Author Topic: Safety on a Homestead alone  (Read 9220 times)

Offline Jewels

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Safety on a Homestead alone
« on: February 09, 2012, 11:06:59 AM »
I am a woman planning a homestead alone and I suppose my biggest fear about it is the alone part from a safety point of view. I realize every place is different, but how much of a concern on a day to day basis is personal security on your own property? Any women here who homestead alone? Do you feel safer in the city because you're more aware of the danger to avoid?

Offline Insidious

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 02:07:43 PM »
I'm not a woman.. but offer the following.

Its impossible to remain 'alert' and 'aware' forever and days/weeks/months/years of nothing happening will tend to make you lazy about your security.

You're going to need some 'animal sentries' to alert you to intruders (territorial and noisy, dogs, geese, etc.). A nice big dog (or three) isn't a bad idea either, and of course a sidearm while you're wandering around your homestead.

Your sleeping area needs to be secure (no ground floor windows, stout door with deadbolt, no entry points 'behind' your bed (you should be sleeping facing the entry points) etc.) with firearms within easy reach and the dogs either in the room (best) or immediately outside. Primary and alternate communications should be in the bedroom with you in case you need to call for some help. If you really want to do things right, you also want some cover (bullet stopping) you can get behind while facing the bedrooms entry. If help is a ways off, think of the bedroom as a bunker, so keep some food, water, and toiletry needs under the bed. This gives you the option to remain in place for as long as it takes for help to arrive (or for the intruder(s) to decide to leave). I won't get into cameras and such to allow you to see what's going on in the rest of the house as that's very situation specific. =)



imho

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 02:09:53 PM »
You're going to need some 'animal sentries' to alert you to intruders (territorial and noisy, dogs, geese, etc.). A nice big dog (or three) isn't a bad idea either, and of course a sidearm while you're wandering around your homestead.

peacocks are noisy and territorial and are very loud.  plus, they are a "fluff" bird, so it looks like you are just weird.

Offline Insidious

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 02:21:43 PM »
another little thing. you don't want people to be able to 'drive up on the house' (or ride up on ATVs etc.). So you want fences & gates that will stop people in vehicles at a distance from the house.

This isn't a paranoia thing, just a comment that while you've moving around your property, you want to be able to get to a 'secure location' if you need to, before someone who just got out of a vehicle can get to you. In other words, you never want to be 'surprised' by a visitor.

You can have multiple 'secure' locations setup similarly to the bedroom described above if your spending a lot of time further away from the house (a room in a barn, shed, grain silo, etc.).

When returning to the house, from your property, or from running errands off site, you need to enter with your eyes open, in case someone has arrived while you were gone.

When you are 'on your way home' you get tunnel vision and stop paying attention to your surroundings because you feel that you are entering a 'safe area', you need to counterattack this tendency (I've read that this is why most auto accidents happen within a mile of your home).

=)

none of this is meant to be in anyway grim. its just prudent.. like brushing your teeth.

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 03:36:46 PM »
Video and intercom at the gate is a nice addition. Don't have to run out to the gate every time someone drives up without knowing who they are.

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 04:23:49 PM »
A practical level of security at an affordable price includes motion detector driveway alarms that have a 150' range and cost under $100.  You can add on multiple detectors for a nominal cost and with things like the Murs system, even carry the receiver with you (although it's more money for a Murs system).  We have one alarm with four detectors and it would be pretty much impossible to get within 50' of any window or door on our house without us knowing about it with plenty of warning.

As others mentioned, putting impact resistant film on your bedroom (or perhaps all) windows (depends on the number of windows, but generally around $75/window to install), having a steel fire-rated door on your bedroom ($200-300), improving the door jam on your entry/exit doors to make them kick-proof/resistant (cheap if you do it yourself by putting a $20 piece of steel behind the jam screwed into the stud behind the jam); all will go a very long way to making a safe and secure homestead.  An alarm system sign and window stickers are also a good idea and can be bought at flea markets without the monthly fee.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 04:40:16 PM »
I'm not a woman either, but I'm home alone a lot of the time on our 5 acre weedpatch.

