In just about every crisis I can think of, security will become an issue. When Hurricane Harvey hit our town and the surrounding areas, criminals and shysters of all types arrived along with the floodwaters to take advantage of hurting people. (You can read about our experiences here.)
“We shoot looters on sight” becomes a familiar sight after natural disasters, and along with your prepping plans, it’s easy to see how important it is to consider home security plans as well.
In a real emergency, it doesn’t matter whether you are bugging in or out, you may need to be warned of intruders. Today many of us sit at home with the doors locked, the windows closed and air conditioning keeping the temperature under control, but after a disaster, we may have to keep all our windows open, to try to stay cool. We found this to be true in the days and weeks following Harvey.
With windows open and strangers flowing in and out of neighborhoods, some helping with the recovery, others with ulterior motives, this eliminates some of the security we normally have. If you have people, who are trying to take advantage of the situation by looting you may need to rig up some early warning systems.
Simple security systems are best
Fortunately, there are many simple ways to give you early warning of intruders. Dogs are great, one of the best early warning systems. Often smaller dogs are more alert and will be quicker to bark. If a dog or two are part of your early warning system, be sure to get your dog ahead of time and get to understand your dog’s reactions. With a bit of training your dog can be a very effective early warning system. In addition, depending on the type of dog they can discourage prowlers.
Another of the simplest early warning systems is to set up tripwires. Tripwire systems are very simple to put up and use. You just have to be sure that the tripwires blend in well with the surrounding. Some types of fishing lines work well, you can get fishing line in different colors.
These can be used at your home, bugout location, or at a campsite, and they can be as simple as a tin can hanging on a line with rocks in it and tripwires. Because my hearing is not very good, I recommend cowbells. You can often find them in thrift stores or garage sales and they make lots of noise. I recently saw cowbells on sale at a local feed store for $2 each. Depending on the size of the cowbells, they can be quite loud and may scare someone off. Just remember if you have one tripped you need to make changes to your layout as the intruders may come back from a different direction and route.
Using YoYo fishing traps for early warning systems.
YoYo traps are a spring-loaded wheel with approximately 12 ft of 60 lb test line with a swivel on the end. For most uses, you tie the reel to a tree or other solid anchor point. You then stretch out the line, which turns the wheel compressing the spring. When you get as much line as you want out, there is a small latch that you place in one of the notches in the wheel. When the line is disturbed, it trips the latch and the spring-loaded wheel reels in the fish. You would normally add more line to the trap.
However, they have an alternate use. They will work well as early warning systems. Simply take a can full of rocks and stretch the string across the area you wish to protect. Set the string at ankle height so that any disturbance will trigger the YoYo fishing reel. You can add fishing line to lengthen the string. When the YoYo fishing reel retracts, it will cause the can to fall or shake, warning you that someone is in the area. There are many other ways that you can use this to trigger a warning, even using it to trigger electronic devices.
This early warning system can be used anywhere
Another simple alarm that can be used in your home or even a motel room is to put an empty glass jar upside down on your doorknob. This will fall (and make a loud noise, except on carpet) should someone simply turn the doorknob. (Warning- the bottle can break leaving glass fragments on the floor). The advantage here is that it just takes the turn of the doorknob to alert you — the potential intruder doesn’t even have to enter your room or push against the door lock for you to be warned ahead of time.
A soda can filled with loose change balanced on the doorknob will make a lot of noise if someone attempts to enter. Windows are also easy to create a trap with cans of change or jars.
You will notice that these are all noise-making devices. I am not recommending any devices that can cause bodily harm. These are just a few of the many possible ways you can rig early warning systems to help protect you from intruders. Today we have just discussed low tech methods, in the future, we will post an article on higher-tech methods.