Make Sure You’re Securing Your Garage Door

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A garage door is an inviting target for thieves to enter your home. On the outside, a closed garage door looks secure, but it can be anything but. Thieves like to try garage doors because too many people leave them unlocked to make it easy to get in and out.

 

Garrett Waldrop, founder of National Garage Doors of Atlanta, says “Garage doors can be secured, but many homeowners don’t take the time to secure their garage doors. Forgetting to lock the door is common, and some people even leave it open all the time. This is an invitation for thieves.”

Securing your garage is easier than you might think. The fundamental step in any home protection plan is to start thinking like a burglar. If you wanted to rob your own garage, what would make it easier or harder to do so? Here are some suggestions to improve your garage security.

Always Use a Physical Lock

Let’s start with the obvious. Lock your garage door and the inner door into your home every time you go to bed or leave the house. Inner doors should use a deadbolt with a reinforced frame. Garage doors often come with a physical deadbolt lock that bolts the door to the frame. However, the slot can become misaligned over time due to wear and tear on the rails. If you can’t bolt your door shut then it needs to be replaced.

Commercial garage doors have locking mechanisms that make doors much harder to open from the outside. Barring ramming the door with a vehicle, these are an excellent deterrent for thieves. However, commercial solutions can make it impossible to use an automatic garage door opener.

Secure Automatic Openers

Physical locks have a major downside. If you park your car in your garage, you’ll have to manually open the door from the inside to park. Automatic openers are risky because it is possible to spoof a garage door opener. Worse, many people leave their automatic openers inside of their vehicles. If a burglar can access your vehicle, then your garage door is easy pickings.

If you must use an automatic opener, use one that requires a code input rather than a single button. That way it won’t help a burglar if they do manage to get the opener from your car if you leave it outside of the garage. Better yet, just use a physical lock or use a remote keypad on the side of your home to punch in the code.

Install Lights

No burglar wants to work in the light where anyone can see. A simple motion detection flood light that covers the front of the garage will make it much more likely that a burglar will get noticed. Even in a remote rural area, a burglar won’t want to work under a spotlight.

Install Cameras

Even installing a fake camera that points to your garage door can serve as an excellent deterrent. There are no lights on home security cameras these days to let a burglar know if it’s on or not. It just has to look like it’s connected.

Avoid Garage Door Windows

Any window into a garage is an entry point, but windows in your garage door are a great target for thieves. Not only do they allow an outsider to look into your garage and see if it’s worth robbing, but they also provide an access point. Deadbolts can’t keep this kind of door secure. It’s easier than you might think to pop the windows out.

Use Steel Doors

In an extreme situation, a burglar could ram your garage door to break into it while you’re away. A frame deadbolt helps, but installing a steel garage door will make it much less likely that a robber like this will have a working vehicle afterward. They’re expensive, but worth considering if you keep a lot of expensive equipment in your garage.

The most important rule for garage door security is to lock your garage door every time. Fancy security doesn’t work if you don’t use it! Make it part of your evening routine to check the garage door and your risk of a garage robbery will go down significantly.

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Protect your Home During the Holidays

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One of the happiest times of the year can also be the scariest. Getting ready for the holidays and being able to celebrate the special day is sure to fill your days with excitement. However, this is also the time of the year when thieves are pounding the pavement to steal things you’ve worked hard to purchase. It’s in your best interest to be a bit more alert during the days leading up to Christmas and to keep a watchful eye out to avoid being robbed of any gifts you have for others. Being aware of some specific tips to help you be more diligent during this time of the year will help with your home protection.

Beef up the security

Of course, you should always be on the lookout for potential robbers year-round. This can help keep your home and your loved ones protected at all times. In fact, it’s ideal to view alarmrelay.com to find tips to secure your home better than ever.

When you rely on a company that wants to help you keep your home intact and free of robbers, this is the ideal way to do so. Adding extra security measures to your property is ideal during the holidays and at all times, as well.

You can also have additional peace of mind if you have an alarm system that is prepared to sound off when your home is approached by others. This is sure to stop this person right away and allow you to avoid dealing with an unfortunate situation.

Check mail daily

You may be so busy during this particular time of the year that you just neglect to keep your eye on the mail. However, this can land you in huge problems when packages are left on your porch all night.