I don't want to get after Insidious for his suggestions, because they are prudent.  But you have to make reasonable compromises based on what you can afford (financially, and in time and effort).  I would love to have a bedroom with no ground-floor windows, but you won't find a house like this unless you build it yourself.  And you need to weigh hazards against each other -- e.g., you'll want your bedroom to have an emergency exit to the outside (a door, if not a window) in case of fire.

I bring this up because I hate to see people get "prepper paralysis" -- where you are overwhelmed by the effort needed for complete preparation, so you do nothing.  An important part of Jack's message is that we should focus on improving our situation in ways that we're able to manage, and not get distracted by all the prepping that we're unable to do right now.  I mean, imagine the following example:

  • You currently live in an apartment in a high-crime inner-city area.
  • You can afford to move to a beat-up rural homestead with lots of ground-floor windows, paper-thin doors, no fence, no dogs, and no peacocks -- but in a low-crime area and with room for a garden.

What do you do?  Grab that homestead!  Because no matter how insecure it is, it's a lot better than the dangerous apartment.

The great majority of the time, what's going to happen to you in a rural home is absolutely nothing.  I don't mean that you can ignore the risks.  But predatory psychopaths do not routinely wander every country lane looking for victims.  In most rural areas the bigger risks are things like roving dog packs, roads that don't get snowplowed, wildfires, slow response time for 911 calls, power failures, etc.  Burglary and theft, on occasion.

Learn as much as you can about the area where you're planning to move.  Some rural neighborhoods attract the meth manufacturers and auto-theft rings, others don't.  If you can listen to police calls on a scanner radio (either your own radio or via the Net), this may give you clues about good and bad areas.

If you can't afford a really secure homestead, try to imagine how you could, later, improve the security at every property you're considering.  Some places may be easily improved, and some might be hopeless.

Best of luck with your plans!

Offline Insidious

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 07:38:04 PM »
get after me! i need it.. ;-)

Its hard to make useful suggestions without any specifics. So I was responding to Jewels statement that she was 'planning a homestead alone'.

There are obviously lots of variables. A solo homestead could be a piece of land 50 miles from the nearest neighbor, or 2 miles, or 100 feet (deep lots on with houses along frontage roads). When I said 'no ground floor windows' I'm suggesting a 2nd story bedroom, which some houses do have, but there are plenty of ways to make a first story window secure.

Mr. Bill has some good advice on scouting local locations, and I'd add that you might want to get to know some of the people working in the county courthouse as well. 'Future projects' can be an unknown that can effect you in the future.

In my parents case, they bought a quiet little place a couple of miles outside of town next to a rural road with little traffic. Two years later a casino was built 1/2 mile down the road. Now they have a steady stream of traffic in front of the house, and someone (usually drunk) ending up in the ditch and banging on their door at 2 AM to use the phone (bad cel service in the area). They mitigate this now by having a nice fence all around the house with a couple of large dogs patrolling at night.

But yes, I agree with Mr. Bill, you do what you can do, and improve it a little as you can.




Offline Insidious

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 07:46:45 PM »
Rereading my above bedroom suggestions.. I realize that I was giving advice at the 'post-apocalypse' level, so sorry if it sounded a bit extreme. It assumes that someone was VERY motivated to get to you, and that you needed to forcibly defend yourself, or remain in place for an indefinite period without any guarantee of eventual help.

Uh. OK, maybe the advice isn't that bad.. ;-)


I lived in the Congo for a while and they had a civil war going on, so I slept a lot better with that level of preparation.



Offline Prepper7

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 09:08:52 PM »
Rereading my above bedroom suggestions.. I realize that I was giving advice at the 'post-apocalypse' level, so sorry if it sounded a bit extreme. It assumes that someone was VERY motivated to get to you, and that you needed to forcibly defend yourself, or remain in place for an indefinite period without any guarantee of eventual help.

