of fields basically so there would be very little cover to get to the neighbors. Who knows if they would be home anyways although it would get her away from our place. I told her maybe go hide behind our pool. Maybe not the smartest idea, but it’s an above ground and in the corner of the yard behind a shed and I didn’t think anyone would look there. Pepper spray or gel is a good idea. Where do you buy pepper spray? As you can tell I’m better with the buying of food and supplies than the protection part. Moving is absolutely not an option. I have much thinking to do on this!

        • You can get it on Amazon. I recommend the Sabre brand. This is the one I have and that I got for my daughters.

          The other important thing is that she has access to it when she needs it. In an emergency, you don’t usually have time to go get the tools you need. You may want to get more than one and leave them in places around the house, or have her become accustomed to carrying it with a carabiner on her belt loop.

    • The only problem with the storm shelter is the lack of another exit if there is a fire, also the ventilation. Otherwise, using it as a panic room isn’t a bad idea, provided she has enough notice to get down there. Have a plan b for her, just in case… it’ll make you both feel better.

  • MaryK, I grew up on a farm in Tornado Alley with a shelter under the house somewhat like yours, but here’s the ambiguity. Ours had access only from an outside cellar door. You didn’t mention whether one has to go outside to get into that basement shelter or whether there is an access system (hinged lid in the floor [concealed under a non-skid rug?] and stairs, eg) from inside the house. If going outside is necessary, then some modifications might help. It could be worthwhile to do some inexpensive woodworking to make such an inside floor lid and hinge-down stairs. In addition, there’s a good chance that if you have that outside access system (slightly slanted cellar door on a hinge, cement stairs, door at the bottom — probably not lockable), you might consider strengthening that bottom door and door frame and making it deadbolt lockable from either side.

    Finally, and this is the most expensive possibility, explore the costs of having a concealed passage cut through the basement shelter wall so that there can be a back way escape passage, preferably behind a concealing “something” so it wouldn’t be obvious to anyone who broke through the lockable door system that there was such an escape passage.

    My long gone grandmother used to joke during thunderstorms that “an old lady was just rolling ‘taters down the cellar door again.” A little bit of security modification could make your basement shelter even more useful.


    • The access is from the inside of the house. Down the stairs into the basement. We live in an old farmhouse, but had a small addition added on so that we didn’t have to run outside in storms. It’s perfect except for the fire possibility. We even had a toilet and sink added just in case we were there for a while. Steel door and brackets to hold two steel bars for extra strength. I had her call me from inside with door closed to make sure there was cell signal and there was. We can’t move because we will be paying for this tiny addition for the rest of our lives and there is nowhere in this country that isn’t having problems sadly.

  • I wouldn’t use this as a first choice but….If you aim your can of Wasp spray in the eyes it will give you the ability to address a threat from distance. It will also end the aggression in a moment

    • We’ve covered this many times that you DO NOT USE WASP SPRAY.
      First it’s ineffective. YouTube it.
      Second it’s illegal to use it in a manner other than intended. It’s printed right in the can. But OC spray is legal.

  • as you said in creating a funnel , one or more well placed spot lites facing the point of entry will slow them down giving you time to see if they are armed or whatever , think of the deer in the headlites , if you can flash them on / off ,even better . giving you time to throw something ( like a baseball , or a bowling ball ) to slow or stop them

  • Read on Breitbart today that a home in Minnesota was set on fire for having a large Trump 2020 flag. Also Antifa’s “security” people are now carrying AR’s .

    So convince me we are not looking at Civil War?

    • Stop reading Breitbart. Start getting news from balanced sources. Check Snopes and Politifact to help ID misinformation. And don’t forget there will be some extreme bad actors on BOTH sides.