It’s important to bring in all the boxes or mail you receive daily, but more so during the holiday season. It’s a fact that individuals looking to steal from you are more likely to be on the prowl when gifts are arriving at your home daily.

Studies show that 42% of eCommerce purchases are made at Amazon for Christmas gifts and this mean packages arriving daily for some homeowners.

Engage in community watches

The holidays are a good time to get to know your neighbors a little bit better. You can spread some cheer and receive some, as well when you drop off a small gift to people that live next to you.

This is also an ideal time to gather the entire community for a Christmas meeting of sorts. Having a few refreshments and discussing how you can watch out for each other during this time of the year may very well prevent a home invasion attack.

Of course, during this meet and greet, you may learn who is at home during the day, such as stay at home moms and individuals that work from the house. This will allow you to converse with these people a bit and talk about how you can assist each other during the holiday season.

You may not like to think about negative happenings at Christmas, but sadly there are many things that may go wrong rather than right during this particular time of the year. The best gift you can give yourself is to be prepared for what may happen when gifts are bountiful, and prowlers are, too. Be sure to be a bit more cautious and rely on the things listed above to keep help make your holiday as spectacular as it should be.

 

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7 Greatest Dangers for Preppers in the City

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Although I think it’s possible to survive most types of disasters while living in the city, that doesn’t mean the city isn’t more dangerous than the countryside. By choosing to remain in the city, you are facing several potential dangers, and it’s important that you be aware of those dangers. In this article I’ll cover […]

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5 Survival Features to Include in Your Home Bunker

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The perfect time to prepare for a disaster is when you’re building a home. When you control the design, you can add as many structural features as you want to protect yourself, including a bunker.

Bunkers are extremely useful if an emergency strikes. If a disaster or a violent attack strikes your home, you’ll be grateful you have a room that’s perfectly designed for survival and safety.

A bunker is only as good as the structure that holds it, however, as well as the features it comes with. If you want to make sure your emergency shelter will stand up to a catastrophe, here are six of the most important criteria to cover.

  1. Position It Strategically in Your Home

Location is essential for the success of the room. Ideally, your bunker will be situated underground, either in your existing basement or to the side of your home. When it’s encased in the dirt, a bunker affords more encompassing protection from outside forces.

It should be very easy to access from your home. In certain scenarios, you might not be able to exit your house, and you’ll need to get into your safe place quickly and easily. If the location is not readily accessible, it’s not going to do you or your family much good in an emergency.

  1. Make It Impenetrable

The structure should be skillfully designed and constructed so that it can withstand both natural catastrophes and brute force attacks. Many bunkers are built of thick concrete, which is fairly difficult to penetrate.

Other bunkers have steel walls as their primary protection. Many DIY builders start with a cable car or steel crate as the basic form for their shelter because these structures are pretty strong and already built.

In addition, you should make sure it can withstand the elements, especially water. If your region has a flood, your bunker will need to be waterproof. Design the ceiling with an angle to encourage water to flow off it. A waterproof sheet or soil cover can also keep moisture from penetrating the room.

  1. Include Passageways

A worthwhile portion of a great bunker are passages that lead from your home to the contained space. They should be completely safe, with strong walls and no obstacles. They also should be wide enough for ease of access.

Ideally, the channels will have minimum support poles rather than bulky beams to minimize the risk of tripping when you move down the passage. You never know how fast you’ll have to run when the time comes, and you don’t want anyone to get injured along the way.

  1. Watch Out for Obstacles

 

As you’re building the structure, watch that you don’t run into underground water, gas pockets, water pipes, electric circuits, rocks, and any other obstructions that will affect the security and safe function of your bunker.

 

Though you won’t be able to anticipate everything that may get in your way, you can avoid some issues by contacting the city about plumbing, electrical, and other information about the land under your property.

  1. Fill It with Survival Items

The goal of any bunker is to keep yourself and loved ones safe and alive for the duration of an emergency. That includes filling it with survival items. Here are some of the things you’ll want:

  • A 30-day supply of non-perishable food and water for every member of your family
  • Two-way radio
  • Flashlight, lantern, candles, and extra batteries
  • Blankets and extra clothes
  • Tools such as a pocket knife
  • First-aid kit with manual
  • Portable toilet
  • Water purifying kit
  • Hunting gear

These are some of the essential items you’ll want to keep in your shelter, but the list is not exhaustive. It can take a while to accumulate these items, however, so it’s best to start early and add the others as time passes and ideas occur to you.

