Don’t Give Anybody Any Ideas

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In an emergency situation, if some marauder was going out to seize by force food, water, and other supplies, what might he look for? This is an OpSec question, and one I should consider as I devote my resources and efforts to getting ready for disaster. I want to be prepared without broadcasting my preparedness to others who might steal from me or do me harm. I don’t want to give anybody any reason to come poking around my house in particular.

gasoline shedSo, what are some of the tell-tale things I might do that could give me up? Consider this list:

  • Antennas. An antenna tower, antenna array, or long dipole on or near my house, or even multiple antennas mounted to my vehicle, could attract the attention of a passer-by seeking information from “outside” the area they believe is affected by the disaster.
  • Out-buildings, sheds, barns, detached garages. The logical places to look for tools, parts, and supplies.
  • A generator. The sound of a generator can be heard for a long distance when other noises of modern convenience have ceased. Likewise, a small utility building with a double-throw switch and power lines leading to your home could give you away. And by all means, when every other house on your block is dark, make sure your house is not a beacon with the warm glow of electric lighting shining forth from every window.
  • Just as the sounds you make could give you away, so with scents. The aroma of grilling meat or sauteed garlic could put ideas in peoples’ heads.
  • Sustainable energy. Solar panels or windmills could tempt a brazen scavenger, or they could raise the question of what other ways I might be prepared to thrive.
  • A garden. There are those who want to reap where they have not sown. A visible garden, greenhouse, or hydroponic setup could invite trouble.
  • Food, water, and supplies in plain sight. What can people see if your garage door is open–or if there’s a window through which they can peer? First-in-first out food organizers, buckets of freeze-dried meals or food in Mylar packages, a gun safe, barrels of water–these will be the equivalent of treasure chests in a situation where peoples’ families are going hungry. What have your neighbors already seen, that they might recall after a major disaster? Or, what might they have seen you carrying into your home from your car?
  • Come to think of it, keep the shades down or the curtains drawn on all your windows. No sense making their recon any easier. Then again, fancy shutters might draw their own kind of attention.
  • Sadly, your vehicles often say something about what might be in your garage or home. An SUV with a roof rack could imply camping gear, or a trailer with mountain bikes could imply tools and gas.
  • A water tower or rain barrels or other rain catchment setups announce your intention of not being dependent on municipal supplies.
  • Give some thought to what your trash might say about you. Be careful when you discard your protein bar wrappers, empty Mountain House packets, antibiotic blister packs, and spent water bottles.
  • Maybe it’s you. Carry a multitool or HT on your belt whenever you go out? Do you EDC a MOLLE assault pack? Your home may be a more desirable target than that lady who always wears yoga pants to walk her shih tzu.

What else can you think of? Let us know in the comments below.

The point is not to forgo communications, power, and supplies, but rather to be careful in what messages you send to people who haven’t prepared like you. The point is not that you can’t help your neighbor, but that you retain the ability to provide for your own household. Just try to not stand out–that would be outstanding!

[Related article: How Much “Sec” in Your OpSec?]