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10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be a Prepper

If you want to prepare for problems in the future, you can do so. Now, with so much technology and information, a person can do what he or she needs to do to prepare for a disaster. In the past, people were mocked openly for being preppers. However, after Katrina and other disasters, it’s wise to consider becoming a prepper. With this in mind, here are 10 reasons it rocks to be a prepper.

10) Learn great skills

First and foremost, if you are a prepper, you probably know more about survival skills.

This will help you can foods, live frugally and keep an organized and simple life.

Remember, even if you don’t ever need to worry about a huge event, if you have the skills, you can live a safer life.

9) Peace of mind

Obviously, it is great to have peace of mind.

Think about it, if you see trouble brewing, you are not going to panic if you are a prepper.

No, if you know how to live an independent life, you are going to live a happier life in both good and bad times.

8) Community

Now, there are plenty of people interested in prepping.

In fact, people from all backgrounds love to prep for the worst, and you are going to meet plenty of interesting and hardworking people who are interested in prepping.

community

7) Friendly to the environment

If you are a prepper, you probably know a little more about your local environment.

By knowing how to live in the wild, you are more of an environmentalist than people you know.

6) Prepared for anything

If you are prepared for anything, you are going to be happier, more relaxed and enjoy life.

Think about it, if you have some cash stashed away and some water and food, among other things, you won’t have to worry.

5) Take on minor things

While a lot of people prepare for the big event, if you are a prepper, you can prepare for a minor one too.

Think about wildfires, earthquakes and such.

If you have all the items you need, you can deal with minor issues.

4) Help others

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If you have a survival background and plenty of tools, you can help out others in their lives.

This is true whether you are facing a serious event or a normal one.

Remember, the prepper community is all about helping others, and it’s not about exploiting humanity when issues arise.

3) Make you a better person

Let’s face it, we are safer and more secure than ever.

People don’t worry about foot or other issues like they did in the past.

But, if you acknowledge potential problems, you can grow emotionally and spiritually.

2) Frugal

Without being frugal, you are going to struggle in your day-to-day life.

However, if you are a prepper, you are probably already preparing for serious events, both economic and real-world events such as natural disasters.

For this reason, if you are wise, you are probably frugal, which makes life much easier in the short and long run.

1) Prepare your kids

If you have kids and you want them to be independent when they are older, you will help your cause if you show them prepper skills.

Yes, if they can live without power or deal with things that come up in your life, you will have an easier time.

Sadly, as people rely on technology, this is becoming less and less common, and your children will suffer if you don’t teach them survival skills.

For this reason, if you are prepper, your kids will not be ill-prepared for life.

If you are a prepper, you are going to be well-prepared for what comes up. Not only that, your day-to-day life will be easier as you won’t struggle with as many probelms as your friends who aren’t preppers.

Simply put, your life will rock if you are a prepper.

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9 Reasons Why You Suck At Prepping

What is a “prepper?”

Some would say that when survivalists go off Zoloft, they become doomsday preppers. Whether it is the zombie epidemic, the collapse of the Federal Reserve, radioactivity from a supernova explosion, or the armed terrorism of ISIS, preppers believe that the world is headed for the Day of Judgment.

They call it SHTF – when the “sh*t hits the fan.” Consider it insurance against Uncle Sam. Across America, three million people identify themselves as preppers.

Here’s why you’re not one of them.

9 Mistaken Assumptions of the Newbie Prepper

 

1. You are not Jason Bourne.

9 Reasons Why You Suck At Prepping
No matter how many Xbox Live hours you’ve logged on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, you are not adequately prepared for the pandemonium of martial law. You’ve put all your eggs in one basket: an automatic M4 Carbine or semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle.

Take a hint from the years 2008-2013, when AR-15 ammunition was harder to find than a Democrat in Alabama. AR-15 rifles have achieved market saturation, and once Armageddon cometh, ammunition will quickly be stockpiled and sold for Brobdingnagian black market prices.