Uh. OK, maybe the advice isn't that bad.. ;-)

Not bad at all, IMHO. It may not be what the OP wants or needs for her specific situation, but the advice addresses the huge security vulnerabilities of rural/isolated dwellings. If nothing else, the advice could help her identify some potential issues of which she may be unaware.

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 10:27:06 PM »
As it seems it may not be long and I will be alone (that's another story)  I often have and still do worry about safety.  Not really from strangers, but more you are out mending fence and hurt yourself, fall off a ladder, saw your leg off something stupid like that.   I still really can't think of any thing to help in an injury situation.  Other than it would be very important to have someone check on you.  Being very  very careful and aware when it comes to safety.   Maybe when you are going out to do work call someone and tell them what you will be doing and check in every two hours or so.  I really like the idea of those Help I fallen and cant get up buttons.  I don't think they would work at my place.  Cell phones are fine if you can use it conscious alert enough didn't fall off your body to far out of reach or get broken and of course get a signal.

It just seems to me that it would be more likely that I would hurt myself than stranger danger.  But then I am a klutz.  All the above ideas seem good alone or not.  I would really like to hear more too.  Very good thread idea.  :D

Offline RPZ

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 07:16:54 AM »
Geese and guns. Geese are tops as early warning. Carry a sidearm at all times, and when possible a rifle. At least keep a rifle handy at home. Also, be very careful who you "get to know" in the area; be alert to being shadowed or followed home.

Perhaps the biggest security issue is actually general allround personal safety. Getting stricken with some fast and furious disabling illness, accident with a piece of machinery, severe fall etc. When you live and are out there alone you are truly on your own to a greater or lesser degree. If you are going to have the modern convenience of a cell phone make sure it works reliably from your location or carry some other means of communication if possible. At least carry a pocket signal mirror, whistle and means of making a fire which will all fit in a small pocket pouch.

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2012, 07:35:16 AM »
You know a whistle is a fantastic idea that I never really thought about.  Since there are neighbors fairly close that might work in an accident situation.  Those that I know I could even tell them or let them know that this is a SOS signal from me. 

I have carried my cordless phone out to the barn and it works great but not much farther than that.  i am thinking if I run a land line out to the barn and do a hard wired and cordless phone I could really increase the range.  Cells are not reliable here. 

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 08:44:03 AM »
I agree with Roundabouts and RPZ's concerns about the dangers of living alone being as much about becoming ill or injured as anything else.  My ex-wife nearly died a few years ago living in a fish and wildlife service work center in the middle of nowhere.  She became extremely ill (C. Diff.) and had no cell coverage inside her home.  She basically had to drag herself 100 yards to get two bars and call a coworker to come take her to the hospital (where she spent the next five days recovering).

Frankly, I love living somewhat out it the sticks, but with a nosey retired couple living within eyeshot.  They're always keeping an eye on the place, whether I'm there or not and with the wife breaking a colt last summer, it sure made me feel a lot better when I wasn't home.

Offline Jewels

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 08:58:34 AM »
Thanks a lot for the tips. I am more concerned with safety from people as opposed to injury. People in the area are going to know when someone new moves in. To me a woman alone on a homestead is a potential target. Maybe just an easier target. Makes me wonder if people you might get to know are a potential threat or more the ones passing through.  Dogs are a must. I have an alarm dog, a leaf can't get near us without him knowing, but what I need are ones who can actually scare someone away.
As for getting hurt, I'm not sure what precautions I will have in place but honestly, you could fall down the stairs in your own house in a city without access to a phone and your neighbours may not even notice they hadn't seen you in awhile. Maybe you're working different hours or went away. I have a note with my license that says I have a dog at home in case I were to be hit by a car or something. Unless of course my wallet was stolen.
I want to get to my homestead sooner rather than later so more systems not requiring electricity is my starting point. Although I did plan on a gun, I have looked up what's required to get a license where I live and apparently I need it before I go so I will be putting that on the front burner.
Thanks again

