Your Home’s Passive Defenses – part 1

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Every home has at least some passive defenses, even if they are limited. These are the locks and other devices that we add to a home, which make it so that someone can’t just open the door and come on in. While no passive defense system is effective enough to stand on its own, without active defenses to back them up, they do protect the home from the casual criminal, as well as offering the people living in the home an opportunity to react to the threat, grabbing a weapon and mentally shifting from condition white to condition red.

But I have to give you some bad news about the passive defenses in your home. That is, you’ve been lied to. Most of the things that people talk about doing to secure a home are only good to protect it from people who don’t want to draw attention to themselves, while they are breaking in. In other words, just from robbery. They won’t help protect you from home invasion or gang activity.

Mostly, that’s because these people don’t care if they have to make a little noise, breaking something, in order to get in, unlike robbers, who want to get in and out, without anyone knowing they are there.

Since the primary entry points into a home, for any criminal, are through the first floor doors and windows, we’ll concentrate on what needs to be done, in order to make them more secure, so that they really can function as your passive defense network.

Doors

You’ve been told that putting a deadbolt on your entry door will make it secure. You may even have seen some video where a manufacturer is demonstrating how strong that deadbolt is. But there’s one serious problem with that information, the deadbolt isn’t the weak point in the system, the door frame is.

Most home door frames are made out of ¾” pine. What that means is that all the criminal has to do is get that deadbolt to break through that ¾” of pine, which isn’t hard to do, and they can get into your home. Put simply, a swift kick from a booted foot is the master key against a deadbolt.

If the door frame is the weak point, then the key is to strengthen the door frame. One way is to replace the door frame with a metal one. However, finding a home entry door with a metal frame is rather unlikely. So we go to the next best thing, which is to reinforce the door frame with metal.

The deadbolt on your door goes into a small metal plate, called the striker plate. This, in turn, is held in place by two short screws, which just penetrate into the door frame. You can replace this striker plate with a longer one, called a “security striker plate.” Different manufacturers make these in different ways, but the key is that you want the longest one you can find. That way, you can spread the force of the kick over the longest possible area, reducing the chances of breaking the door frame.

When installing the security striker plate, use 3” long screws, not the ¾” long ones that are usually used. That’s long enough to go through the door frame and into the 2”x 4” structural studs behind it. So, in order for that booted foot to break the frame, they’ll have to pull those screws loose from the studs or break the screws. Much more secure.

While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to replace the screws in the door hinges with these longer screws as well. That way, the hinges can’t pull out of the door frame either.

Adding a door prop, a metal rod that goes under the doorknob and braces against the floor, at an angle, is a good idea as well. Another excellent device is the door club, made by the same people who make the club security bar for cars and trucks. This device goes into the floor, acting as a secondary deadbolt, which the criminals won’t suspect is there. It also has the advantage of not being reachable if they break the window.

Your best bet is to use more than one device, increasing the security of your door. Do the same for any other exterior doors you have, like the garage door. While there are always ways of getting through, if they are determined enough, making your door hard to break through will stop a lot of criminals in their tracks.

Next week we’ll talk about windows. In the mean time, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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