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8 Threats To Beware Of If You Live In The City

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8 Threats To Beware Of If You Live In The City Urban survival is a popular topic among preppers, probably because most of them–despite dreams of a homestead in the country–live in big cities so they can get to work in a reasonable amount of time. I’d like to tell these people that the city …

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Alpha Bravo Creations: Tactical Hand Signals & Phonetic Alphabet Flash Cards

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I’m to review Flashcards teaching Army Hand signals & the Phonetic Alphabet?

When I received this assignment, I was skeptical. Certainly, communications modes are a specialty I’m familiar with, but I’m no Platoon Leader, and my days of playing Army Man is a bit behind me. Besides, this is a review of kids flashcards, my last dealing with was in learning math in grade school.

But I was surprised when I examined the deck of cards of the Phonetic Alphabet, I immediately got the concept & it’s potential. Then, when I tried out the deck of Army Hand signals & American Sign Language, it struck me that these flashcards are invaluable for not just kids, but for adults too.

Communication in it’s purest sense is simply transferring information from one place to another by any means necessary, either verbally, or non-verbally. So while from the standpoint of preparedness, the ability to convey information clearly & accurately is paramount, the ability to also do so silently can be vital.
So here’s where these flashcards come in handy, (pardon the pun).
Use of hand signals offers clear communication totally unspoken, as any misbehaving youngster frozen in mid-frolic by Mom & Dad pointing at them can attest. Message CLEARLY conveyed.

Each flashcard offers a term or statement with an illustration of it’s accompanying hand gesture. There’s also directions on how to do the gesture.  By learning to recognize the gestures and connect it to the word or statement, standard terms & gestures can be strung together to make whole sentences or concepts. By repetition of using these cards anyone can become proficient in using hand signals.
Like I said… very handy.
It didn’t take long at all for this old dog to learn some new tricks, not long at all.
Hand gestures are useful…(bet you thought I’d say HANDY again), if ever I’d be in a situation where I NEED to communicate without speaking a word. Serious stuff, like  HURRY! THIS WAY to the RALLY POINT.

While Alpha Bravo’s Hand Signals for Kids helps kids add realism to their playacting, what you can learn from them can be a vital aid for anyone in a disaster to emergency.

 
http://www.alphabravocreations.com/military-phonetic-alphabet-flashcards/

Next came the deck of flashcards teaching the Phonetic Alphabet.

If you’ve ever seen a Cop show on TV or a Hollywood Blockbuster War Movie, someone is always talking over a mic saying stuff like”Foxtrot Uniform Bravo Alpha Romeo“…or some sort of drivel. It’s not heatstroke that’s got the actor talking gibberish, it’s the PHONETIC ALPHABET, used to verbalize individual letters using spoken words. Tango is the letter “T”, India the letter “I”, Charlie the letter “C”, and so on.

Using phonetics is handy when noise conditions make it hard to discern single letters. Sounds like “Eee” & “Tee” &”Cee” can often be misheard in a noisy location. So by attributing a word starting with the letter, it’s easier to understand, because you’re more likely to hear parts of a word and mentally fill in the blanks.
With the Phonetic Alphabet Flashcards,  Alpha Delta Creations has presented each letter with a picture symbol depiction of the word, as well as it’s corresponding Morse Code symbol.


HUH! What? Morse Code? Hams do Morse code! Heck, even Rambo tapped out Morse code to send a message in one of his movies! Morse Code is HANDY!

While not a requirement any longer to know Morse Code, it’s still a widely popular mode of communication in Ham Radio, the dots & dashes able to be heard & deciphered, when signal conditions are so poor that vocal speech is “in the mud” & unrecognizable.

I know very well the phonetic alphabet, but I never acquired Morse Code. So now, armed with a set of flash cards depicting them, I’ll bet picking up the code could be just as easy as picking up these cards.

Dare say it… it’ll be CHILD’S PLAY.

