The Prepper’s Door: How to Best Defend Your Home’s Entries

Guest post by Naomi Broderick

The Prepper’s Door: How to Best Defend Your Home’s Entries

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In many ways, the door is the most significant part of a home. It can carry heavy symbolic and emotional meanings for some, and if often used to that effect in films and literature. For many, doors are an important aesthetic decision; they come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and colors. But for those with a mind for emergency preparedness, the most important feature is also the most obvious – and that is keeping unwanted elements out while allowing access to the household. Here are a few ways by which preppers can improve the functionality of their doors, depending on whatever emergency threatens their home.

How much damage can your door take?

One of the most unpredictable and common events that can risk the well-being of a homeowner is a home invasion. While home security equipment, appropriate fencing, and reinforced windows can all be excellent components in boosting a home’s ability in resisting home invasion, the truth is that no element is more crucial than the durability of one’s door. The fact is that a great majority of trespasses begin with a door – occasionally by a lock-pick, sometimes from a lock-bump, but most frequently due to a swift kick or shove.

There’s an expression that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and this principle applies very well in considering your doors. While pick resistant locks can be a worthwhile investment, a door which cannot withstand a few blows is nothing less than a hazard to your home security. While solid steel doors may be good for this purpose, they’re often neither appealing nor cost-effective. Instead, consider a few simple modifications that you can include to make your doors stand strong.

A door jamb reinforcement plate can make a huge difference on how well your door resists damage, and this is a popular, cost-effective choice. In addition, chain-anchored screw locks can supplement your reinforcement. When you can expect a great deal of damage to your door, either due to a hurricane warning or knowledge that a home invader is on the way, using a small wedge to support the knob’s corner can make busting through your entrance significantly more difficult.

What is the quality of your locks?

Once your door is sufficiently reinforced to handle brute force, the next way to make sure that your doors are criminal-proof is to install enhanced locks, deadbolts, or even biometric locks (a surprisingly affordable option in this day and age.) Choosing bump-proof models, while potentially expensive, is an essential decision, especially considering that the special “bump keys” made specifically for the purpose of exploiting the vulnerabilities in traditional locks are widely available online through various retailers.

It’s never a wise decision to have doors with windows installed in your primary entrances, since criminals all too frequently shatter these windows to deactivate your locks. Installing a shelf below windows prohibiting access to your lock can be a makeshift solution, but the best option if cost isn’t an issue is to replace the door entirely. Cover any windows on your doors with window film if replacement isn’t an option. If windows are near your door and aren’t reinforced, consider placing furniture or room dividers in such a manner as to avoid letting criminals reach in to disarm any locks you have in place.

How well does it seal your environment?

While keeping out unwanted visitors is a great accomplishment for any well-reinforced door, keeping out the elements is also a desirable goal you can achieve with the right door modifications. This can be particularly important for grid-down scenarios in which your home remains without indoor climate control options, such as what occurs frequently during particularly harsh winters in colder climes.

Weatherizing your doors with weather-stripping should be something already in place no matter what conditions are outside, considering that it can save a great deal of energy from being wasted. Check your hinge screws to ensure that they’re maintained and tight, since they can become loose over regular usage with time. In addition, padding crevices at the seals of your windows and doors with blanketing or thick insulating sheets can help tremendously in keeping the heat naturally generated from your household’s bodies inside.

With these tips, preppers should be able to enhance the functionality of their doors during the times that they need the shelter it provides most. What other ways would you recommend in sealing and protecting a door from home invasion and the elements?

Author’s bio: Naomi Broderick is a stay-at-home mother from the rural Northwest who advocates for emergency preparedness. She currently writes with Protect Your Home, a home security service provider who deals ADT in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Categories: Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “The Prepper’s Door: How to Best Defend Your Home’s Entries

  1. Jack

    Well written.

    But, if you are going to write about something like this, you should do more than scratch the surface. There are SO MANY MORE door-related security concerns that you could/should have also addressed. (e.g. your article isn’t quite finished…)

    Examples:

    1.) Doors come in ALL sizes, which is to say that the garage door is a VERY HUGE security hole for most homes. When it comes to wind-based storms, something like 80%+ of the damages and failures to structures originate with the breach of the garage door. Similarly, just keeping the garage door CLOSED when it’s supposed to closed, is a huge “win.” There are some pretty kewl little smartphone apps nowadays that will allow you to see/check the current status of your garage door (opened, or closed?) Then, let you also change/close it remotely (from the comfort of your bed at night, or at work, etc.)

    2.) Doors that aren’t necessarily yours: Many people live in apartments, and their options for door reinforcement are more limited. Or, people who rent a house, may not be allowed to change/modify the doorways. There are still some excellent ways to reinforce doors that aren’t yours.

