Like most of you I have been preparing for the bad times to come. I have made plans with food stores, water, guns and ammo, etc. In my desire for knowledge and to be as prepared as possible I’ve read anything I can get my hands on and I surf the Internet nightly, I also have an impressive library. I have gleaned what I could from all this and fortified where I can. My major concern now lies is in how to protect my family and supplies that I have worked so hard and diligently on, along with personal sacrifice to lay up, from others. The problems are two fold, first the men in the black suits and secondly are our friends and neighbors who have scoffed at our ideas of being prepared for so long and who’s plans are solely to allow the government to come to their rescue and take care of them in their hour of need. I have made preparations to hide what I have stored from the men in the black suits. But if any refugees have a hint you have food stored, or even the perception of possible food this becomes a problem. What can we do about the unprepared who are hungry and will come in force to kill you then take what you have once you are dead? Even if my supplies are hidden refugees still pose a real threat if they believe you have food.
I am a proponent of “bugging in”. This is my best bet for sustainable survival. After the great Society Ending Event (SEE) begins and after the lights go out my plans spring into action. I won’t implement my plans every time the power goes out! Within the first three to four days, after enough time for reality and permanency to set in, then my implementation begins. I then plan on making my house look abandoned and already looted to the potential looter walking by on the street. We have all seen houses that have the look we are discussing. This house is abandoned and has nothing of importance left inside, so why would anyone want to go in that place and waste their time looking for food? I want them to think…”Someone has already beat me too this one, let’s look at another house down the street”. This is the look I am trying to achieve. Perception in everything.
After Hurricane Katrina, when search and rescue went from house to house looking for survivors they devised a system to let other searchers know this house had in fact already been searched. A large X was painted on the house close to the front door. In the top section is listed the number of people living in your home. In the section to the right would be the number of sick removed, while the bottom section would show the number of dead found. I would put a 1 in the bottom section while the rest of the family are listed in the sick column. This will probably not mean a whole lot to those passing by other than some official person has already been there.
Next take old pallets and break them apart, then board up the windows and doors on the outside. Do this in an uneven and hurried fashion. Do not use all the same type or size lumber. The idea is to make it look as if this was done in a hurry and with supplies on hand, you don’t want a look of pre-planning in your efforts. The purpose is to act as if some official person was wanting to seal this house in a hurry and move on to the next one. The reason to do the outside and not the inside is mainly so looters walking by can see this, and secondly if I do the inside and some one tries to open the door they will hit something solid. To the looter this is a red flashing arrow pointing at my house indicating I have food and other supplies.
Inside you will need to cover the windows with black sheets or black plastic, then cover them with plywood and secure to the inside wall to completely block the light. If Mr Looter is brave enough to look through the slats all they will see is darkness. Cover all the windows and doors both inside and out. This will allow family movement inside with light and such without being visible outside. This is a pain in the daytime due to the loss of ambient light but extremely necessary at night. Note: This goes without saying but…This will offer protection from people looking in and seeing if any one is home, it offers very little protection from noise inside being heard outside. This will negate any effort to appear abandoned if I’m making a lot of noise inside. Lastly on the front door slap a bio-hazard quarantine sign. This is the cherry on top! These can be found on the Internet and be printed for now and saved for later use. Now your house has a look of a medical disaster like the deadly new bird flu – H7N9. Perception is everything.
Lets take it up one more level, if there is no power I will have no need of my television. Throw this in the front yard and even shoot a hole through the screen or at least bust it up some (you don’t have any need for this any more). Throw trash in the yard and make your house look as if it has already been looted before the house was quarantined. Another idea is If you have more than 1 vehicle take one and bust out the driver side window, destroy the steering column, and empty out the glove box. This has the look of someone trying to steal your car or looking for food. All this combined together makes the house look less desirable to looters and what they are looking for, I don’t believe you can go over board. If you have the time take some flat black spray paint and spray around the tops of windows and door ways to make it look like smoke escaping from the inside making it appear there was a fire inside. Perception is everything.
To the casual refugee walking by, or even the more observant looter, this house has the appearance of having already been looted, or someone possibly even died in this house from some disease. Why would anyone want to waste their time there when the neighbors house looks untouched and loaded with possible food and supplies. The average looter will be in a hurry and not willing to spend any more time than is necessary taking a closer look. Remember perception is everything.
If someone is still determined on getting inside your home after all the work you have done to make it look as uninviting as possible go to your back up plan. In a closet in the master bedroom ( if it is on the first level and you don’t have a concrete slab floor) remove the carpet and cut a hole in the floor. This will lead under the house. This will provide a place to safely hide from looters, provided you remain quiet. If you are inside your home don’t be fooled by the movies and believe sheetrock walls will stop a bullet. [Unless your house has thick masonry walls,] there is no safe place in your home to hide if those outside are shooting at you inside your house. The prudent looter should be concerned about conserving their ammo but we are talking about hungry, desperate people. When people are under great stress they will do unpredictable things. [Unless it is burned,] hiding under the house will provide a safe place to hide and emerge later, alive.
Getting my plywood cut for each window ahead of time and having my pallets stacked behind the shed now will have me prepared for my deception once the great SEE begins. A note that is obvious but still needs to be said, this work will need to be completed under the cover of darkness. This ruse will have little effect if others are watching you complete the work. A little prep work on your part can make your home safer and appear less desirable for the enviable refugees and possible looters. Perception is everything.
Keep safe. In His Service. – W.K.R. in Kansas
JWR’s Comments: Psychologically, there is a fine line between making a house look undesirable and a making it look like “fair game.” Be careful about the impression that you make.
In my estimation, creating large and convincing-looking Quarantine warning signs is probably a good use of your time and money. If your signs are worded carefully, then they could give anyone except a semantics expert the impression that the Quarantine is to keep people away from sick people inside, rather than to keep sick people out. (When the goal is the latter, rather than the former.) These signs would need to use official looking typography and biohazard emblems, substituting the words “QUARANTINE AREA.” As W.K.R. mentioned, these are even available commercially. If you live in a Mexican border state, then the sign could include, for redundancy: “Medida de sanidad poner en cuarentena”, or more simply: Zona De Cuarentena.” But I must caution that you will first need to research your State’s regulations of what would constitute impersonating a government official, before creating any signs. (These laws vary widely, from state to state. In Texas, for example, their law is written quite broadly and inclusively. Contrast that with Iowa’s terse statute.) There is also a Federal statute, but that seems to center around wearing a uniform or carrying a badge or credentials. If you word a quarantine declaration sign carefully, choose the correct type font, and include biohazard symbols, but omit using any words like “by order of ______ (an agency of government)” or the name or initials of any agency, then you will most likely still be legal. (You can probably vaguely use the words “It is declared”–with no agency named–but again you need to research your own state’s laws.) As the property owner and head of a household, you can of course “declare” a private quarantine. Just don’t impersonate a government official, in doing so! And if there is a doctor in your retreat group, the wording on the sign could truthfully end with something like: “Joe Smith, MD.”
It is also wise to research your state’s laws on “No Trespassing” signs. Creating various signs was discussed in TMM Forums, a few years back. And some useful links to printable signs were included in a Backwoods Home Forum thread.
One more thought: Don’t overlook the human sense of smell, which triggers deep psychological reactions. Depending on the circumstances, simply leaving a large animal gut pile to rot (hidden under some loosely-piled leaves or straw) in your front yard could do much more to deter invaders than anything else. But this would of course only be appropriate if you don’t have neighbors who live close-by!
The bottom line: Fear is a stronger motivator than disinterest or indifference.