Hurricanes and Looting
Curfews had to be implemented in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey largely due to looting. While many families were forced to evacuate, they also had to contend with the prospect of having their homes looted. While an argument could be made that price gouging is the actual looting, it's those out there with the intent of enriching themselves by hook or by crook that we are talking about here.
Looting Happens in the Aftermath of Hurricanes
From a safe distance away and seeing this unfold on the news, we can form an opinion about if there is a difference between surviving and stealing in a flood zone. People stuck in the area still have to eat and drink clean water to stay alive. Reports of grocery stores being emptied in a disaster zone seems like a smart and logical thing survivors would do.
Breaking into homes or businesses and robbing them is not a matter of survival. Stealing electronics and other things of value have nothing to do with surviving this short term emergency situation. Unfortunately, these looters are out there.
It's a sad fact that society's bad elements surface during the worst of times. It happened during Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, and now during Hurricane Harvey. For those still in the area, keeping your home and family safe becomes a much higher priority. But how can you prepare yourself?
Preparing is about anticipating. It's knowing that even though you and everybody you know is a good person, you realize that bad people are out there too. It's readying your home (your safe zone) to keep you and your family safe. It's having ways to defend yourself if a looter does break into your home. It's having an adequate supply of food and water on hand so you don't have to venture out looking for something to eat and drink.
There's a lot you can do to harden (improve) the security of your dwelling. Your main entry points are of course, your doors and windows. These can be braced or alarmed to give you an early warning system. The perimeter around your home can also be inexpensively monitored with simple motion detectors.
A physical door stopper prevents the door from opening at all. You want to brace the door shut using a security bar designed for this purpose. These hardened door security braces can also be used to lock sliding doors. Your patio door can be prevented from opening by placing the door brace on the track when the door is closed. Its adjustable so it extends to the length needed. For pedestrian doors, the safety bar is wedged under the knob and uses the floor as a backstop to prevent the door from opening. Looters will most likely try to open one these first.
Many modern windows have safety features built into them already. The glass is hardened to make it difficult to break and the installed locks are usually a more secure quality. However, regardless of how beautiful they are, windows are still one of the weakest points of entry to your house. You can enhance your perimeter defense by placing window alarms on at-risk entry points. These are vibration sensors that will sound an alarm if someone is trying to gain access through one of your windows.
There are several inexpensive motion sensing type alarms you can get to set up an outdoor security perimeter that lets you know if someone comes inside your protection zone. These alarms will be set off if someone approaches your home. Kinda like trip wires but with an invisible signal wire instead.
The simplest motion detection alarm just sits in place and constantly monitors the area it is pointed at. If anything breaks it's infrared beam, the alarm goes off which alerts you to their presence. This gives you time to prepare yourself for a possible encounter. These early warning devices allow you the opportunity to arm yourself and mentally prepare before someone is already inside.
A unique item to consider is an alarm that sounds like a ferocious angry dog when someone approaches the detection zone. This "electronic watch dog" can "see" through doors and walls and will begin to bark when someone approaches your front door. The sound of an angry German Shepard barking at them may dissuade a potential looter from breaking into your home. Shown below with additional sensors, you can be alerted for different areas at the same time.
You'd hope that a looter is after the easy win and would leave as soon as they saw anyone. But that's something you certainly can't count on. Especially during a natural disaster emergency, you need to be able to protect and defend your life if it is threatened. Having a self defense weapon gives you equal footing for that intruder that doesn't care what stands in their way.
A 12 gauge is a formidable home defense weapon and would certainly put the odds in your favor. But what if you don't own one or don't want to have a firearm? Time to explore other options in personal defense.
The Taser Pulse is the premier civilian weapon for nonlethal self defense. Employing a taser on a person immediately incapacitates them, puts them on the ground, and will not let them loose until you decide to do so. These devices have a nearly 100% effectiveness rating and will certainly stop someone intent on doing you harm.
Sprays have been used to immediately stop people in their tracks for many decades now. Police carry OC products on their belts in order to have a non-lethal but effective stopping force against unruly or uncooperative suspects. When you spray someone with pepper spray, everything changes as they have only one desire in life: to stop the intense and painful burning sensation and to be able to open their eyes.
Gel pepper sprays work well for inside a house because the contents are not dispersed into the air potentially contaminating everyone. When you spray someone with gel, it sticks and stays on their face. If they try to wipe it off, it gets more ingrained into their pores and causes even more pain and discomfort.
There are even larger models of crowd control pepper spray. Police use them to disperse a crowd or to at least stop the crowd from moving forward. You can also use a large defensive spray to fend off gangs of looters. Getting pepper spray in your eyes is no joke. Even the hardest criminal will be adversely affected by the oleoresin capsaicin, the active ingredient in OC sprays. They can not fight off or endure the effects and like everyone else, will close their eyes and start looking for water.
This is one of those products that fits the bill for both defensive and offensive capabilities. Steel collapsible batons are an excellent counter attack weapon that can deflect and otherwise ward off an attacking blow directed at you. Telescopic batons are formidable counter strike weapons that can break bones, shatter fingers and otherwise seriously deflate your opponents will to attack you. Watching a few YouTube videos and practicing your technique allows you to impressively counter, disable, and walk away from an otherwise dire situation.
These extendable batons are ideal for dealing with hurricane looters that are after your belongings or worse. In a hand to hand combat situation, you'll be able to deliver powerful blows to quickly end the confrontation and protect your family.
At a basic level after shelter, we all need clean water to drink and food to eat. Keeping a supply of water on hand for emergencies, such as an after-hurricane scenario, alleviates your short term concern about what to drink. A gallon of water per day per person should be a minmum amount you should store in advance.
An emergency food supply is something you can plan for that doesn't take up much space. Having enough food around gives you and your family some peace of mind during a very stressful time. While things are still getting sorted out, being able to still have a family dinner could go a long way. And once again, you do not have to venture out to a danger area trying to find food for your family to eat.
Staying Safe Inside When It's Unsafe Outside
There's not a lot you can do during the aftermath of a hurricane to prevent the looting that's going to happen. What you can do is prepare yourselves and your home in advance. Security, personal protection and emergency supplies are all areas you should give attention to in order to be more ready for an unexpected emergency.
Everyone's situation is different and those most prepared anticipate what could affect their area and target their readiness goals to meet those challenges.
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