  • I live in a rural area that so far has been quiet, but who knows what will happen in the future? Meanwhile, I avoid displaying any election candidate or issue signs and don’t fly the US(or any other) flag. I have no bumper stickers on my car. I avoid crowds and protests. I don’t wear t-shirts with anything controversial on them. Very gray man I suppose. This isn’t foolproof of course but for now it will have to do. If I lived in a more urban or suburban locale I might have to do more than this already. Sad that we’ve come to this. I do feel that in many ways my rights of free expression have been compromised but for now I’ll put up with it.

  • Daisy, I have another question about protection and self defense. I feel that I need to learn to shoot. I don’t want to , but I should. Would it be best to go to a gun range or just go out into the open field? Do you have a suggestion for a gun that would fit in my small hands? Maybe you have already done an article on this? Thank you for all the info you share.

    • The best thing you can do is get professional training. Your local gun range should be able to either provide that or recommend someone. I like to go to ranges where I can try out different guns. You’ll find that one probably feels better in your hands when you fire it. I have small hands and my personal favorite is a Glock 19. Keep in mind this gun does not have a safety – some people don’t like it because of that.

      But don’t try to just figure it out on your own. Get at LEAST one lesson to learn how to handle it safely, how to load and unload, and how to hold it properly. Then visit the range at least weekly. It’s a perishable skill.

      I would also suggest that your daughter learns to shoot. My youngest began shooting at 13 under supervision and instruction. I know a lot of kids who start younger than that but we lived in Canada before so had no opportunities there for marksmanship.

        • Mary,
          You can also research women’s only shooting classes.
          Taught by certified instructors, I see more and more are being recognized in many states. Some of us gals do better especially to start out, with just gals in class and early range time.
          I currently an working with a group that is teaching not just basic gun skills but also “home defence” classes that teach not just how to fire from cover or concealment but also goes onto all the legal implications of doing so. I ditto Daisy on training is essential, as is practice. Like any new tool or skill.

    • SpringField Armory Hellcat 9mm. Micro 9mm. 6″ long, 4″ tall, 1″ thick. Highest capacity micro on the market.
      Good luck finding 9mm ammo nowadays.

  • I want to thank you for writing this article. I live in a large democrat city in a tiny apartment and I have prepared but at this point have no alternative place to go for shelter in the event of riots in my neighborhood. I have been reading all sorts of survival blogs but all they talk about is having a ranch, farm, or some sort of land. Getting out of the city etc.. Well, not all of us can afford to have such as we live paycheck to paycheck and getting out of the city at this point requires money, another job, and all that that entails. I have been looking at different states to move and preparing at the same time but all this is approaching so rapidly I’m not sure I will be out before the election.
    I do hope to get out and move to a red state but in the meantime I must be ready for myself and if I’m able others. I’m able now to draw up and envision a plan and just ordered the nifty fire escape ladder. So I want to thank you for your help.

  • Continuum of force. People kicking down your fence or gate, get a blast of rubber shot or pepper balls or rubber sabots from a shot gun. Fall back. People breaking into your house get bird shot. Fall back. People breaking into your safe room get 00 buck or regular pistol rounds. Just a thought. Use the less-lethals first and consider what lies beyond your field of fire (dont shoot like a bunch of trigger-happy cops). Dont fall back to higher floors or basements where you’ll be trapped.

    Wth regard to fire fighting Heavy towels pre-soaked in water are best for quick response. They’ll quickly smother a small fire without all the coughing and gagging powder. After that Cold Fire type extinguishers and pressurized water are best. Regular dry-chems after that. Pre-pare.

    Portable escape ladders are great if you’re spry, nimble and good with heights. They are not useful for many people in an emergency. Better to have an escape hood or gas mask–crawl out through the interior if the smoke is not yet at the floor. Otherwise, open or break out a window, and close doors between you and the fire. Wait for help as long as possible, if there is reason to believe anyone is coming. Then jump feet first as necessary–choosing the best landing zone available. In most fires, you could ride out the fire in a well-sealed room with access to open air–as most deaths are from smoke inhalation. Of course…early evacuation is always the best option if possible.

