Ever wondered if you live close to a potential nuclear target?Even if you live in a small town or rural area... don't think you are safe. Not all strategic targets are in heavily populated areas. Find out if your county is close to ground zero.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters and the Chinese government in Beijing headed for a showdown on Tuesday, as both sides refused to back down over demands for democratic reforms in this financial enclave.
Protesters blocked Hong Kong’s streets for a fifth day Tuesday over anger at China’s refusal to allow the open selection of candidates for Hong Kong’s leader in the city’s first democratic election, scheduled for 2017.
A major confrontation looms Wednesday, a national holiday that marks the 65th anniversary of the Communist Party’s seizure of power in China. With offices and schools closed for two days, the size of the protests could grow.
A statement on Twitter by the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement set the holiday as the deadline for Hong Kong’s leader, Leung Chun-ying, to meet their demands for genuine democracy or step down as the city’s chief executive.
The group said it would announce new civil disobedience plans if no action were taken to meet its demands.
Original Article Source: Hong Kong democracy protesters and Beijing dig in heels
A Marathon gas station clerk in Canton, Ohio found himself in a gunfight with three armed robbers last night.
Despite the odds being stacked against him, it was the would be robbers that ended up on the losing end of the fight.
The clerk struck two of the suspects. All three suspects were able to flee the scene, but the two suspects who were shot were found nearby and taken to an area hospital, where they both died.
The third suspect managed to escape unharmed and is being sought by police. If he is caught, it is likely he will be charged with the murder of his two deceased accomplices.
The clerk was shot once in the leg and is being treated for non life threatening injuries at an area hospital.
Unless there is more to the story than is being reported, the clerk should not face any charges for killing the two men. They have been identified as Antonio Garcia and Ronnie Lawson. Both men were in their early 20′s.
This is a new way for bad guys to steal your ATM pin code using an iPhone without you noticing at all BUT there is a really simple way to prevent it from happening.
What did you think? Are you going to start doing this now?
In an ideal situation, you will have everything from your BOB to your BOL to your BOV preset and ready to go in a SHTF scenario. The problem is that most people do not live in the ideal world.
Most people nowadays live from paycheck to paycheck with minimal money that is free to use as they please. So, your BOV (bug out vehicle) is likely going to be a vehicle that is used on an everyday basis.
That being said, it might be a little difficult to keep your entire bug out readiness equipment and essentials stockpiled in the vehicle. If you are one of the many that this rule applies to, you will likely have limited long-term storage space.
There are three main things that need to be kept and stockpiled in your vehicle at all times, just in case a SHTF scenario occurs.
Vodka is Versatile
By no means am I suggesting that you go get plastered while driving to your BOL (bug out location). Keeping a half gallon of the cheapest vodka you can buy could actually save your life.
Vodka is a great disinfectant when you do not have any other way to sterilize equipment. If you get injured, you can pour it onto the wound, and it will help kill some of the infection that could occur.
Vodka is also extremely flammable. In a situation where you need fire in a hurry, pouring a little vodka and then lighting a flame will almost light up the sky.
Vodka can also be used as a temporary pain reliever or sedative (or sedative). There are many ways that this substance can be used in a SHTF scenario, but you have to remember that it is not meant to party with!
Never too many Tools
When you think of tools, you probably think of hammer, nails and drills.
When I say tools, I mean hammer, nails, drills, sockets, wrenches and every other tool that you can possible fit into the area.
If you need to build a temporary shelter, tools can come in handy. If you break down on the side of the road, tools can get you going again.
If you need to climb, dig, hide, break into an abandoned house, tools will come in handy. The need for tools is going to be never-ending, so you should start gathering them now.
Not only will tools be handy for survival, but they will also be in great demand if there is a need to rebuild civilization. Having equipment to build homes, beds, furniture and more could almost guarantee you a place in a civilized group.
Remember, most groups will not accept new members who cannot contribute to the group as a whole.
Weapons and Ammo
Not that you will necessarily have to shoot someone, but that you may need to get some food or protect your family.
While you BOB will likely have some ammo and weapons, it will likely be very little compared to what you can store in your vehicle.
You can never have enough protection and hunting equipment. Also, there is a great chance that when SHTF gun ammo will be as good as gold when it comes to the barter system.
