Guest Post by Thomas Bryant
It is imperative to harden the security of your home or business. We all want to keep the bad guys away from our families and our stuff – But, you should NEVER add any security measure to a door or window without thinking about how to get out. This is a big LIFE SAFETY concern.
For example, installing a deadbolt lock is one of the most effective ways to harden a door. What if the deadbolt you installed has a keyhole on the inside and outside of the door (double-cylinder)? Do you know where the key is and is it accessible in an emergency? Are you confident you or you children can grab the key, unlock the door and get out of burning house safely? I’m not. ALWAYS install single-cylinder deadbolt locks with a keyhole on the outside and a turn button on the inside to allow for quick egress.
The same scenario above could also apply to a home invasion or a hungry mass overpowering your defenses. We all want to stand our ground, but sometimes its necessary to get out of the house and live to fight another day.
I have read posts that suggest keeping hammers and nails in your SHTF supplies for nailing boards over your windows and doors to keep the unprepared out of your house. BIG mistake.
First, it is a poor security measure. Nails don’t have enough grip to prevent the boards from being kicked in (if nailed on the inside of your house) or pried from the exterior of your house. Second, you can’t get out of the house without removing the boards and nails. If the zombies have decided to smoke you out, you won’t be able to get out and you’ll be overcome by smoke inhalation before you get off the first shot. All of your preparedness
is now in vain.
Tips for boarding up your home
- Have a well thought out and easy to execute Escape Plan – and practice it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher accessible just in case you need to clear a path to an exit.
- At the very least, use screws instead of nails so they can be removed. Keep a cordless drill with extra batteries on hand.
- Have an old fashioned brace-and-bit with a screw tip and/or ratcheting screwdrivers for back up.
- Use sheets of plywood at least 3/4″ thick instead of multiple planks.
I strongly suggest installing horizontal brackets inside your home that will allow you to slide sheets of plywood over window and door openings. These brackets can be constructed from 1″ steel angle and should be secured to the framing members of the house with 3/8″ x 3″ lag screws. You can then secure the plywood sheets with one or two lag screws as slide stops because the 1″ steel angle provides the strength and security. This set up will provide good security and allow for quicker removal.
Katy Bar The Doors!
There are many products available for hardening the security of your doors and windows that also allow for quick egress. Probably the oldest and most reliable is an old fashioned door bar. Modern versions are available from The Katy Bar.
Protect your windows
3M Security Film is a good option for windows. Security film installation is best left to the pros. It can be be done by a DIY but be prepared to buy specialty tools and deal with wrinkles and bubbles. Security film demonstration videos can be found on Youtube. It does have limitations. The thicker the film, the more protection it offers and should be combined with upgraded locking hardware.
Permanently installed Lexan sheets work well to protect the window opening. But again, there is an egress concern. The same with traditional window bars.
Batten Down The Hatches!
In addition to providing greater security for your home, plywood sheets and door bars will also protect you and your home during hurricanes, windstorms and similar weather events.
All us want to keep our families secure. But we also need to keep them safe. Make sure in your efforts to keep them secure they have a quick and safe path out. You never know when you will need to escape your home in a hurry.
Thomas Bryant is 20+ year veteran in the security and alarm industry and blogs at www.securethenest.com
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