With world political climates becoming stickier by the day, a lot of people are prepping for the worst. For homeowners, that means fortifying their home to protect against invaders, looters, or even environmental damage, like from a hurricane.
But what goes into building a modern fortified house? There are a couple of areas to consider:
- Outside protection
- Indoor protection
- Safe Spaces
- Entrance Fortification
- Escape Routes
In this article, we’ll discuss how to build a fortified home and everything you need to keep your family safe in these trying times.
Your first line of defense is often outside of your house—in your front and backyards. While installing a fence might seem like a no-brainer, you can electrify your fence to prevent attacks from unwitting intruders.
Plus, installing security alarms and cameras can help alert you to suspicious activity long before the invaders ever reach your front door.
Make sure to install your cameras in hidden places, so that if anyone is scouting out your house before an attack, they don’t see them and come up with a plan.
If an intruder happens to make it past your outdoor defenses and into your fortified home, you’ll have to have indoor protection as well.
Think about the layout of your house. Is it wide open and airy? Are there doors to each of the rooms, or do you have archways instead of doorways?
Open and airy constructions are often the least safe because there is nothing between you and the ruffians in the next room over.
Houses with internal doors are much better at buying you some time to get away or prep for a fight.
That being said, inside doors aren’t required to meet the same standards as outside doors. They are often hollow, with poor locks, or none at all.
It might be worth investing in solid wood doors for the inside of your house, that way it will take much longer to break through. And you should install deadbolts on each door to hinder any lock-pickers out there.
If someone breaks into your home, you never want to lock yourself in a room with only one exit (unless, of course, it’s your safe room). Cornering yourself will almost always end in a fight, so navigate to rooms with windows or exits to other rooms in case the invaders happen to break through.
And one last note: if someone gains entry to your home, turn off the lights. You know the layout much better than they do, so it will slow them down. You can use your environment to your advantage by placing furniture in walkways or barricading doors.
There’s a lot of hype right now around bunkers and safe rooms. While these are pretty expensive to install if you didn’t build your house from the ground up, they are great places to stash your prized possessions and your family.
Saferooms should have reinforced doors and frames, as well as being hard to find. Hide the entrance behind a bookshelf or inside a closet — places where no one would think to look.
Panic rooms must lock from the inside, so establish a code with your family so you can let them know when it’s safe to come out.
If you’re really into prepping for disaster, building a bunker that’s connected to the house via an underground tunnel is another option. Some people live year-round in underground bomb shelters, so if you outfit it right, you can outlast even the most persistent intruders.
Just like the panic room, your bunker should have an inconspicuous entrance and multiple doors. Say you install a hatch and a ladder down into a tunnel. There should be a door at the base of the ladder leading into the tunnel, and another one at the entrance to the bunker. Both need to lock from the inside.
Avoid adding electronic locks. Someone with the right skillset can easily gain entry, especially if they have access to your electronic devices in the rest of the house.
Investing in a panic room is an expensive endeavor, so if you’re on a budget it might be worth fortifying an existing room in your house. If you have a root cellar or a big closet, you can install fortified doors and beef up the walls with steel plating to make them more durable.
Most modern houses these days have a pair of doors on each entrance: a screen door and a solid door. The screen door is often a necessity in warmer climates to help increase airflow throughout the house, while the solid door is for protection.
But, if you’re expecting any kind of civil unrest, you’ll probably want better security than a simple wooden door can provide.
Doors and windows tend to be the easiest access points for invaders (unless, of course, they’re deranged and hammer right through your walls).
As such, the doors and windows require extra fortification.
Fortifying Your Doors
There are many security door providers out there that specialize in invasion-resistant doors. These doors are often crafted with state-of-the-art locking technology with multiple deadbolts, making it difficult for lock-pickers to gain entry.
But another feature that these kinds of doors offer is actually in their structure. Under the fancy wooden panels are galvanized steel frames that are resistant to all kinds of destruction. Attackers with sledgehammers or crowbars won’t be able to break in, and anything short of bulldozers will have a tough time knocking your door down.
Plus, the steel construction makes the door bulletproof, which is just another layer of protection.
Most conventional doors have wooden frames, so even if your door is reinforced steel, determined invaders will target the frame or pry the door off its hinges.
Fortified doors have steel frames secured to the foundation with lag bolts, making it near impossible to gain entry.
Fortifying Your Windows
Windows can be a bit trickier than doors because of the glass. However, bulletproof glass is a must for anyone fortifying their home.
Good bulletproof windows are:
- Compliant with UL standards, and resistant to handguns and rifles
- Blast protective up to 45 PSI, as set by the Department of Defense Standards
- Compliant with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards
There are different levels to bulletproof glass, as set down by the 752 UL grading chart. Levels 1-3 are resistant to multiple shots from handguns, including .9mm and .357 Magnum pistols. Higher levels provide greater security against military-grade weaponry, such as the SCAR-L.
At the end of the day, bulletproof windows won’t protect against repeated shots from anything, but it does give you time to escape the house or lock yourself in your safe room.
But, there’s more to fortified windows than glass. They have to function! Just like with the doors, certain companies specialize in crafting tamper-proof frames for government buildings, museums, and corporate offices. These windows provide the same level of protection as reinforced doors while remaining stylish and purposeful.
If bullet-proofing your windows are out of your price range (and they are expensive, ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000), you might want to invest in metal shudders and other ways to seal off your windows.
Installing reinforced steel closures on the insides of your windows will ensure that even if the glass is broken, invaders will have a difficult time breaking through.
If you’re expecting a home invasion, the ultimate prepper’s home will have multiple escape routes. For those not party to the stand-and-fight mentality, having an established escape route will make your life a lot easier.
One of the best ways to escape your house undetected is through a concealed door. Most basements have an entrance to the outdoors, so if that entrance is hidden with a grass tarp, shrubbery, or other natural elements, you might be able to easily slip past the invaders to freedom.
Not all houses are alike, so think about where you could safely escape undetected from your home. It might be through the basement, through an upstairs window and fire escape, or, if you’re really inventive, through an underground tunnel.
No matter how you escape, make sure you have a bug-out bag for you and your family readily available. Who knows how long you might be on the run, so having the right gear is critical for your survival.
Building a bug-out bag is fairly simple, and you can learn a lot from the Internet about prepping for civil unrest or environmental disaster.
Building the Ultimate Prepper House
There’s no time like the present, so start fortifying your house today. The most important elements of a survival house are the entrances, so begin by beefing up your doors and windows with extra security. Creating an escape plan and building a bug-out bag are also logical steps, even if you don’t do anything else.
All basic bug-out bags should include:
- Food rations, like MRE’s
- Medical supplies (gauze, antibacterial ointment, pain-relief, isopropyl alcohol)
- A weapon (a combat knife or handgun)
- Survival gear (lighters, LifeStraw, compass, maps, flashlight, etc.)
- A change of clothes and climate gear (hats, gloves, handwarmers, etc.)
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world today, and you never know when your home might be the target of a burglary. To keep your family safe from harm, it’s critical that you consider your house to always be a potential target.