Not everyone will have been as prepared as you, and they will need ammo to get food for themselves or their families, and that is where an abundance of the cheapest ammo that you can find will be handy.
You might even have enough stockpiled to gain some comfort items with the crappy ammo that you have stored for this exact circumstance.
In an ideal situation, you will have things like tents, sleeping bags, lanterns, lighters, fuel, ammo, food, water and everything else in your vehicle.
If you cannot spare a vehicle to keep stockpiled, make sure that you have your BOB ready to go and your vehicle filled with things that you will need to acquire the fundamentals for surviving the SHTF situation.
Regardless of your situation everything starts in that melon sitting on your head. If you don’t have the right mindset you could very likely find yourself less prepared than you thought you were. Prepping shouldn’t start with stockpiling a bunch of beans and rice, it starts with you taking an honest look at your situation and fixing it. The things you do in your daily life that could hinder your ability to survive any sort of chaotic situation.
How you prep and what you prep really depends on your situation. If you live in an urban area, or an apartment you might not have the room store 100 gallons of water so you might be better served preparing to bug out. If you live in a suburban or rural area you might want to work on your homesteading skills.
If you are in debt up to your ears or have a limited income (like most of us) you might want to take a hard look at what you need and what you don’t need, and what you can spend money on that could serve you better elsewhere.
Unfortunately preppers have this stigma of being alarmists who have their houses filled with MRE’s and Guns just waiting for the end of the world. As you know this is not the case. We just choose to look at the bigger picture, keep our eyes open and plan for our own safety and survival without any government assistance. Preppers and survivalist are not all about doom and gloom, we should all be working towards being responsible self-sufficient adults.
I have recently listened to a couple of episodes of the Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko called “Holy crap, I just found out everything isn’t super” (2 part series) and I have to say, if you have never listened to Jack you should at least check those episodes out, he offers some great advice about how you should look at prepping as a lifestyle and not just preparing for the end of the world.
Jack goes into detail in the podcast about how and where to start you’re prepping but one thing that stood out to me, and I feel is overlooked is the prepper mindset. You can get all the information you want about how much water you need to store, how to purify it and what you need in a good bug out bag, but there is not that much information about how we should think as preppers.
This is the direction I would like to take our upcoming podcast, a direct and realistic look at the modern survivalist lifestyle. Its not all about doom and gloom, it’s about preparing for our future, whatever that may be.
The first step you should take is figuring out what you do on a daily basis that puts you at risk. This could be anything from eating at McDonald’s everyday which affects your health and your wallet to how financially stable you are.
If you are $50,000 dollars in debt, you might want to solve that problem before you go out and spend thousands of dollars on solar panels, generators and bug out supplies. Getting out of debt is not only necessary, it is our responsibility. As he says in the podcast, you can’t blame your momma and you can’t blame Obama, you dug this hole yourself and you need to get yourself out of it.
If we continually buy everything on credit we are not getting out of this imaginary money market that we all know will inevitably collapse. In turn, that problem becomes our problem. It honestly might take you 5 years to get out of debt, but once you are out of debt, you can invest in your future, whether that be gold, silver or solar panels and taking steps towards living off the grid.
When you say investment people automatically think stocks, bonds and 401k’s. As a prepper we need to think the opposite, get away from the paper assets and move towards investing in your future. Someone who has 50K in a retirement plan could have all of that wiped out in no time at all. But someone who has invested in gold and silver will still have that when and if the economy goes to crap. If you can’t hold it in your hand, it’s not real.
All investments are not just monetary, if you spend $600 on a generator, home fortifications or even 20 gas cans to store fuel, these are investments. Think of everything you do as an investment in your future, if you cannot honestly label it an investment you should ask yourself “can I live without this?”
Always ask yourself what if? This is why we prepare; we are basically our own insurance policy. We need to take our personal situation and ask ourselves “what poses the biggest threat to me and my family right now?” and “what if this happens?” We need to always keep our eyes open and our ears peeled because even the smallest inconceivable situation could turn bad in a second.
We get terribly complaisant as we go through our daily routines. We drive the same route to work every day, we stop at the same gas station and we basically have a schedule set for our daily lives. Because of habits we take mental shortcuts to streamline our everyday lives, but these types of patterns are exactly what criminals prey on.