Your better bet is a double-barrel, pump-action, 12-gauge shotgun. Ammunition is plentiful. Parts are cheap. Uses are multiple. With an adjustable choke, you can hunt everything from rabbits to turkey to fish. With a set of slugs, you can take down a deer or looting criminal.

Take a lesson from Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch in Robert B. Parker’s western novels: Nothing beats a trusty shotgun.

2. You lack potent social skills.

Think your bear spray and bottled water will protect you if a Category 5 Hurricane razes the American South? Think again! Three-quarters of Americans dwell in urban areas. For most survivors, people skills will be more important than survival skills. Ever watched “Survivor”?

Read, study and practice the seminal book, “Social Intelligence,” by Daniel Goleman, and then follow it up with his other work, “Emotional Intelligence.”

Goleman believes that social and emotional intelligence allow humans to navigate complex social situations. Humans are wired to connect at the neural level, he argues.

Mirror neurons encourage empathy, altruism and corroboration. So when you need a shot of penicillin for a bacterial infection, remember that the pen is mightier than the sword.

3. Your stash is a target.

Thomas Hobbes contended in “Leviathan” that the pre-civilized natural condition of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

If Hobbes is right, then once Y2K Edition 2.0 hits, your stash of canned green beans, sourdough starter and salted venison will be under fire. So don’t brag about your stash.

Everyone you inform will either become an asset or a liability. Maximize the first; minimize the second.

4. You fall into analysis paralysis.

Which will come first: a dirty nuclear explosion? Genetically-engineered killer bees? Solar flares? An electromagnetic pulse?

Where does the list end?

Keep your sanity. Plan and prepare only for the top three or four doomsday scenarios.

5. You bug out instead of bugging in.

In the event of an apocalyptic societal collapse, Mother Nature will wipe out far more of mankind than man himself will. Surviving in the wild takes a lot more than a Swiss Army knife and a 120-pack of MREs.

Can you build a snow cave? Brew tea with spruce needles? Identify flint versus sandstone?

Build a water filter using charcoal, leaves and sand? Most preppers will survive the collapse of civilization squirreled away inside a home with a 2,000-watt inverter generator and a gutter garden, not playing hermit in Rocky Mountain National Park.

6. You don’t know how to use your gear.

Can you find the North Star in Argentina?

No, you can’t. Because you didn’t know that once you cross the equator, Polaris disappears, and instead you use the Southern Cross for navigation.

Moral of the story: You must know how to use your gear! Can you convert GPS degrees, minutes and seconds into decimal notation?

Just remember this equation: Decimal value = Degrees + (Minutes/60) + (Seconds/3600). Can you tie a bowline loop, a prusik knot and a hunter’s bend? How about a highwayman’s hitch or a constrictor knot? Can you build a ham radio from parts cobbled together from eBay auctions?

7. You stored all the wrong food.

Freeze-dried chicken breast. Canned French-cut green beans. Spicy Ramen Noodles. You spent $5,000 on food that looks like it’s going on a mission to the moon.

In starvation situations, men have been known to murder longtime friends over a spare bar of chocolate or a fresh orange. So don’t skimp on the sweets, and understand how food is stored. Fight against the six food storage enemies: temperature, oxygen, moisture, pests, light and time.

8. You don’t have any documents.

The most important, most ignored prep is a documentation package: Social Security cards, bank account numbers, family contact information, insurance forms – and a minimum of $5,000 in cash.

9 Reasons Why You Suck At Prepping

9. You forgot to make a personal library.

Doomsday will not be spent fighting invading armies or setting snares for jack rabbits. Most of doomsday will be spent in the shadow of candlelight, surrounded by family and friends, sharing memories and reading outdoorsman handbooks and mystery novels. So don’t ignore the power of entertainment.

Learn to play the harmonica. Amass a personal library. Laugh often.

Don’t just survive; live.

 

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Top 20 Websites for Survivalists

We decided it would be a great idea to put together a top 20 list of the best websites for Survivalists. This is what we’ve come up with from our research and we wanted to provide you with the best information possible.

