One of the most difficult decisions as a homeowner is when/if to abandon your homestead due to threats to your safety. The building itself and your material possessions are replaceable, but years of hard work and investment can be gone in a matter of hours.
As riots and looting sweep the nation, many homeowners are making this decision on a daily basis. When do you leave and when do you stay?
Unfortunately, there is not one right answer, and either choice you make will require significant preparation.
Factors to Consider
When making the decision to vacate your property or to stay and batten down the hatches, there are a few factors to consider:
- Are you armed?
- Are there children involved?
- Are you prepared and willing to use deadly force to defend your home?
- Can you work with your neighbors to secure the neighborhood?
- Do you have a safe place to defect to?
- Can you leave your neighborhood safely?
- Are you the only adult at the property?
- Have you secured your home as fully as you can?
- Are you in an area that is directly threatened?
Answering these questions can help you decide whether to stay or go.
If you Decide to Fight
If you’ve made the decision that you will stay and fight for your home, or if you have determined that you cannot safely leave your home, you will need to prepare your home the best that you can.
Your goals should be to keep rioters and looters at bay, to deter them from choosing your property, and to secure your household.
To keep rioters at bay, install fencing. The more private and higher the fence you can install, the better.
If you currently have chain-link fencing, shore the chain-link up by installing plywood behind it. Add barbed wire to the top of your fencing. Adding motion-activated lighting to your home will also deter rioters and looters, who use darkness to their advantage.
If there’s time or funds available, consider a security system or cameras.
To make your house less desirable to looters, remove all valuables from sight. Hang dark curtains or sheets to cover your windows, and attach security film to the glass.
Keep plywood on hand to cover your windows if needed. Since this will cause damage to the siding of your home, you will want to wait until you feel directly threatened before boarding up the windows.
Secure your household by reinforcing your doors. Replace exterior doors with metal ones if you can, install deadbolts, and trade your basic strike plate for a stronger one.
If you own firearms, keep them loaded and on your person. Have family members take shelter in interior rooms, like bathrooms. Be sure to have fire extinguishers on hand if blazes are set.
If you Decide to Flee
If you have decided that the situation is too dangerous, young children are involved, and/or you are the only adult on the premises, you may decide to leave your home. Before you leave:
- Secure your home with plywood, deadbolts, barbed wire, and lights as if you were staying. If you are lucky, you will return to a habitable building.
- Be absolutely certain that you have a safe place to defect to.
- Gather all supplies that you will need for each member of your family, and any valuables you can bring yourself.
- Leave during daylight hours.
For most Americans, their home is the biggest investment of their lives; blood, sweat, and tears go into building and improving their personal sanctuary. The idea of losing it all is heartbreaking.
But when deciding to fight or flee, remember that new homes can be built; human life is fleeting.
Consider the consequences of each option and make your decision with enough time to react accordingly.