  • The Geneva Convention has nothing to do with any of this. These are not enemy soldiers coming to your door. You are not an enemy combatant. THESE ARE CRIMINALS COMING TO YOUR DOOR TRYING TO KILL YOU!!! Any and all methods to stop them are legal!! You are fighting for your life!!! These criminals are not going to fight by any rules!! They are going to use any means at their disposal against you. Are they concerned about breaking any laws? NO!! You shouldn’t be either.

  • Duncan Long in his last book writes…” if u have not left the cities…leave them now”….He is in his safe homestead in Utah n he suggests people who are concerned about the riots leave the cities and settle in rural areas. He says not to rely on your AR-15 to defeat the “zombies” coming out of the cities. Most of them will die before they get very far out of the cities….but if you in your rural area are attacked by these critters…hopefully you have developed friends with your neighbors and collectively u should be abel to hold them off. I live near a city and I just know when SHTF happens my apt building will be hit. I have cut 2x4s to barricade the doors and we have privacy screens that have pictures on them. they stand 6 ft tall to separate our kitchenette living room into a separate area where my son sleeps on one end of the room….his space. I have drilled hooks into the livingroom window sills and if SHTF we can hang the wooden dividers horizontally over the widows. It will make it that more difficult to enter the apt via the windows…I have also designated an area in the kitchen as our retreat area. I would pull out the fridge and use it for cover and protect my family with my rifle. In my state i must demonstrate that i retreated as much as possible before i can defend myself with a gun. I have supplies in the pantry closets and also in two storage lockers. The car is kept full of gas and we have bug out bags….we are ready to go…NOTE that in October of 2020 americans ae required to get ” enhanced” drivers licenses in many states. these licenses actually put your face in to the facial recognition data base. It can be used to cross the borders of Canada and Mexico and allows u easy access back in country if u wish…..I don;t know about the requirements of going to Canada for extended stay but to go to Mexico for an extended stay u must start the procedure in the usa…at a mexican consulate. They have monetary requirements. If you are not making a decent income say minimum Social Security you many not qualify for entrance into Mexico…..Just some options for u all..

  • “I cannot advise you on a public website to set up some kind of shooting gallery in your home.”

    Wouldn’t want the shekels to stop coming in now.

    I read your nonsense quite often as it’s linked from elsewhere and I can’t say that I have EVER heard a single thing out of you that wasn’t common sense. Therefore, I have no problem calling you a fraud. This site exists to instill fear in the hopes that people will click one of your thousands of affiliate links.

    The conclusion of EVERY article is, buy this, buy that.

    • It’s fascinating that this is the conclusion you’ve drawn, considering this article is about prepping your home using things you already have on hand. The ONLY recommendations for purchase in the article on which you are commenting are fire extinguishers and an escape ladder. And that is ONLY for people who don’t have them already.

      But hey, thanks for stopping by. I get some “shekels” every single time you do.

      You have a GREAT day.

  • Daisy, there is a new platform that’s like Twitter without the censorship. I just linked one of your articles on it. It’s Mike Adams creation. It would be great to see you there.

  • Any thoughts on a home that has lots of windows, plantation shutters on all of them? Sliding doors to the back patio. If you’re looking at our home (which is a rental btw) there are two gates one to the left and one to the right which lead into the back yard the one to the right is much harder to see and generally isn’t used except for maintenance. When you enter the home there is a narrow hallway immediately to the right which joins back hallway or you can go into the kitchen, but you walk into the living room in front of you and then you can go through the dining area to the back hallway and master. If that makes sense …. the back hallway is long with the master on one end, bedroom in the middle, bath, and other bedroom at the front of the house.

    Our house abuts a hill that is covered with cacti and brush, other houses/street below which means chances are nobody is coming up that way unless they know the deer trails. It’s not a fun way to exit either but could be a possible way to escape in a pinch.

    It’s not the greatest as far as concealment or escape without being seen if we are trying to reach the street.