    3.) Temporary doors: Much like “doors that aren’t yours,” there are also TONS of tips that could be included regarding temporary doors (e.g. how to secure hotel/motel/resort doors when travelling.)

    4.) Technology versus Doors: A greatly secured door, usually blocks our ability to view visitors on the opposite side. A peephole is typically the “default” and low-tech resolution. But, people on the other side CAN tell whether you are peeking through the peephole, or not. Therefore, this lets them know whether someone is on the other side of the door, or not. Plus, it forces the occupant to place themselves within just a foot or two of proximity to an intruder on the other side of the door. Whereas, technology-based webcams with speakers/microphones can be a MUCH BETTER option! Some of these, too, are smartphone-enabled. Thus, from the safety of your bedroom, saferoom, whatever — you can see who is outside your doorway. Or, even if you aren’t at home, you can make the person outside your home THINK that you are home (e.g. by replying to your door from your office or workplace, the potential intruder ASSUMES that you are inside your home.)

    5.) Man traps for main entryway. I like the idea of controlling the possible options of the would-be intruder. Whether that’s an EXTERNAL man-trap, or an INTERNAL man-trap — or BOTH?!!! e.g. a well-designed entryway can help put would-be intruders into a DEFENSIVE position. If you can force them to enter into a narrow corridor, and “box them in,” you are starting to limit their options. e.g. if push comes to shove, and bullets start flying — you have effectively reduced them from three fields of exit, to only a single path of exit. The less wiggle-room they have, the easier they are to hit! (wink) Note: Many states “Castle Defense” is null & void when you shoot someone in the back. e.g. they were fleeing the scene, and therefore no longer a threat, so you are SUPPOSED to “hold fire.”
    In addition to the external man-traps, I like the idea of a home design that creates an internal man-trap, too. To be a bit less “tactical,” we can call these “entry foyers.” If your front door opens into your open floor plan great room, would-be assailants have quite an open “field of fire” when they force their way past your doorway. Or, when they peer inside your open doorway to “inventory” the site, they get an eyeful if you don’t have an entry foyer. ANY sort of entry foyer creates more security than having none at all. But, THINK about the options of having entry foyer walls that are made of brick/stone, instead of drywall?
    Most apartments and multi-family dwellings have a common/shared foyer door, then individual doorways within. Thus, this is TWO sets of locks that an intruder has to get past. It also creates a mantrap of sorts between the two.
    When I was a kid, before the days of safety faire exits and such, a burglar tailgated his way into my mother’s apartment foyer. They then came up to our third-floor apartment, and forced their way inside. Fortunately for us (unfortunately for the would-be burglar,) we had an over-aggressive, full-sized German Shepard in our unit. Our dog chased the burglar down three flights of stairs. At the bottom, the door wouldn’t open without a key. Thus, the burglar became dog food. These were the days before cell phones. The days before 9-1-1. And, it was something like 2am. So, by the time my mother got out of bed; made sure her kids were okay/secure; looked down the stairs to see what was actually happening; then look-up the phone number to the police department; and manually dial the number with a rotary phone; then wait for the cops to actually arrive… Well, let’s just say that this burglar is now “retired” and no longer a threat to ANYONE. As I recall, our dog finally came back up stairs to our apartment when he got “bored” with his play toy. (Our mom wasn’t big enough to pull our dog off that guys, even if she wanted to.) But, before the cops arrived, our dog was back in our apartment (and the burglar was still “resting” adjacent to the front doorway.) My mother didn’t allow us to see the actual scene. But, the blood stains of that dude were still on the carpeted floor the next morning.
    The MAIN objective of effective man traps, is to “control & limit” the movements of your would-be intruder. In the military, we used a similar tactic to funnel the enemy into our ambush points, and into our overlapping fields of fire. (e.g. man traps large enough to swallow entire convoys of troops and their vehicles. Take out the lead and last vehicle, and then it’s a shooting gallery of everyone remaining in between.)

    6.) Sliding doors and French Doors: We all love them during peaceful times. But, during disasters and such, they can be as much of a risk as our garage doors. There are the “typical” conversations about bars to block the doors from opening/sliding. But, the recent technology advances in security screens and security films begs even MORE attention!

    I could go on with MORE topics. But, I’ll put the ball back into YOUR court to “finish” what you’ve started. Maybe some sort of “Part 2″ update?

    Peace, and keep in preppin’ !!!

    Like

    • Thanks for your compliment and your thoughtful response, Jack. You bring up a lot of great points that a “part two” could address more fully, though I intended my piece to cover the broad strokes. However, I’m hesitant to get into traps or anything that would actually harm would-be intruders — I try to focus exclusively on ways to deter criminals rather than capture or harm them. Still, I think guard dogs are an excellent inclusion despite my reservations. Even “Beware of Dog” signs on properties without dogs make a statement to invaders.

      Like

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