is Your Home?
Securing your home and protecting your family requires more than
simply installing solid door locks and a security system. As people
in the Northeast discovered during the 1998 winter ice storms, crime
is only one type of misfortune that can strike a family.
To illustrate, take the following quiz about the security of your
1. How would you keep your house from freezing in the winter if electricity
were unavailable for a long period of time? Do you have some type
of wood burning heater? What about hot water?
2. Do you have back-up cooking facilities if an earthquake made natural
gas unavailable for a month or two? Could you heat hot water?
3. What if you lose both electricity and gas?
4. Would you be willing to rely on batteries and candles for illumination
if a major power outage lasted more than a week?
5. Do you have extra tanks of potable water should public water supplies
be cut off or contaminated? Would you know how to collect and filter
your own water if none was available for a long time?
6. If a winter storm damaged windows in your home, would you have
sufficient plastic sheeting and repair materials to quickly enclose
the open areas to retain heat?
If you answered "No" to any one of the above questions, your home
is NOT secured, and your family is NOT protected.
"But I live in a thriving area," you say. "Surely my family will
have access to these necessities within a short time." Most of the
time, yes. But maybe not, if a major crisis strikes. For example,
what happens if:
- a labor crisis brings the inflow of food and business goods to
- an economic crisis threatens your pensions, investments, and other
so-called "guaranteed" income?
- a major earthquake or other natural disaster suddenly upsets the
natural social order for months at a time?
- a crisis is followed by massive social unrest? Do you have contingency
plans to exit an urban area if freeways are clogged?
- terrorists attack your area with chemical or biological weapons?
- the unthinkable happens: nuclear war?
Itís easy to dismiss these threats during times of peace and prosperity,
but I assure you they are real. Not only that, but the probably
of such events coming to pass increases every year. But there
are ways to protect your home, and places where your family can be
safe. For an in-depth analysis of North Americaís safest places to
live, see my book, Strategic
Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places. For a
few easy, low-cost remodeling solutions that will give your home and
family the ability to handle multiple crises, read on.
Light and Electricity
For light during power outages, install a few roof-mounted, photo-electric
solar panels. Connect the panels through a mini-regulator to four
golf-cart batteries. You can also buy a small, 12- to 110-volt inverter
and use these batteries to power some essential electronics that will
help you find out what is happening during a crisis, such as a computer,
radio, or small television. I have small, RV-type fluorescent lights
mounted on the walls of every major room in my house. When the power
goes off (which it does fairly often) I just flick on the auxiliary
lighting and go about my business.
You can also install a portable generator, just donít forget the
fuel to run it! And avoid expensive brand name generators like Kohler
and Onan; Samís Clubs, Home Depots, and Costcos often carry these
items at a quarter of the brand-name price. Always get generators
with at least 4500 watts output so you can run a refrigerator or freezer.
My book, The
Secure Home, outlines how to connect the generator right
up to your house circuits without costly switching equipment.
The cost for light, and for vital information during a crisis?
Less than $1,000.
For an additional water source, you could also install a second
hot water tank next to your present tank. Just plumb it so that
incoming water flows through the first tank before going into the
second. Then strap both tanks securely to the wall to keep them from
toppling over during an earthquake.
If your main tank is gas, make the auxiliary one
electric. Just keep the element off until you need it. Even if you
don't need the extra hot water yet, the second tank will serve as
a constant reserve of fresh water in case of a shortage. My book,
Secure Home, contains a complete, easy-to-read plumbing
The cost of ensuring your family has sufficient water supplies
during a crisis? Less than $250.
What will you do if your house is broken into while you and your
family are sleeping? Do you have an early warning system? How can
you protect your family? Gun battles in your home can be deadly for
you and your family, read about modifying your home with an impregnable
security shelter that will protect your family from most any kind
of assault in my special report, How
To Implement a High Security Shelter in the Home. This
information is also inclduded in my book, The
Cook with gas? If so, then buy an electric hot plate or skillet
to back up your gas unit. If you rely on natural gas, you can
buy a set of alternative LP jets for your range and switch to LP gas
during an emergency. While the outlay for an LP gas tank is somewhat
expensive up front (about $1 per gallon of storage), the stored gas
will keep indefinitely.
A cheaper alternative is to buy two to four 20-lb propane BBQ cylinders
and hook them up to a small, propane camp stove. This is best if you
normally cook with electricity. You can read more about these options
The cost of keeping your family fed during an emergency? Between
If you live in a cold climate, always have some backup wood heating
available, preferably an air-tight stove. Not only will this ensure
that your family stays warm if the electricity fails, but the heat
will also keep your pipes from freezing.
When installing a wood-burning stove, itís best to put it in the
basement so that the rising warm air will heat the rest of the house.
Most stoves today also come with an optional hot water heating coil,
which you should always order and hook up to an auxiliary water-heating
tank. This will allow you to have hot water even if there is no electricity
or gas. Find out more about alternative heating options in my book,
The cost for protecting your family and home against the elements?
About $1,200-1,800. Add another $500 for installation of the hot water
Food and Other Essentials
Finally, stockpile essentials in advance. "Essentials" includes
not only food and water, but supplies you might need during an emergency.
Imagine you need to fix something but canít run to the store. And
even if you could, itís unlikely youíd find what you needed, since
most stores are cleaned out in a matter of hours during crises. You
can find several complete stockpiling and storage lists in my special
Packs for Survival.
THE SECURE HOME --Architectural Design, Construction, and Remodeling
of Self-Sufficient Residences and Retreats
3rd Edition, 1999. 700 pages, oversized, illustrated with 100 architectural
details and drawings. $45 plus $9 s/h from Swift Publishing 1-800-644-1057
(order desk only), or by check or money order, mailed to Joel Skousen
290 West 580 South, Orem, Ut, 84058. Sorry to have to charge so much
shipping but this book is huge--it's like mailing a ream of paper.
The Secure Home is the long-awaited update of The Survival
Home Manual, Skousenís popular book last published in 1982. A
near-total rewrite thatís nearly twice the size of the original, The
Secure Home contains dozens of new technical and equipment recommendations.
The book will give you information from A to Z that will help you
create a high-security residence or retreat, from initial design strategies
to construction details and self-sufficiency systems integration.
And many would argue that the final section of recommended products
and sources is worth the price of the book alone, for the time it
will save you in search for suppliers!
The new edition contains five major sections, including:
- General Philosophy and Strategies for Security and Self-Sufficiency
- Planning: Designing for new construction and remodeling
- Integration of Security and Self-sufficiency Systems
- Construction and Implementation
- Listing and Descriptions of Recommended Equipment and Suppliers
While the body of the book only refers to the design and implementation
of generic systems such as wood stoves, solar water heaters, and inverter/battery
systems, the final section details the pros and cons of specific equipment.
This means that future updates of the book will only include a revised
final section. You can also find the most recent version of this section
online at any time, allowing you to update The Secure Home
free at any time.