If someone knows you take the same route to work every day and always stop by the bank on your way home, you are a target. If you go to a gas station and leave your keys in the ignition, you are a target. Even if you live in a rural area like me you still have to think what if?
My kids are terrible about locking the door behind them as they go to school because they think “we live in the boonies; no one is going to break in.” This drives me bonkers! And the fact is, it could happen anywhere at any time.
Something as simple as locking a door or taking your keys out of the ignition takes 5 seconds, and could save you hundreds of dollars, undue stress and even save your life.
It’s always good to have food storage and a plan in place if a natural disaster, economic collapse or EMP were to affect your life, but as preppers we need to look at the big picture and take steps towards becoming self-sufficient.
How this all plays out really depends on your personal situation and what steps you need to take before you fill your house with 1000lbs of beans and install solar panels, if your house gets foreclosed on or you have to move, these mean nothing.
Start from the inside out, make a list for yourself and layout the path that is the most plausible and will allow you to reach your goals.
And remember, it doesn’t have to all be done overnight, prepping is a lifestyle and you will never really be fully prepared for anything, and fully Prepared to bug out if that becomes necessary.
If you are not with us, aren’t you against us?
Nearly five million usernames and passwords associated with Google Gmail accounts were hacked and leaked Tuesday on a Russian Bitcoin security forum.
According to a Tweet from Peter Kruse, a Danish cybersecurity expert, the data likely originated from a number of data breaches not just one. Most of the passwords were more than three years old, he added.
Even though the information appears to be outdated, security experts recommend that people regularly update their passwords in the event of such breaches. They also suggest that Gmail users take advantage of the two-factor authentication system, which offers an added layer of security.
Gmail and other Google services have been the target of numerous hacking attacks in recent weeks and months. We reached out to Google to learn more about this latest incident.
“The security of our users’ information is a top priority for us,” a Google spokesperson said. “We have no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that accounts may have been, we take steps to help those users secure their accounts.”
Other recent high-profile hacking incidents include a malware attack on Salesforce.com users, a security breach on JPMorgan Chase’s computer systems, the publication of nude photos stolen from a number of celebrities’ iCloud accounts, and payments-related security breaches at Home Depot, Goodwill and Target.
In the wake of Tuesday’s leak, many news sites recommended that Gmail users check IsLeaked.com to see whether their personal information was among the data that had been hacked. By midday Wednesday, the IsLeaked.com Web site was unavailable, presumably overloaded with visitors attempting to check their account information.
Like other tech companies, Google must play a non-stop game of cat-and-mouse to stay ahead of spam, hacks and other security breaches. After rolling out support for non-Latin characters in Gmail last month, for example, Google announced it would begin rejecting emails with combinations of letters determined to be suspicious under the Unicode Consortium’s “Highly Restricted” specifications.
According to Google insiders, there are no indications that Google’s internal systems were broken into or otherwise illicitly accessed in this latest data leak. Instead, such breaches are often the result of someone stealing usernames and passwords from malware-infected computers. That would explain why the list published Tuesday appears to have been pulled together from a number of older lists that had been assembled over time.
It’s no secret that an opposition to sustainable living exists. Earlier this year, Texas state brought several SWAT teams to a sustainable community and threatened to shut it down. Each one of the community members were initially handcuffed at gunpoint. It was called “The Garden of Eden Community,” and was totally self sustainable. You can read more about that here.
This time, it’s Robin Speronis that’s come under fire. She lives off the grid in Florida, completely independent of the city’s water and electric system. A few weeks ago, officials ruled her off-grid home illegal. Officials cited the International Property Maintenance Code, which mandates that homes be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source. That’s just like saying our dependency on corporations isn’t even a choice. The battle to live without most utilities has been ongoing for Robin, the self-sufficient woman has lived for more than a year and a half using solar energy, a propane camping stove and rain water.
In the end, she was found not guilty of not having a proper sewer or electrical system; but was guilty of not being hooked up to an approved water supply.
So what exactly is off grid living?
