Using Alarms as Part of Your Defenses

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One of the big potential problems in the wake of a major disaster is having to deal with the criminal element taking advantage of the situation. It doesn’t take much for looters to be on the prowl, just a situation bad enough that people evacuate their homes. The worse it gets, the more different types of criminals we’ll see.

We can expect the ranks of the criminals to be greatly augmented in a truly major crisis or TEOTWAWKI event. Desperate people do desperate things and people will become desperate when they can’t feed their children. They’ll be looking for food and other supplies wherever they can find them. If they have any inkling that you might have food in your home, you can be sure they’ll be knocking on your door.

This is the classic post-disaster scenario that we all talk about defending from. But there’s one big problem with it. That is, we have no idea when those people are going to come knocking on our doors. So, we either have to post a lookout at all times or take a chance on them not coming when we’re not looking. Considering the amount of work we’ll have to do to survive, keeping watch full time really isn’t an attractive option; even though it’s all but required for our safety.

The alternative is to have some sort of alarm set, which will let you know if they come onto your property. Any such alarm needs to be hidden, so that people approaching your home won’t see it. But at the same time, it has to alert you that someone is there.

Normally, the solution would be electronic sensors of some kind. But considering that the power tends to go out in pretty much any disaster, those might not be the best choice, unless they are totally battery powered and you have some means of recharging the batteries, like solar.

With that problem, we would probably be better served with something that doesn’t require electricity. The most common alternative is some sort of trip wire. At the most basic level, that’s a wire, strung about six inches above the ground and attacked to a tin can with some pebbles in it. When someone kicks or trips over the string, it shakes the can, making noise.

That works great in a combat zone, at night, when things are quiet enough to hear the pebbles rattle around in the can. But you probably won’t hear it while you’re working in your garden; making it essentially worthless.

Some preppers solution to this problem is to attach the trip wire to a mouse trap that has a chemlight in it. When the wire is disturbed, it trips the trap, breaking the glass vile in the chemlight and causing it to glow. But like the pebbles in the can, this only works if you’re looking for the alarm. It’s less effective in the daytime and especially when you are working.

Leaving electronics aside, the best way to make a trip wire effective is to attach it to some sort of noise maker, like some sort of fireworks that it can cause to go off. That should make enough noise to attract your attention, even if you’re busy doing other things. It would also be safe, as it doesn’t meet the criteria of being a booby trap, which is illegal.

Of course, the other thing you could do is to get a dog and train it to bark at anything or anyone who comes near your home. That’s a much more effective alarm, if you pay attention to it.