  • During World War II (in the USA), blackouts were ordered by local authorities from time to time. The purpose was to avoid aiding enemy pilots find the way to their targets (given the navigation equipment of the day). A neighborhood inspector would tour the area during the blackout looking for a glimmer of light. It was Standard Operating Procedure for homeowners to draw their curtains, etc. and then scan their own houses at night to stay a step ahead of the inspectors. Today, a glimmer of light would indicate to the peaceful protesters sightseeing in your neighborhood that someone was hiding inside. Not a good thing.

  • People, people, people……I am a registered Independent but have many mixed friends, some liberal. NONE OF THE TRUE LIBERALS OWN GUNS. They dislike them remember? How are they supposed to start a war without weapons? This civil war thing is Russian fearmongering. Much of the true terrible things happening are done by city gangs (no political affiliation but greed and crime) and Bugaloo types wanting anarchy. And possibly a few extreme actors on both sides. For every Trump sign destroyed there is a Biden sign trashed. Let’s keep calm and realized we are all Americans.

    • You are wildly incorrect when you state that none of the liberals own guns. These radicalized groups – that I’ve written about repeatedly on this website – ARE in fact armed, ARE in fact trained how to use their firearms, and DO have other weapons such as fire which takes no special permission to purchase and no special skill to create.

      As for the rest of your comment, I sincerely hope this article unnecessary.

  • Baby monitors located at break in points to wake you up and let you know someone is breaching.
    May give you a few seconds of advantage.

  • Due to this, you may want to remove anything that is obviously patriotic from the exterior of your home.”

    I’m reminded of harry callahan’s chief warning him, “they’re going to come after you” and harry responding, “good, then we’ll know where they are.”

  • “A small sign in the window that says something like ‘Racial Equality’ may indicate the residents are sympathetic to the cause of those rioting”

    not anymore, these days “racial equality” is considered to be “white supremacy”.

  • I recently acquired a couple of air pistols to allow continued practice on the cheap. Specifically a Boosman P17. It’s full frame, decent sights for what it is, break-barrel so no expensive CO2 cartridges needed. About the same weight in hand as my XDm compact in 9mm. It will also punch a hole right through the end of a standard grocery store can, so may be useful for light hunting in a pinch.

  • “A small sign in the window that says something like “Racial Equality” may indicate the residents are sympathetic to the cause of those rioting ”

    No, it won’t. Back in the summer of 2020 the mayor of Minneapolis (I’m pretty sure it was Minneapolis) had BLM and racial equality flags and signs on the front lawn.

    They attacked him, too.

    I have a saying: “The mob will come for you, too. Saying ‘I’m one of you’ won’t mean a thing.”

    This won’t be a legal suggestion, but I figure out the leader of the mob and put a bullet in him… someone comes into your house in Texas and “Sayonara riot LARPer!”

  • You might consider using a central room like a kitchen rather than a back bedroom that can leave you trapped. A kitchen with access to all entrances and visibility around the house is an option. Stack spare ammunition, water, first aid supplies, fire extinguishers, phones, an axe, etc on the kitchen table an assign everyone a sector and an entrance to observe. keep the lights off so others can’t see in. Dress in heavier clothing that will provide some protection from fire, broken glass, and uninvited personal contact.

  • Daisy,
    How sweet it must be for you and the rest of us who prep for nasty events that may come our way in that we can take comfort that we were right all along. With the horrifying prospect of a worldwide nuclear war, prepping for this kind of event, or another European/American/Chinese war that does not go nuclear, I am so glad I found you and your website several years ago and took heed on ideas that would work for my situation. I have read two of Selcos book on his experiences in Kosovo and being from the Minneapolis area, I took what he wrote very seriously. God forbid should this Russia/Ukraine thing go nuclear. Fingers crossed. Much love always from Fridley, Minnesota. Thanks for all you for us that pay attention.
    Mike Norman
    Fridley, MN

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