“It means living independently, mainly living independently of the utility companies. Providing your own power. It does not mean living in the stone age, it’s not about bush craft. It’s about generating your own power, your own water, dealing with your own waste. Probably as part of a community, not living on your own like a hermit. It’s also about being more self-reliant and being less dependent on the system. Perhaps realizing that the system isn’t really protecting us anymore and we have to look after ourselves.” – George Noory
Our potential as a human race is quite extraordinary, we just don’t realize it. Sustainable living is not about giving up a certain lifestyle, can still have all the modern amenities, design and beyond. Living off the grid wouldn’t be a problem, we have technologies that can generate over-unity power, we have technologies that can provide unlimited amounts of clean energy. I’m talking about free energy, which goes far beyond solar energy. We can have neighborhoods exactly like we do today, even better. They would be totally green, off the grid and self-sufficient.
The only problem with off the grid living is that corporations lose their ability to control others. With a completely self-sustaining life style, no body would ever have to work. What would happen then? Think about that for a moment. We would be free to expand and create, to discover our full potential as a race and move forward into the world of exploration and discovery, all the while living in harmony with nature, not against it.
We’ve accepted the monetary system, and deem it necessary for the proper function of society. Money doesn’t ever have to come in the way of necessity, we’ve just been made to believe that it does. It’s time for the human race to move past the concepts of competition and greed into one that benefits the whole.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozled has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan
The human race does not need to be dependent on these corporations. While we continue to feed this dependency, the planet continues to suffer. In order to move forward, we must start cooperating with each other, and realize just how much potential we have to create something magical and amazing. Bottom line, anybody who has the desire to live off-grid should not be hassled for it, it should be a free choice.
A salt water powered car? Seems like science fiction, but read on:
This car uses a electrolyte flow cell power system that is newly certified for use on Europe’s roads. They call it, the Quant e-Sportlimousine, made its debut in the 2014 Geneva motor show. Not only does it run on salt water, which is freakin’ incredible in and of itself, but it’s said to be able to top 217 miles per hour. After inspection, the German TÜV Süd in Munich gave it the go ahead to be tested on European roads. The company is now preparing to produce the series.
So how does it work? Well, the flow cell system that powers the vehicle’s four electric motors derives energy from the electrochemical reaction created by two electrolyte solutions. The electricity is then stored and distributed when needed by super capacitors.
This definitely looks like the car of the future. What are your thoughts on this? Would you drive one?
Read more at http://higherperspective.com/2014/09/salt-water-powered-car.html#Bs6oGFvMP4bwSqRO.99
I just came across this article and it makes me happy to know that you and I will be prepared for this. This is why it’s important to plan for things like this, for the times it happens and you need to be prepared. Start getting ready now if you haven’t.
Chances are you will hear a lot about El Niño in the next month or two. Meteorologists and weather science experts at the National Weather Service (NWS) say that there is a 99% chance that the we will start to see a massive cold-front sooner in the year than has ever happened, which will produce not just record-breaking snowfall, but according to Dr. Boris Scvediok, a doctor of global weather sciences, record shattering snow storms across the board, affecting the entire United States.
“For the sake of comparison to the past winter, lets say that your area received a total of twenty inches of accumulative snow for the season. Because this year the snowfall is predicted to start by the end of September or the beginning of October, you can expect to multiply that number by up to five, ten, maybe even twenty times in some areas. In the worst zones, you could see 50 times the amount of snow you’ve had in the past. This is the type of winter the American public needs to prepare for. Several meteorologists are saying not to buy into what the models are showing. I can tell you from forty years of scientific weather research, they are doing you a disservice,” Dr. Scvediok told the Associated Press on Friday. “The Northeast, Ohio Valley, and Midwestern states will definitely get hit the hardest.”
Edward F. Blankenbaker, Senior Administrator of Meteorologists, also told the media that this will be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of snowy winter.
“Pretty much everyone will see snow like they never have in their lives. Most younger people don’t even know what an actual blizzard looks like, but by the end of March, they will be seasoned survivalists,” Blankenbaker said. “Everyone needs to make sure they have their weather emergency kits prepared and ready to go. There will undoubtably be mass power outages, which along with freezing temperatures and enough snowfall to immobilize entire cities, will most likely, and unfortunately, be a very dangerous recipe. Safety always comes first and the time to prepare is right now.”
