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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Urban Survival Planning – Home Vulnerability Assessment

Most likely the Urban Survivor is going to stay past the appropriate time when a Bug Out to the Safe Location is indicated, therefore preparations to make the Urban or Suburban home safer after a collapse of society or the infrastructure is vitally necessary.

This starts with the Urban Survival Vulnerability Assessment.

Look at the directions from which possible threats may come and the avenues of approach to bring threats onto your property or the vicinity of your property.

Are their any friends or neighbors that you could rely on for mutually supporting observation and early warning? If so, what is the mechanism for that warning? A simple extended wiring of your vehicle horn can be lead into the house and used to alert the neighborhood using a simply code to indicate direction and threat.

Can you get better observation from your roof or second story? Is there a nearby location to establish an observation post/listening post (LP/OP)? If so, does the LP/OP have a covered and/or concealed approach and withdrawal route back to your house? Be careful about over extending your manpower if you have too few people to provide near security on the house and also accomplish survival tasks like preparing or cooking foods, purifying water, or resting, etc.

It there an unimpeded access along these avenues of approach that presumably threats will come from, straight into your neighborhood or directly to your house? If so, what can you do to minimize this? Large earth planters filled with dirt to stop vehicles? What about placement of, maybe even a re-location of landscaping timbers or large rocks? Thin slats of wood with nails pounded up through them can make effective anti-vehicle spike units.

What about covered or concealed routes for bad guys on foot to approach your house undetected? What is your visibility from all windows in our house? What are the dead zones – meaning the areas that you cannot see? Do you have to cut down or be prepared to cut down brush? What is the soil or ground like next to all your entrances? Remember that windows often make better entrances than doors so consider these too.

Loose gravel next to the house and especially doors and windows will make noise when someone approaches. Windows are easily broken. In the winter time this means a less comfortable and warm place to live. You may decide to collect windows to build a greenhouse to grow life saving food and would therefore need to take a page out of the Florida folks that are imminently prepared for Hurricanes with ½ to ¾ inch plywood cut for all windows with mounting hardware.

Lighting. Can be used several ways. Illuminating approach routes to your house may make intruders look for a softer target – maybe not. If you have solar powered lights when the electrical grid is off, this may draw attention to your house. With solar powered motion detecting lights, you may want to re-route wiring into your home in order to have a command initiated outside lighting system. I would mount these with easily re-moved hardware, wing nuts and such, in order to be able to take them with you once you have initiated the Survival Bug Out Plan as those lights may come in handy someplace else.

Doors. Most every modern home has dead bolts above the door knob, but nothing a shotgun won’t take out (we call that ballistic breaching). Consider commercial or man made braces that go into the floor either on a slot or by friction, and fit underneath the door knob. This is added security that would make intruders spend more time in the fatal funnel of a door way before making their way into the interior of your home.

The ability to defend your home with small arms, meaning the ability to shoot from your home would be important. As important is the ability for you to withstand small arms fire. Most homes provide terrible cover (protection) from small arms fire. Aside from sand bagging or laying sheet steel on the walls around your windows, or using rail road ties or 4”x4” posts, this would be a major job. Any containers that hold dirt would also do.

Need to use the term “wargaming” again. The best vulnerability assessment would come from you wargaming various situations based on the environment you live in then develop counter measures to mitigate the threats and weaknesses you have determined. Again call it “what if’ing” but it is an effective way to look at contingencies and resources needed to implement better plans and contingencies.


  1. love it on to the re-visited post about home defense


  2. Great post. Looking forward to more. Most Urban and Suburban homes pose serious vulnerability issues. There is the added issue that in a more closely populated area, most home hardening measures will attract more attention from authorities as well as gangs.

  3. Yes you are very right in such conditions we have to prepare to stop such situations. Now a days security companies covers many of such topics in their offered SIA security courses.

  4. Secure your home... Know where you live. Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of those who are your neighbors. Access to freeways... If you've got a second story in your home - see what you can see from the windows. Give yourself a bird's eye view.
    Use solar powered garden lights - charge them during the day, take them in and put them in jars to light your night. If you need a greater reflecting light - paint the inside of the jar with silver/mirror paint.