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Author Topic: Feedback on my "plan"  (Read 8652 times)

Voxx147

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Feedback on my "plan"
« on: December 08, 2009, 02:13:59 pm »

Most of my life I have thought about that “End of the world” scenario, but until recently I did not have the means or personal freedom to do anything about it.

Over the past few years I have been slowly gathering what I felt I needed to live a relatively secure/normal life after the worst happens and I would like some feedback on my “plan” so far. Please no flames, I am just looking for some honest feedback and help. Recently I found the survival blog and have found I have a few holes

I currently own my own home (well making payments) in a “small” town (5-8k) in population with similar towns surrounding it. I am about 25-30 miles north of a large city and 15-20 miles south of Medium size city. I live in an upper class neighborhood. My “block/street” has only one car access entrance and two walking paths that connect it with the rest of the town. On the west side of my block is a fairly steep hill/forest that leads down to apartments and eventually a 4 lane surface road, beyond that is watershed and forest going up a hill into a fairly low density neighborhood all the way to the freeway (Interstate X) 4-5 miles up a steep hill. To the north is the main residential area of my town including the only car access road, to the south is a lower population and property value area (¼ acre lots and homes). To the east is a fairly wooded area with little population density. My neighborhood has a normal fence around the entire area save for a few spots were we meet up with other housing developments.

To the far north and north east is farm area and to the far south and south east is farm area. To the far east is a large mountain range and to the far west is the pacific ocean.

My house is fairly secluded because of the forests that surround the neighborhood. My home is in the back of this area, it’s not ideal but I think its workable. My garage is big enough were I have been thinking of sectioning it off creating a “secure” room for food/water/supply storage. I have been thinking about options for boarding up windows from the inside when the time comes to keep the house inconspicuous. Water barrels will be kept in the garage for this reason as well, using gutter spouts to fill them.

I am unable to afford currently a “get away” spot so I have a basic plan to “ride it out” in my current home. I have the beginnings of a food supply, rotating canned foods that I normally eat, and a small supply of dehydrated food for giggles and emergency’s. My ideas for water include rain barrels and some sort of purification system (chemical, filter, boiling, ect) I have a full set up winter/rain/snow gear as I am an avid hiker in all weather. I have been slowly gathering and storing medical supplies, basic first aid supplies, bandages, over the counter medication. I have my share of guns/amo both long and short range options. I have a plan for a home garden in my back yard once the home owners association okays it or no longer matters (I have a fairly large secluded area that cannot be easily seen to use) I have had vegetable gardens all my life and understand how they work.

My neighbors are polite and I know many of them fairly well, yet most of them are 65+ and I doubt will be much help when the time comes, but I have little to fear from them. I live in this area because my extended family does. I have 5 family members within walking distance. This is also the town I grew up in so I have many friends living in the immediate area.

Some questions I have, but feel free to offer advice on any topic:

Is this a suitable area or is it possible we would be over run from city populations
What am I missing? (I am sure it’s a lot)
What else could I do to secure my home without raising the ire of my home owners association drawing unwanted attention.
Sanitation – bathroom?
My house is also a town home, at what point do I need to worry about the attached home – knocking down walls from the inside, fire danger, securing the other home?

Thanks for your help
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macman2k

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2009, 03:51:51 pm »

I think your plan is workable as it is very similar to my 'new' plan.   First my old plan which is probably what you may have 'wished you could do' based upon JWR's advice.

Plan A:  Move to the sticks, 20 minutes from a major highway surrounded by farms, on a hill-top pasture with steep wooded/thorny woods hiding the house from the road.  Thus clear fields of fire + privacy, unfortunately still visible from other surrounding ridge tops miles away.   Fields for growing food, solar for power for well/freezers, large acreage with year round spring, tractor, etc.   I attempted to follow as much of the advice given on survival blog as possible.

After 2 years of effort, lots of practice with gardening, animals, and more research I realized that the retreat was completely unworkable without the single biggest ingredient, a large, committed, trained, retreat group.  Unfortunately, finding such a group and maintaining OPSEC is tough.  Getting everyone to agree is harder and allocating ownership roles even harder!  All I had was my family, type-1 diabetic brother+family, my parents, and one friend who is now moving to Africa.  2 males (one in their 50's) and 7 females, 4 of which are under the age of 4.  Out of the group, only 2 of us are committed.   Thus, around the clock observation was not tenable, the isolation left us exposed to slow methodical attacks, and the plan required us to gather a lot of wood to stay warm.  Furthermore, the more we learned the more we realized that we needed to learn.  We also realized that there is only so much time in the day and you cannot get it all done "and" keep guard.

