How safe are you in
your survival retreat? Accept the fact that a determined
individual or group, given enough time, will eventually
penetrate all but the most formidable defenses. So don't give
them enough time. Design and create obstacles - rows of trees
or shrubs, fences, boulders, gates, etc. to slow the approach
of visitors. If they are obviously hostile, you will have time
to discourage them with a well-aimed projectiles from the
safety of your retreat.
Two books mentioned elsewhere on this site may help you
consider and plan your security system: 'how to survive the end
of the world as we know it' and 'patriots', both by James
Wesley Rawles. His latest book 'survivors' did not receive
reviews as favorable as the others.
The purpose of this section is to describe some of
the security measures I have taken at my survival
retreat. As mentioned elsewhere, my retreat is unique, in that
it has no access road, so no vehicle can reach my property. An
ATV will get to within 2 miles of my land, because a 4 inch
diameter steel pipe, a 'bollard', filled with concrete, locked
in the middle of the access wash, will stop ATVs 2 miles out.
So, from that direction anyway, it's a 2 mile uphill walk
mostly in sand.
The nearest road is a jeep trail a mile away in
another direction, but there is a 200 foot high ridge
preventing easy access or even visibility. My retreat is
invisible from roads in all directions. This isolation,
invisibility and difficult access, form the major part of my
retreat security. If people don't know I'm there and can't see
me, they are probably not going to wander in the desert looking
for food and water or invisible homes.
In a serious crisis, if hordes of refugees flee from major
cities in search of places they can survive, it is highly
improbable that any of them will scout around in a place
lacking in water and food.
My retreat's security, therefore, consists in three
simple facts: 1) it is located in an area known
to be inhospitable, the desert, lacking in food water which
they need 2) it is invisible from all directions and 3) there
is no road leading to it. Drive around all you want, you'll
never reach or even see my property.
So what more do I need? Probably not much, but I have taken
other steps, just in case someone does arrive on foot, but if I
reveal them here, I lose some security.
Well, I can tell you that the House, a hexagon, is concrete
and will stop bullets. However, details about mines, booby
traps, mortars and other measures will not appear on this site
nor on my DVDs. If you are creative; invent your own. If you
need ideas, the two books, especially patriots, will give you
food for thought and much more. I also suggest 'Holding Your
Just so you know, one of my DVDs covers the topic of
security beyond what I have written here.
Your doors, if they are to add to or match the
security of your solid house, must also be solid.
Consider thick wood covered with steel plate. Wood alone will
not stop bullets. An AK round (7.62 x 39) will pass through the
trunk of a 10 inch diameter pine tree. A 30-06, a common
hunting rifle round, is considerably more powerful. A YouTube
video compares several rifle rounds shot at a 1 inch thick
steel plate. Some rounds made craters that appeared to go at
least halfway through! I think the purpose of the video was to
counter the myth that the AK rifle is dangerous. I suppose it
depends on how one defines the word dangerous. The impacts of
the 308, 3030 and 30-06, all common hunting rounds, are far
more powerful and deadly than the AK round.
Anyway, coming back to your door, if you want it to stop
common rifle bullets, consider adding 1/2" of steel plate. If
you prefer a wood look, add thin planks of your favorite
hardwood or even thin plywood with hardwood veneer over the
While on the subject of doors, consider robust
hinges and latches as well as locks. I won't say
much about my door, but it requires no key, there is no lock.
In fact, looking at the door, you have no idea how to open
Another approach I thought long ago but didn't
use, is to have a cable in a pipe underground to
some spot distant from the house, and a hidden lever to
activate (pull) the cable to unlock the door. One drawback is
the possibility that someone could hide out nearby and watch
the secret opening ceremony, then come again when the house is
not occupied and steel or vandalize or move in.
However, if your property is such that nobody could
hide out and watch you enter (unlikely) it might
be an option. Hiding out on my property would be easy, so I
invented the door with no lock or key or even a handle. Sorry,
I can't and won't disclose that one here.
