Have you considered what you would do to protect yourself and your loved ones in your own home? Both during a short-term emergency as well as one lasting more than a few days or a week? Do you have enough food, guns, ammo and proper planning to keep your family safe from the ethically-challenged? Or are you counting on good will and civility to carry the day?
In reality, the biggest consideration in securing a residence: how long will the neighborhood remain relatively safe?
Because if the neighborhood has become unsafe, individual homes will become vulnerable. After all, in a major emergency, responders may not be available. Heck, telephone service might fail along with Internet service. And that home alarm? Good luck with that.
But rather than pondering how long their neighborhood — and by extension their home — will remain safe, most people worry about “stuff.” They wonder just how many guns – and what type of guns and even what caliber – they need to defend their homes and families. Along with how much food, water, medicine, ammo and fuel they will need to hunker down for a long-term, SHTF-type emergency.
Those are all important considerations, but here are a few things to consider.
Rule #1: Have a gun
First off, just having a gun will make you a harder target for the casual looter. Any gun will work, although long guns will definitely trump handguns on your property. Pump-action and semi-auto rifles and shotguns will offer better protection that single-shot guns. Or double-barrel shotguns.
At the same time, handguns can be easily concealed, giving the defender the advantage of surprise. Not only that, but a concealed handgun won’t make the sheep feel uncomfortable.
“How many spare magazines should I have?” you ask. At least two besides the one in the gun. And JHP ammo to fill them. Really, you can’t have enough loaded magazines on hand.
Got revolver? Buy a couple of speed loaders.
A pistol-caliber carbine or America’s favorite rifle, the AR-15, will allow you to reach out and touch someone down the block or across a field if it comes to that. Skill beats luck, so learn how to shoot your rifle accurately by taking some formal training like Project Appleseed. Again, at least two spare magazines in addition the one in the gun. As a bare minimum.
Remember, when it comes to deadly force, the rules of self-defense don’t go out the window just because there’s no electricity or emergency services are overwhelmed. You generally can’t shoot looters for looting. You can shoot them for attempting to set fire to an occupied structure though.
Depending on the location and your ability to articulate the threat, you might have a case for shooting them for trying to steal life-giving medications and similar items. Might.
In other words, you will likely have to explain to authorities how those bodies out back assumed room temperature. Plus decomposing bodies stink. Two more reasons to avoid shooting if at all possible.
What about food, fuel, generators, solar power, gardens, livestock and so forth?
Here’s the thing, you may have visions of waiting out an apocalypse on the mountain of supplies tucked away in your basement and using a garden out back. However, if you are eating well and your neighbors are hungry and their kids are begging them for food, things could get dicey for you and yours.
Desperate people do desperate things. If they smell bacon and eggs cooking and they haven’t eaten in three days, this situation may pose a problem for you and yours.
The same goes for medications. If the kid down the block uses insulin and they run out and you have some for your kid, guess who will come asking you to share. If you say no, they may not ask so politely the next day.
Build relationships ahead of time
Friendships and relationships will prove invaluable ahead of and during an emergency. Neighbors banding together can help keep a neighborhood — and by extension, individual homes — safe.
Build and maintain a network of friends in other defensible locations in the event of a serious situation. They may have the location, but need manpower to help out, so everyone wins. Consider pre-positioning supplies there, too.
At your home, maintaining supplies including food, water, power and medicine for a short-term emergency lasting a week or two at your residence is wise and prudent. However, storing a year’s supply of essentials in a condominium borders on stupid.
At the same time, don’t make the rookie mistake of thinking you’ll just load up your car(s) and head out to a random location “in the woods” to hunt wildlife and live off the land. That will almost certainly not end well. There will be plenty of others with the same idea and there are only so many Bambis, bunnies and feral pigs in the woods.
And the people who own those woods aren’t going to take a liking to strangers tramping around their property with guns shooting at anything that moves. “Trespassers will be shot” isn’t just a sign in some places. It may not be legal to shoot a trespasser, but if you’re dead those legal niceties won’t matter much.
Have a plan in case you need to leave your home, but plan on a specific location that you know you can access and make secure.
Everyone works together…at first
During the first few days of an emergency, most folks will work together to help their neighbors. However, as more and more families in the neighborhood run out of food and water, things will grow more dangerous for the “haves.”
With that in mind, having a place where you and your loved ones can head will make all the difference about the time things grow unstable and untenable.
After all, the best sure-fire way to win any gun battle is to avoid it.
Plan ahead of time
Have a plan to evacuate your home in a minutes, and another one for a more leisurely evacuation in hours.
The “minute evacuation” plan is in case of something like a fire. Evacuate in hours in case of impending weather-related issues such as a hurricane or flood, or a longer-term disruption of modern life.
For those who live in cities, which is most Americans, paying attention to the community will prove key to deciding when to move to a safer place. Making sure one always has at least a half-tank of gas in the vehicle will help ensure you can make the trip in an emergency. Because walking sucks.
In short, the best way to secure the safety of your family and yourself at your residence for a long-term emergency is to not be there when the looters and ruffians show up. And in the meantime, have a firearm or three to defend your home and family from those ethically-challenged individuals.