My review started out skeptical, but I quickly came around. I seriously suggest getting your kids these flashcards & using them yourself. Who says kids get to do all the fun? In fact, make learning how to do Tactical Hand Signaling AND the Phonetic Alphabet & Morse Code a family fun project. One that may pay SERIOUS dividends later.
(I almost forgot… did anybody catch the reference of “Foxtrot, Uniform, Bravo, Alpha, Romeo”? Learn the Phonetic Alphabet & watch Saving Private Ryan till you do. )
LEARN MORE or ORDER a set of flashcards, visit Alpha Bravo Creations Website. www.alphabravocreations.com

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7 Urban Shelters to Keep You Safe

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7 Urban Shelters to Keep You Safe (Plus an Unconventional 8th)

The idea of urban shelters may seem far-fetched to some. After all, cities are no place to wander around once disaster strikes. Theory says you either bug into your apartment and wait for the whole thing to be over or you bug out before everyone else.

Theory and practice, however, don’t always match. Keep in mind you may not be at home when it happens and, more importantly, that you may not be able to get home. Whatever the case, I suggest you put some thought into what you’d do if your apartment building became unavailable and you’d be unable to bug out.

#1. A Space Blanket

Can this be considered a shelter? Definitely. Anything that can keep you warm can. Obviously, this won’t protect you from rain or snow very well but, still, it’s a good thing to have inside your get home bag or even your everyday carry. Your purse or laptop bag surely has enough room for one. It’s small (when packed) and lightweight. (a smaller, purse size emergency blanket.)

 

#2. Cardboard Boxes

Sure, there’s also the possibility of you finding a large cardboard to fit in, but the most likely scenario is that you’ll need to assemble several of them together. You’re gonna need a few tools to do it, such as a knife and duct tape. If you live in the city, chances are you won’t have a fixed-blade survival knife on you but you might have a pocket knife.

To make sure your shelter lasts well if it rains, you may want to add an outer layer of plastics (such as trash bags). Another thing you can do is use your emergency blanket we just talked about to insulate your cardboard shelter.

This is by far the best article on urban cardboard shelters you can find.

#3. A Dumpster

Yeah, I can sense the smell just by thinking about it too, but you may not have a choice. Careful, though. If you’re too close to the action, angry mobs may want to set your shelter on fire to prove a point to local authorities or law enforcement.

Needless to say, you’ll want to clean it before you use it.

#4. Your Car

Obvious, right? If you have a properly equipped car, you can spend weeks or even months inside and you don’t have to worry about rain, hail and so on. Now, this doesn’t mean your car can withstand any adversity but it’s a lot better than sitting inside a cardboard box.

The biggest when it comes to sleeping in your car is in regards to carbon monoxide intoxication. You may be tempted to leave the engine on to stay warm but this could be fatal if your car has certain flaws. This is even more dangerous if the car inside a garage or some other closed space. There have been cases of people dying like this. Besides, you’d just be wasting fuel you’d otherwise use to get home or to bug out.

Much better to stock up on things that can keep you warm such as:

  • wool blankets (wool is great because it allows your body to breathe, making it better than polyester)
  • hand warmers
  • hats (much of the heat released by the human body goes through the head)
  • tea candles (careful about lighting candles inside your vehicle) or some other type of emergency candle
  • extra clothes

#6. Abandoned Buildings

Yes, there are safety concerns if you go down this route. People might already be inside (you won’t be the first one who’s thought about it), maybe someone will come and surprise you at a later time… you don’t really know what can happen. Still, this could work as long as you do your due diligence.

One of the things you can do today is to walk around your neighborhood and spot any abandoned buildings. If you make a mental note of each, you can check them out every once in a while to see if they’re truly abandoned, maybe even go inside to see what it’s like and spot all the potential exits.

#7. Bivvy Bags

Think of bivvy bags as weird hybrids between tents and sleeping bags. An ultralight bivvy bag, on the other hand, can be added to your get home bag. On the other hand, if you have access to your sleeping bag, you’re either at home or you have your car, in which case you probably won’t have to sleep on the cold, wet streets of your town or city.

 

Final Word

Well, there you have it. 7 great options for urban shelters in case your home is compromised and have no way to go. Speaking of which, there’s also an 8th one: your actual home… even if it’s already been destroyed! Provided the danger is over, nothing should stop you from making shelter inside your own home.

I realize most survival and preparedness articles don’t talk about urban scenarios, though the vast majority of the population (around 80%) lives in cities. If you’re looking for more urban tips, you can check an older (yet still valid) article I wrote that has some pretty good tips.

Good luck!

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