It is possible to describe how to make the door and
the lock, and I've done that on a DVD. But even if you
know how to make your own door, lock and unlock it, you could
stand in front of my door (which may look identical to yours)
for a month and not be able to get it open, even though it
works just like yours. And I would not be able to open yours.
To unlock this kind of door, no locksmith will ever get you in,
you must have the code. Okay some gas or electric powered tools
could cut through the door. I can't say more. What I will say
is that I invented this door when I was a teenager and improved
it over the years.
If you should forget the entry secret or code, you will have
to break in elsewhere like a window. So I came up with an easy
way to remember the entry code. It can even be written as a
saying above the door so you never forget. But nobody else can
use it. Confused? Good!
I'll disclose a bit more, noncritical Intel. Let's say you
like a particular saying, quotation, song or poem. Example:
roses are red violets are blue, you are a mystery and I am
It's odd or unusual, but that's okay. The point is that now
you have a code that only you know. Remember, in the movie Lord
of the Rings when the group arrived at the stone entrance to
the dwarfs underground city, there was a saying engraved in the
arch over the door "speak friend and enter" or something
similar. So our hero asks Gandalf what the word for friend is
in that language, he says it and the massive stone door
Or how about the movie contact, where Eleanor Airaway the
researcher gets all that coded sound from Vega. The secret
(primer) to decoding the message is contained in the message
itself. Confused? Not good! Keep up. So you can have a message
displayed over your door like "speak friend and enter" or
"roses are red" or what ever, and within that message, quote,
poem or whatever is your secret entry code.
The security DVD covers this door design and construction,
as well as information about location, invisibility, safe wall
design and access, etc..
Two electronic devices might enhance your
security. Wireless intrusion sensors have motion
detectors and can pick up movement 30 feet away or more, then
signal wirelessly to your receiver in your house which makes a
sound and lights up one of several lamps to indicate which of
your sensors was triggered. Some integrate with a computer.
Range is claimed to be 300 feet, that is the distance
between sensor and receiver. Considering the benefit of knowing
in advance that someone (or some animal) is approaching, the
cost is reasonable. They operate on batteries, but could
probably be modified with rechargeable batteries and solar
Another gadget is a trail camera, used by
hunters to find out where deer are. Attach it to
a tree, aim it at a suspected trail or entry or exit point, and
it's a motion sensor triggers either photo, a series of photos
or a video clip, and includes the day the date and time even
the phase of the moon and operates in color during the day and
black-and-white at night. Infrared LED's illuminate the subject
at night but the light is invisible. Remove the SD memory card
and check the photos and/or video. An LCD indicates photos or
video have been recorded, so you only need to view the SD card
if the LCD indicates activity. Some camereas integrate with a
computer, so you can monitor your property from your
Do people visit your property in your
absence? If you suspect that they do, you might catch
them in the act, with video! In that case, hide the camera, so
your evidence is not stolen.
I saw both gadgets in a sportsman's guide
catalogue and Wal Mart, but surely they are available
elsewhere. For the trail cam, I suggest five megapixel or
better, because if you have to hide the camera a distance from
the subject, you will want the extra pixels so you can enlarge
the subject for identification. Photos might be better than
video, as the video resolution I saw on them was not high and
VGA may not suffice. It's your call.
Note that some of these security measures require
electricity. I strongly suggest that you plan to have
and use electricity - solar, wind, whatever - so that you can
make use of electric and electronic devices which multiply your
control, as just mentioned. Add to this list night vision gear,
flashlights, rechargeable batteries for things that use them,
walkie talkies and other radios, your computer, and so on.
Brunton makes folding solar panels that fit in a backpack, so
you can carry electronic gear and recharge while mobile.
My intention here is not to frighten anyone, nor to
predict what we may all face, but rather to
suggest that, as there are numerous signs that we may be
heading into an unsafe future, it would be wise to evaluate
those signs and to prepare for the disturbances which they
appear to signify.
Okay, why so much space devoted to
security? Simple. If you get this part wrong, all
of your other preparations are useless. If you create a
well-stocked retreat, move in, but then later get overrun by
looters, perhaps your location was poorly chosen. All cities
are unsustainable, that is, they import most or all of their
basic necessities. Take Phoenix, my nearest large city as an
example. Millions of people live in the middle of the desert,
not because the desert provides so well for their needs, but
because food, water, fuel and everything else is brought in
from hundreds, even thousands of miles away.