Along with the mention of severe winter weather, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) predicts supply and demand could cause shortages, causing the prices of bread and milk to increase substantially. FDA spokesperson Rebecca Miller suggests alternatives in preparation of the coming months.
“We are encouraging that you go out and purchase bulk amounts of dry, powdered milk which can be stored in your cupboards. This will prevent frantic trips to grocery stores and super markets as the onslaught of storms begin to fall upon your respected region.” Miller said. “As far as bread, we suggest you buy as much as you can efficiently store in your freezer. Bread can be frozen and thawed without compromising the integrity of its quality. Preparations such as these are crucial and the fact that technology has brought us to a time and place in which such events can be predicted is quite remarkable. So stock up on your powdered milk and fill your freezer with loaves of bread, because once the blankets of snow begin to fall, brave souls will confront the elements to raid stores of these products like some sort of scavenger hunt. Don’t be a part of the Snowpocolypse, it’s a dangerous battlefield of crazed shopping winter bitten weather zombies.”
Public safety organizations also encourage the masses to prepare themselves by obtaining proper necessities. James Satterfield from the National Fire and Safety Advisory Board says preparation can save lives. “Don’t wait until temperatures plummet into a freeze; obtain cold weather clothing and footwear, including wool thermal socks. It is also crucial to have plenty of batteries, candles, weather radios, you name it. Get prepared, it’s coming.” Satterfield stated. “First and foremost, make sure you have an effective plan in place to make sure you have plenty of bread and milk.”
Dr. Scvediok says to be prepared for a storm that could come as early as the end of September, and plan for the entire winter season, which this year, he says, will more than likely spread into next June.
This collection of books will provide you with tutorials on many aspects of the off-grid lifestyle that we’re all focused on building.
We have books included that teach you how to build your own eco-home, how to harvest water, how to generate your own power and even growing your own food.
In today’s day and age, many of us are planning on going off-grid, downsizing, homesteading, survival prepping or simply living a more “down to earth” lifestyle, it’s great to have access to information and tips from people who have already done it.
Check out the selection we include below. If you don’t want to spend money on the books, remember that the information on our site is free (we have more detailed courses that you’ll pay for as well).
(Note – Sovereign Survival is an Amazon Affiliate and makes a small commission on sales).
By clicking the image of the book, you’ll be re-directed to Amazon where you can purchase the book.
Earth-sheltered houses utilize thermal mass in order to create a low-impact dwelling. Written by a former contractor and founder of an eco-building school with 27 years experience. Rave reviews.
144 pages, a collection of 20 tutorials from turning old windows into a greenhouse, building a chicken coop, making rainwater collectors and even making an algae bioreactor from water bottles!
This book is another “cult classic” and teaches organic gardening, keeping livestock, preserving meats and fruits, and more.
Author JJ Luna is an “interesting cat” as they might say here in California. He’s written other books about how to “disappear” and live as anonymously as possible (legally). This book is in some ways an extension of those ideas. You can save a ton of money by living in a vehicle – and he gives all kinds of ideas on how to do so effectively.
If you’re really living “out there” you’ll find out that while you can go without solar if you have to, you’re really stuffed without water. This book contains tutorials on the dangers of wild water, purifying your own water, water filter construction, distillation, rainwater collection, water storage, drilling wells and more.
I like the “realness” of this book. This is “real world” modern RV survival for someone who doesn’t have a huge budget to buy a big tract of land in the wilderness. Awesome for the modern nomad or drifter who wants freedom from the steel grip of the big mortgage.
All manner of solar projects from passive solar water heating through to photovoltaic systems, and plenty of simple innovations such as “thermosyphon” solar heat collectors and clever reflector projects that cost little and provide energy!
All manner of projects including building a beehive, solar electricity, cold frame gardening, setting up a root cellar and more.
Forget GMOs for increased yields. Aquaponics is the answer, because it uses closed loop systems (make a note of this phrase, closed loop systems are going to become incredibly important in the years to come.) Aquaponics is an incredible way of creating what is effectively a maximum-yield “ecosystem” designed to produce healthy food. An essential topic for the “off-gridder”.
The classic from Earthship pioneer Michael Reynolds. He has now created a whole series on this topic but this one is the original.