endurance

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2012, 09:16:10 AM »
Thanks a lot for the tips. I am more concerned with safety from people as opposed to injury. People in the area are going to know when someone new moves in. To me a woman alone on a homestead is a potential target. Maybe just an easier target. Makes me wonder if people you might get to know are a potential threat or more the ones passing through.  Dogs are a must. I have an alarm dog, a leaf can't get near us without him knowing, but what I need are ones who can actually scare someone away.
As for getting hurt, I'm not sure what precautions I will have in place but honestly, you could fall down the stairs in your own house in a city without access to a phone and your neighbours may not even notice they hadn't seen you in awhile. Maybe you're working different hours or went away. I have a note with my license that says I have a dog at home in case I were to be hit by a car or something. Unless of course my wallet was stolen.
I want to get to my homestead sooner rather than later so more systems not requiring electricity is my starting point. Although I did plan on a gun, I have looked up what's required to get a license where I live and apparently I need it before I go so I will be putting that on the front burner.
Thanks again
Personally, if you're worried about your neighbors, you're in the wrong neighborhood.  Developing a sense of community is essential for security on all levels, physical and emotional. 

As for safety on the homefront, I tend not to go outside to do things with some inherent hazard (like feed the horses, split wood, run a chainsaw, etc) without a trauma dressing and cell phone on me.  While it's true, I could lose consciousness and never have the chance to dial 911, at least I have the illusion of control if I am conscious and can stop major bleeding and listen to the operator's voice as I lose consciousness. :-\

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2012, 09:51:26 AM »
All great advice so far. One note I want to add. On the carrying a firearm on you while out and about on the property, a long gun would be easy to get complacent about not carrying it. A small concealed carry style pistol is easy to have on you, but in a homestead/ranch scenario, ranges could easily be farther than a micro pistol could handle. If it were me, and open carry is a valid option, legally and socially, I would pick out something with a decent barrel length and a higher velocity round. For me that would be a full-sized 357 mag with a 6" barrel, or a 1911 or Glock 20sf in 10mm with the longest barrel I could find. I don't see a problem with a full-sized 40 or even a 9mm if its loaded with the hottest ammo you can find. Then practice, from contact shots to longer distances. I would like to be comfortable hitting bad guy sized targets out to 100 yards. If you can do that, then a rabid dog or mad coyote at 50 yards is doable without sprinting to your long gun, which should still be as close as possible. This is IMO, YMMV.

Offline Insidious

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2012, 11:23:26 AM »
Didn't even think about the injury/sickness aspect.. good stuff!

Building supply salvage yards can be great for heavy duty doors and door frames. I picked up a couple of salvaged slab fire doors that came out of a school for $15/each. They weigh about 150 lbs, and it would take quite a while to get through one. Also picked up the steel door frames that went with them for $20/each. Took out the old doors, doubled the opening framing and bolted the frames through the double studs. Lets just say, a battering ram would have a VERY bad day. =)

I'd say its now easier to go through the wall, but its a toss up. We have this weird wallboard called Magnesicore that's basically stone, that's stapled to the studs. The only way through it would be with a sledgehammer, and it would take a long time.

Offline Albatross2.5

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2012, 12:30:15 PM »
      I'm not a woman, but in about the same situation you are.  I bought a german shephard pup, ( now year and half old)  was easy to crate train, and trust me, NOBODY reaches for the door knob.

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2012, 04:42:46 PM »
Dogs for sure help.  As of last week I am down 2 dogs  :'(  Still have our little Goblin he is the noise maker boston terrier.  He moves very very fast and has extremely strong jaws.  If he could get past a strange male is just there to play with him he could do some serious damage.   He thinks all men are his man slaves.   But women different story.  The other day when I took him out I was affraid he was going to bite the cleark that was trying to give him a doggie treat.  Guess I should have warned her he prefers  steak or aged cheddar and not the imitation stuff.   That and he was extremely stressed without the rest of his pack as it was his firs outing without them. 