So here you are!

 

1. Graywolf Survivalhttp://graywolfsurvival.com/%20

– One of the most popular survivalist sites, Graywolfsurvival is informative and easy to navigate.

2. American Preppers Networkhttp://americanpreppersnetwork.com

– This website caters to a wide range of preppers. From novices to seasoned survivalists, this site contains information for everybody, as well as a blog to help you pick up tips from other preppers.

3. The Prepper Journalhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/%20

– This site is very thorough and has a wealth of information, particularly for those who don’t know where to begin. The attractive layout is an added bonus.

4. Sovereign Survival//tipsforsurvivalists.com/%20

– This site is particularly helpful for preppers with families, and is chock full of links to other resources across the web. Great for people at any experience level, particularly those with small children.

5. The Survival Momhttp://thesurvivalmom.com/%20

– While this site appears to cater to women, don’t let the name fool you! This site is great for beginners of all genders who want tips on organization, prepping food, and keeping your kids entertained in the event of a crisis.

6. Doom and Bloom – http://www.doomandbloom.net/%20

– Doom and Bloom is both fun and informational –containing helpful articles as well as a radio channel where you can tune in and get helpful survivalist tips.

7. Off Grid Survival – http://offgridsurvival.com

– While this site is not super heavy on tips for beginners, it is a wealth of knowledge in terms of related news stories and information on practical gear.

8. Survival Spothttp://www.survival-spot.com

– This site is attractive and well laid out, but is recommended for those who already have base-level knowledge; otherwise the high-tech advice could bury a beginner.

9. Prepping To Survivehttp://preppingtosurvive.com/%20

– Where most prepping websites focus on disaster related preparedness, this one targets wilderness survival in general, and is great for the adventurer who wants to be ready in case of emergency.

10. Prepper Resourceshttp://www.prepper-resources.com/%20

– This resource is not only provides information on prepping basics and gun safety, it will also link you to other sites on the web that can expand your knowledge.

11. Survival Cachehttp://survivalcache.com/%20

– While it does contains articles on storing food and water, this site’s main focus is weaponry. While it may seem extreme to some, it is an often overlooked aspect of being prepared.

12. SGT Reporthttp://sgtreport.com/ 

– This website is less about active survival tips and more about the danger we are facing on a daily basis – however, it can be helpful to train yourself to know the warning signs of crisis.

13. The Prepared Ninjahttp://www.thepreparedninja.com/ 

– A short, simple, and well-organized blog for those who understand the fundamentals, but need help with practical execution.

14. Authorized Boots – http://authorizedboots.com/

– Authorized Boots is for all things related to Army boots and tactical gear. They provide their expertise as well as team’s insights to provide high quality reviews of your favorite army boots based on their experience, opinions, and relentless research to be a trusted source in your purchase journey.

15. The Organic Prepperhttp://www.theorganicprepper.ca/%20

– This website is very beginner friendly, but also focuses more on an eco-friendly approach to survivalism. The blogger has several other sites that are related to prepping.

16. Backdoor Survivalhttp://www.backdoorsurvival.com

– While this site is slightly more difficult to navigate, it has a wealth of in-depth preparation tips, particularly for those with large families and those who want tips on training their mind as well as their bug-out bags.

17. Survival Bloghttp://survivalblog.com/%20

– Where some sites are a little skimpy, this site has almost an overload of information; however, it is very organized, and has information that appeals to all level of prepper.

18. Survival MD – http://survivalmd.org

– This website has the only complete medical field survival guide for the laymen…showing you how to treat yourself and loved ones in an emergency when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down.

19. Suburban Prepperhttp://www.suburbanprepper.com/blog/

– Suburban prepper has a few tips for those who are a little more outdoors-y.

20. Blackout USA – http://blackoutusa.org

– This site is all about educating you about a threat so powerful it will wipe out 281 million Americans in the first year. And while NASA, the CIA and the Pentagon are warning us like crazy…no mainstream T.V. or radio outlet is talking about it.