This book is a “cult classic” covering how things used to be done before power tools and modern “conveniences”. Essential stuff from dyeing your own wool with plant pigments through to raising chickens and building a log cabin.
This video by rickvanman is a must see for everyone who grows their own food! If you produce your own vegetable crops, you’ll know that many of them ripen within a very short period of time, leaving you with way more than you can eat fresh – so it’s necessary to find ways to store your surplus produce for the remainder of the year. If you live in a sunny climate, a solar dehydrator can save on both the purchase (easily $500) and the running cost of an electric dehydrator or a freezer and reduce the space needed for home freezing or canning/bottling.
Drying food is a tried and tested way to preserve it – generally speaking home-dried vegetables will last for anything up to a year, although under ideal conditions it can be many years more! They’re also great if you’re out back-packing and need to carry lightweight supplies.
The technology used here is really simple and the materials are easy to come by. Rick gives us good instructions and a clear view of all the steps of the creation process so it’s possible for anyone who has basic DIY skills to have a go.
As the video was posted very soon after Rick made the dryer there are a couple of slight modifications needed – one is simply a 3-inch hole on the back (near the top) of the box to allow warm air to vent out. The other would be to add some fly-screen to the air intake and top vent to keep any bugs out. I would rate this as very important! Also it might help to bring the dehydrator indoors at night to avoid damp getting in.
Another tip to make the most of this device would be of course to buy larger quantities of fruit of vegetables when at a reduced price and dry them at home.
To use spray paint, like this inventor does, it’s crucial to use the right kind of face mask for the solvent vapor or use paint with a brush to stay safe. There could also be concerns about toxic chemicals in treated timber (I would definitely use untreated timber (and perhaps paint the outside surface to preserve it) and food-safe silicone would do instead of glue.
This kind of dryer would also be ideal for quick drying of onions or garlic after lifting before they are stored for the winter.
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t rich enough to purchase one of those neat prefab safe rooms rated to survive F5 tornadoes and Anti tank missiles (I know, I’m exaggerating…) but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a certain room in the house that is our go to Safe Room in the event of natural disasters or home invasions. This article will deal mostly with home invasion, but many of the same principles go into a “storm shelter” room.
But wait, why would someone want to run and hide when a burglar breaks in the door? Isn’t that why we have guns? Why should we hide and let them take whatever they want? First off, yes, you may have the means of defeating the intruder. Multiple intruders? Intruders with the same equipment in hand that you have in your desk drawer?
Let me state clearly, I am not advocating pacifism or any such thing. I am a staunch supporter of Stand your Ground laws. But sometimes that’s not the best way. Let’s say your wife isn’t a “gun person”, she could lock herself in the safe room rather than try to operate a tool she has only a passing familiarity with. What if you leave your 13 y/o in charge of his siblings while you run to the store? Maybe ha can handle firearms, but does he have the confidence necessary to take control of the situation? Beyond that, do you want your child to experience taking a life at such a young age? If he gets his siblings into the safe room then (let me pause for emphasis) EVERYTHING outside that room is replaceable. The situation can run it’s course without loss of life or serious emotional damage. And remember, just ’cause you’ve locked yourself in, doesn’t mean you’re helpless. We’ll talk later about what to do when inside.
But let’s move on. Let me state something so that it is abundantly clear. No Safe Room is Un-Breachable. But there are a lot of things you can do to make it harder than it’s worth. We’re going to discuss how to turn an existing room into a safe room. These same principles can be applied to new construction, often to greater effect.
Location, location, location. Where you locate your room is the first decision you have to make, and it’s an intensely personal decision. If you’re looking for a weather-safe room, you definitely want to go for an interior room. If you want to have a way out (away from the people in the house) then you’re talking about an exterior room with another door or window. If you’re concerned with entry points as vulnerable points in your room, you may again want to have an interior room. I cannot tell you where to have your safe room, only point out that it is a serious matter of consideration.