In a fuel crisis or grid-down (no electricity),
there will be no food in the supermarkets (it's
trucked in using fuel), no electricity for lights, air
conditioners, refrigerators etc., no water at the tap (pumped
by electricity). Millions will flee en masse, clogging roads
and highways. Those who do escape before the roads gridlock
will seek out places where they can survive, places perceived
to have at least water and food. Nearby towns, like Prescott,
Sedona, Wickenburg, Flagstaff, even Kingman will be inundated
with thousands of refugees. Whatever food and fuel was still
available in those towns will be gone, if it was not already.
Then what? Millions of people stuck in the desert without food
and water and disappearing fuel.
I suspect many will buy or steal the fuel and food
they need and drive out of the desert to
California, the land of plenty. Going east to New Mexico is
just more desert, so it's possible that hundreds of thousands
possibly millions of refugees, if they can escape gridlock in
Phoenix, could migrate to California's food-growing areas. The
problem is, so will those millions of refugees leaving Los
Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, etc. The
majority of refugees from Nevada could end up there too. It
won't be a come-as-you-are party. It will probably be a
-you-can-and-go-to-California affair. Why California? It
produces more food than any other state and everybody knows
Take out a map and look at your
area. In a similar crisis, where do you think
people will go to survive? Draw lines with colored highlighters
indicating migrations from population centers to food and
water-rich areas. It need not be precise, this is a rough
Now notice the small towns along these lines of
migration, places that will probably be inundated with
'visitors'. Since these visitors will most likely be refugees
and not all of them well behaved or even civilized, it's
probably a good idea to be someplace else when the crowd shows
up, hungry, thirsty, needing everything and possibly taking
without asking. Don't expect a party.
First - If you live in one of these small towns
along the lines of migration, consider relocating to a
safer place. If you're looking for an area to establish a
survival retreat, you will want to avoid lines of migration. An
exception is the desert or other area that appears barren.
Refugees will be looking for places to survive, not for places
where food and water are scarce. So even if your retreat is a
few miles from a main migration line, refugees would only visit
you if they believed they could find what they need there. I've
given this matter much thought and have located a place in the
desert. I suggest that you do the same: consider location
carefully, then first select a suitable place that you believe
will not attract visitors, whether desert, mountains, plains,
whatever. Also, be sure you have the determination and physical
ability to manifest your retreat, regardless of where you
Second, try to be invisible or create
invisibility. If they can't see you, they
probably won't stop to check you out.
Third, make access to your retreat
difficult. Stop vehicles far away with trees,
fences and gates, boulders, etc. And slow down those
approaching on foot with vegetation, thorny plants and roses,
cactus uneven ground, a moat, a wall. Add noisemakers: dry
leaves, twigs, rattles, and light-makers, motion detectors,
lights, alarms, infrared lamps and goggles whatever helps
Weapons. This topic is exhaustively covered in the
books I mentioned and in so many others that I'm
only going to add my brief opinions here. If you live by a
principle of non-harming others and would not harm someone
whose intention you perceive is to harm you, then I suggest you
create a retreat which you will not have to defend, one that
will never have visitors. If you foresee possible
confrontation, then be ready for it - be armed, be trained and
be dangerous. There is no middle ground. Either shun weapons
and use of force or embrace them as necessary in a society
where the bad guys are always armed. Now, even some the people
you thought were good will have been forced to plunder to
survive, and they are also armed.
Choose your location well, and hopefully you may never have
to confront a looter.
Remember to think like your enemy. If you
are looking for houses to loot, you will take time to observe,
climb up on something tall to look down, look for lights at
night, smell for fires or cooking, listen for sounds of life,
kids playing, look for tracks made by people coming and going.
The best situation is not to be visible in the first place, so,
if your retreat IS visible from any road, consider ways to hide
it or make it look unatractive to looters, like it's already
been looted and burned out. (see Holding Your Own)