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SHTF Fitness Plan: Your Plan Starts Today

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If you are starting to put together your fitness routine, then you have come to the right place. There are many things that one can do to stay fit, but being fit in an everyday scenario is different from being fit in a SHTF scenario. When shit hits the fan, it is unlikely that you will have a treadmill available to do your running, weights to keep your muscles toned or a gym with a fitness instructor to keep your routines worthwhile and efficient. The truth of the matter is that your SHTF fitness plan should include everyday items, and you should change it up frequently.

Push-ups and Pull-ups

PUSH UPPULL UPS

I know, the dreaded pull-up is most people’s most hated fitness workout ever, but it is important that you can do them. In a worst case scenario, you may have to pull yourself up fire escapes, onto rooftops and into trees. Not only will you need to be able to do this, but you should be able to do it quickly. Push-ups are a great way to begin building the upper body and torso strength that you will need for pull-ups and other activities.

Rock Climbing

ROCK CLIMBING

Okay, so you live in an area that mountains are not readily available. Make your own wall! As silly as it sounds, you can use many different things to practice climbing of all sorts. Climb trees, go for hikes in hilly areas, find ways to scale your house, use a friend’s home as a gym or even go to random public areas and practice! When shit hits the fan, you will be thankful that you have made yourself accustomed to doing more strenuous work because you will be ahead of the game.

Go for Runs

shtf fitness plan

Yes, running on a treadmill is better than not running at all, but it can also be harmful to your SHTF fitness plan. The problem is that treadmills offer a person a place to run in a comfortable, well heated or cooled environment. When SHTF, you will probably have to endure exercising in extreme weather conditions, and that could be a shock to your body if you have not prepared for it. Being able to run a mile in 75 degree temperature is easy, but being able to run 5 miles in 100 degree temperature is what will set you apart from the crowd. Be responsible, carry water and take breaks if you need to, but you should certainly be running in real life environments.

 

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Exercise your Mind and Body

Okay, fitness generally means exercising your body, but in a STHF scenario, having a fit mind is just as important. You should be reading up on all things related to survival, and you should practice whatever you have the means to practice. One important factor to consider is that you will likely have less food readily available than you do now. Make sure that you are prepared to work smarter not harder, so that you may use your energy better.

Go Camping

camping 1

As irrelevant as this may sound, camping is great practice for survivalists and preppers alike. When you go camping, pretend like you are already in a SHTF scenario, but try to survive the night or weekend by only purifying your own water, catching your own food, cooking the food over a fire that you built without the use of modern lighters and try to stay out of sight of others. By pretending that other people may be out to harm you, you will better prepare mentally for a real world scenario.

Get your Family and Children Involved

family fitness

If need be, make it a game for your family. Get them all interested in being fit, and then take them on adventures. By preparing your family, you are ensuring that if something happens to you, they may still have a chance. In a worst case scenario, your children may have to be the ones who are taking care of you if you get hurt. If they know how to hunt, fish, hide, climb and apply basic first aid, your whole family will have more of a chance at surviving the inevitable.

Plan and Practice your Escape Route

More often than not, other people will be trying to leave the area as well. Your goal should be to find the least used route, quickest way to safety and safest way for you and your family to get there. The only problem is that if you do not practice this route, you are likely to forget something essential along the way. Practicing allows you to become familiar with detours, obstacles and traffic before the situation actually occurs.

Being SHTF fit does not simply mean being able to make your own fire, hunt your own food and purify your own water. While those basics are definitely keys to surviving, you will also need to be prepared for what is to come, and have the stamina to keep going if new obstacles arise.

Here is a sample of a daily routine you can do:

shtf workout

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Make your own Safe Room

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.

build a safe room

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.

...  One of my  nephews put their head through the wall when they were 10.  Not alot of resistance there...… One of my nephews put their head through the wall when they were 10. Not alot of resistance there…

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.