Entry points. Entry points are weak spots in your perimeter, since they are designed to, well, allow passage, so they will get the first and greatest attention. You should take a moment to go look closely at your door and frame. First off, most interior doors are hollow core doors. This means they have two sheets of ¼ inch plywood with dead air in between. This is not going to stand up to someone who is both determined, and has a strong kick. You should look into replacing it with a steel door (which are also hollow), or a solid wood door. Preferably out of something hard like Oak. The door to your safe room should have a peep hole. These can be purchased and installed with a relatively simple effort, or if you’re replacing the door, you may find one with it built in. If you’re installing it yourself, you may consider mounting it lower, so you can look through it while kneeling, or so your kids can look through it if you aren’t there. One other consideration is that (especially if you’re setting up for weather disasters) your door should definitely open INTO the room. If the storm leaves debris across the door you won’t be able to push it out. Opening into a room is pretty standard, so you likely won’t have to change anything.
Now let’s talk about the door frame. Most frames are a simple ¾ inch pine, which is a fairly soft wood. By the time you drill the hole for the bolt to fit into you’re talking about a very small amount of wood holding the door in place. A swift kick is all it really takes to tear out a door set up this way.
The striker plate can help add some strength to the door, but the standard screws that come with these things are only 1 inch long, and are only set into that little piece of ¾ inch wood, so they will probably pull out with that same kick. If you only make one modification to your safe room, do this; go to your local hardware store and get a box of 3 inch screws. Now go to your door and replace all the screws on your striker plates and hinges with the 3 inchers. This will anchor your strikers and hinges into the 2×4 stud behind the door frame, giving it a much beefier resistance to pull-outs. You should replace the hinge screws one at a time so you don’t risk getting your door out of alignment. They’re tricky to get back.
What about your locks? One thing you’ll notice about your dead-bolts is that they don’t (typically) stick out very far from the edge of the door, just seating in that ¾ piece of soft wood. Have you realized yet that every bit of your security rests on that little piece of scrap wood? You can get dead-bolts that have an extra long throw, again, seating into the studs behind the door frame. Or you can even get steel inserts that go into the wall that accept the bolt. These are not too complicated to install, just involved. It would be much better if you were able to put these in during new construction or a thorough remodel.
You can get dead-bolts in either keyed “one side” or keyed “both sides”. Keyed both sides is recommended for many home security applications, a burglar who breaks a door window can’t reach in and unlock it from the inside. However, these are a BAD idea for a safe room! If you’re trying to get away from an intruder in a hurry (they may even be chasing you down the hall!) you don’t want to have to fumble with a key. So leave these the typical keyed “one side”. And yes, in case you noticed, I am using plurals for a reason. To make your door really rock solid, you should have four dead-bolts. I recommend five actually. Put them in the four corners of your door, top, bottom, left, right, just keep them about 18 inches from the top/bottom edge. The fifth one? Right where it usually is. There are three reasons for this. One: Your door probably came pre-drilled for a standard dead-bolt (though not necessarily) and you’ll need to fill that hole with something anyways. Two: It gives an extra bit of protection right where the assailant is likely to plant their kicks. Three: Goes back to the scenario of locking up quick. It’s just instinctive to reach for the dead-bolt in it’s usual location. Get in and throw the main lock before your attacker gets there and it should hold him off long enough (if you’ve listened to the rest of this so far) to let you lock up tight.
Windows. Windows are typically seen as one of the weakest points of a home, despite the inherent dangers of climbing through broken glass. If you have a window in your safe room (that you aren’t keeping available as an exit) your best bet is to board it up. You could do bars, but then you’ll look like you live in Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela or something. If you are really concerned with appearances, get some window blinds and hang them inside the window frame instead of above it. Most blinds will have instructions for both. Close them up tight and it’ll cover almost all of what you’re doing to the window. You’ll have to remove any interior window trim. Get a good strong piece of plywood, maybe even paint the side towards the exterior if you want. Make sure it overlaps the window, I would recommend to the next stud. Not the one on each side of the frame, the next one. 16 inches should be the furthest you’ll have to look. Again using the 3 inch screws, anchor the tar out of that puppy, both around the edges and around the window sill. Now, you still only have a piece of plywood between you and them, maybe up to an inch. So you’ll need to reinforce it with 2×4’s, or even 2×6’s if you want overkill. I’d space them roughly 6 inches apart, running horizontally, placed edge on to the plywood. It would be easier to attach these before putting up the panel as a whole, screwed in from the exterior side.