He is the type of dog that will go with daddy every where and not listen or mind well.  When mom is around it's just a look or a snap of the fingers and he hangs his head  ::) I wasn't going to do any thing mom.  I swear.  He will lay at my feet until I release him.  He cracks me up.  We will most likely get more dogs at a later date but it will take some time. 

I think fencing and a gate at the drive way is a good thing.  I also try to keep our driveway plain.  Meaning I don't decorate at the end with flowers making it look like a fancy house is up there.  I want it to look like a road maybe that goes to a pasture or barn. 


Offline Kate Change

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2012, 04:52:46 PM »
My husband is gone a lot for work, so we think about security for when it is just me.  I love my big dog.  The gate out front is great.  One of our summer plans  this year is to replace our current one with one that has a locking option.  Anything that makes it harder for someone to get to my house is better.  Also, its important to think about what the most likely danger from people is.  My cop friend tells me that it isn't a rapist, it's a robber who will try to break in in the day time when he thinks I'm at work.  We bought security doors to put over our doors.  Since we're not really close to our neighbors, no one would notice if someone tried to break the door down.  Turns out, it's not that hard to break down regular doors, it's just loud and very obvious to city neighbors.  The security door over top will make it much more difficult to get in.  We planted unpleasant foliage underneath our windows.  If I had to, I'd put bars on them, but I love the view and I'd rather not.  Anyone who tries to get in through our windows is going to be climbing through 4 feet of giant cactus or rose bushes, though, so they maybe a little hesitant to go that route.  (Also, the cactus and rose bushes are pretty.)  My cop friend tells me that criminals are looking for easy, convenient places to rob and that they will most likely pass on places that look like too much work or too much risk.   

We also try hard to have a good relationship with the neighbors we do have.  In our case, we have two.  Only one is home a lot and she can't really see the house, but if I only had time to make one phone call, she could call the police and get her husband or son over here with a gun.  (County Sheriffs in our area are very nice people, but they don't have great response times.)   I've got a handgun, but it's been suggested to me that I get a pump action shot gun.  I'm going to need a little more training before this happens, but the rational was that if I hear someone trying to break in and they hear me chambering a round they are going to leave.   This seemed reasonable.   We're in a gun friendly state, so there isn't much in the way of restrictions, but I don't feel comfortable having a gun in the house that I don't know how to use.    The other thing suggested to me was that I park our farm truck in a prominent location when I am out so that it still looks like someone is home.  We have multiple vehicles because the farm truck is bad on gas and I don't entirely trust it for long trips, but we need it to haul and work on the acreage.  I think it always looks like someone is home.  If you had two vehicles out front when you were home alone, it would look even more that way.  Our one neighbors have asked to us park the truck up on their property when they go out of town, that way it looks like someone is at their place then. 

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Re: Safety on a Homestead alone
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2012, 11:06:30 AM »
Personally, if you're worried about your neighbors, you're in the wrong neighborhood.  Developing a sense of community is essential for security on all levels, physical and emotional. 

As for safety on the homefront, I tend not to go outside to do things with some inherent hazard (like feed the horses, split wood, run a chainsaw, etc) without a trauma dressing and cell phone on me.  While it's true, I could lose consciousness and never have the chance to dial 911, at least I have the illusion of control if I am conscious and can stop major bleeding and listen to the operator's voice as I lose consciousness. :-\

Bingo on the neighbors topic and finding out if they are a potential threat. I'll be in that situation where the greatest human threat to my personal safety on the homestead may indeed be one of the neighbors. As a female alone homesteader it is less than ideal but the homestead land has much family history and I will deal with any threat to my safety if/when that time occurs. I will open carry on the homestead and may make certain the neighbors' see I am not going to be an easy target. They've been a problem as trespassers, poachers and thieves for 30 years and will not change their ways on this side of the soil.

Jewel, the courthouse familiarization is good not only to find out about future projects but to get a copy of the plat map (usually available from the assessor's office) of the land you would like to purchase and compare the landowner names with any criminal public records.