Walls are also a lot weaker than most people realize. All you have between the studs is usually two pieces of ½ inch drywall and 3 ½ inches of air. Pretty easy to penetrate, even with a fist, let alone a foot or shoulder.
There are two basic ways to “harden” the walls around your safe room. The first, easy way, is to cut a hole in your sheet-rock, probably from inside your room. Make a funnel of some sort and pour pea gravel into the voids between studs. Remember, studs have a standard spacing of 16” from center to center, with variables for intersecting walls, window/doors etc. You can discuss all day how high you should fill the walls, but just remember the basics to help you decide for yourself. One thing to consider obviously is cost. Filling the voids to six feet will require more gravel than say, waist high. Next consider how high you expect the attack to come. Most people face with the task of penetrating sheet-rock are going to kick it, and the typical front on kick is not going to rise far above their hips, or maybe chest. That’s where you need to be protected.
The second, more expensive way to harden your walls is similar to the first, but when you cut the hole I your wall, insert a 55 gallon bag so the opening is sticking out. This will limit how high you can make your re-enforcement, but you can go higher incrementally. Using a funnel as in the method above, pour wet cement into the bag. The bag will contain it so it doesn’t try to seep through gaps in your construction or through switch boxes etc. The cement hardens and viola, you have a cement wall around your safe room. Do be mindful in both these methods that you need to avoid over taxing the walls from the inside out. Especially with cement, doing it in increments will avoid this. Just wait till it hardens, and it won’t be exerting outward pressure so you can add more on top.
Now, what to do when you’re locked up good and tight? First thing, call for help. Keep a phone in your safe room. Land lines can be cut, and would be by serious home invaders. Cell phones can be left on the counter in a panicked rush, and one that you leave in the room is being paid for (hopefully) for nothing. You can get a cheep pre-paid phone, but remember, most such arrangements allow for your minutes to expire monthly, so you need to make sure it’s current or you may end up with a dial pad paper weight when you need to use it.
If you only plan on calling 911, you can store an unused phone. Some time ago there was an agreement made that any phone, on any carrier, even without a plan of any sort, can access any tower to dial 911. So take an old phone, or a cheap phone, and put it in there. Just bear in mind if you want to make any additional calls (“honey, stay at the store till I call you back”), it will not work for that. Also be aware of battery life. Even keeping it turned off, you should check it occasionally to make sure it won’t fail during a crisis.
Observe. Remember I said you need a peep hole in your door? Watch what’s going on in your house. Any detail you can see could be used to aid the authorities in finding the intruders. (They also help verify when someone on the other side says “It’s safe now, I’m Officer So-and-so, open up”)
Arm yourself. Keep a firearm of some sort in your safe room. I recommend something that makes a loud “Schuck-Schuck” sound. Nearly as effective as firing it. Besides the universally feared sound, it makes a great blast to discourage someone from having an interest in any hole they may have made. Just make sure you’re responsible with it. If you teach your kids how to run to the safe room before you teach them how to handle the gun, make sure they cannot access it.
All of the above steps can be taken piece by piece, individually, modified to suit your situation. As with anything, you will find a trade off when it comes to security vs. effort/cost. Only you will know what you should do, just please do something, even at the very least, plan. A good evacuation plan (even evac to a room INSIDE the house) and rehearsals is probably to biggest single improvement you can make.
A lot of homes builders pretend their final products are environmentally friendly, but a residence made entirely out of wooden pallets is exactly what you might end up with if you’re truly committed to having a low carbon footprint on the environment.
Be warned though, pallets should be treated before acting like walls. But they do a fine job as building structures nonetheless.
I-Beam Architecture and Design shows you just how prototypes from the early 2000s have blended a complex design with an appealing aspect to form a beautiful home.
The pallets are being used to make the porch, the door, the walls and even the roof.
There are a few designs that work well with this type of building creatively and with consideration toward the surrounding environment.
And if you’re already using pallets as furniture (bed, table etc.) what best medium to place them than a house made entirely out of pallets?
So, if you are about to build your own home, or are planning to do so in the next few years, take this option into consideration.
Have a closer look over this award winning homes made out of pallets and decide whether you are going to take the bold step into this direction.
Photo Source: I-Beam Architecture And Design