The other disadvantage of JWR's approach is that in a world where transportation is expensive and dangerous, living out in the sticks will leave you much more isolated from commerce.  So it *may* help for few years, but as ferfal.blogspot.com points out, the cities flood the country side and the most violent crimes happen in the country.  Even in JWR's book, their group faced attacks that most people would not be able to handle.   Conclusion, the default plan that you would otherwise be tempted to follow if you had more money, is actually not that desirable.  You would need millions of dollars among a group of 10+ skilled individuals to be secure, fed, and maintain many of todays comforts or be willing to accept living in the middle of nowhere, out west, and subsistence farming which is quite a lifestyle change with its own risks and STILL not be secure.  Thus, thinking outside of the survival blog approach and more in line with the ferfal.blogspot.com approach means you are already on a good track.

Plan B:  Build an ICF  (concrete) house in town in the back of a neighborhood.   Within walking distance of a commercial district in a town of 10K people where almost everything you could ever want/need is available, yet out of the way of most traffic.  Neighbors are close, can provide help, and the neighborhood would likely work together to block the roads, provide security, etc. 

Limit the number of windows for 3 reasons:
  1) You want to install secure, burglar proof windows which are expensive (or use a security film), potentially purchase (but do not install) security bars.
  2) You want your house to be south facing for solar gain and do not want to let too much heat out through side/north windows.  Energy efficiency is the key to "not needing fuel", passive solar heating is a big win!
  3) Fewer points of attack.

Solar hot water is relative cheap, tax deductible, and great for keeping clean. ($5k - $1.5K tax credit)
Solar hot water powering radiant heating systems and a very small solar pump can keep you warm in the winter, particularly if you can heat a thermal mass such as your water storage.
Reinforce your doors to prevent kick-ins and the more frequent, but less 'planned' break in attempts.
Rain water collection + filters as alternative to city water which could become undrinkable
Paint your house inside and out with: http://www.hytechsales.com/ to reduce your energy needs and gain max benefit from your limited heating.  Insulate your attic with a radiant barrier to help keep the house cool.

Store food, it is much cheaper to store food than to buy land to grow food.  Even the most proficient farmers of old could only grow enough food for 6 people... most of us will have to accept that we would have a hard time feeding ourselves, let alone our family through subsistence farming.  Long term, you need to start a business and trade and only garden "on the side".  Let someone else sell you their food while you focus on a business that you know will be in demand and that you can compete in.  (baking bread and selling it from stored grain will greatly increase your profits on the grain, but you need a power source.

This relates well to your situation with a townhouse, you only have a front & back side to worry about, your neighbors insulate your side walls.  You have few ground-level windows (I presume). 

The goal is to blend in as much as possible so that no one thinks you have anything of interest.   As long as you can control the climate in your garage, converting it into a storage area is a good plan.  The question becomes, would such a conversion be 'obvious' because the garage is now 'unusable'?   You want to keep your garage usable, the most common time of attack is entering/leaving your home.  If you can pull in your garage, and shut the door *before* getting out of your car, then you are better off than if you must 'park' and then walk to your front door.

Spending 2-5K on securing your ground-level windows + doors is the #1 thing you must do.   
Hopefully your townhouse is brick.

The only thing I have concerns about with my new plan is the fact that solar panels will make me 'stick out' and thus a target.

I hope this helps.   

One other suggestion... if you can, plan to sell your house, and build a custom house that can be subdivided and rented while you still there.  Rental income will keep up with inflation and help you pay your fixed mortgage.  If the house is secure, VERY energy efficient, etc then you will have a highly desirable rental property that will generate good income that keeps up with inflation because you are really selling energy/utilities + security in a market flooded by energy hungry/insecure rentals.  The renters you would attract would be those who manage to have a job and keep up with inflation and thus afford the luxuries (heat / energy) you have available to 'sell'. 





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Who...me?

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2009, 04:00:31 pm »

Quote
My house is also a town home, at what point do I need to worry about the attached home – knocking down walls from the inside, fire danger, securing the other home?

IMHO this excludes your home from suitability for a defensive site.  Too many blind areas that you have no control over.  You say you have family close?  Would one of their homes be more suitable?  Made of brick or concrete? Not attached to someone else's property?  Are any of your family members of a like mind as far as prepping goes?
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macman2k

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2009, 04:03:22 pm »

Quote
My house is also a town home, at what point do I need to worry about the attached home – knocking down walls from the inside, fire danger, securing the other home?

IMHO this excludes your home from suitability for a defensive site.  Too many blind areas that you have no control over.  You say you have family close?  Would one of their homes be more suitable?  Made of brick or concrete? Not attached to someone else's property?  Are any of your family members of a like mind as far as prepping goes?

On the contrary, if he is in the middle of a row, then he has greatly reduce the number of angles he could be attacked from.   I think it is a trade off.
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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2009, 04:35:51 pm »

Quote
My house is also a town home, at what point do I need to worry about the attached home – knocking down walls from the inside, fire danger, securing the other home?

IMHO this excludes your home from suitability for a defensive site.  Too many blind areas that you have no control over.  You say you have family close?  Would one of their homes be more suitable?  Made of brick or concrete? Not attached to someone else's property?  Are any of your family members of a like mind as far as prepping goes?

On the contrary, if he is in the middle of a row, then he has greatly reduce the number of angles he could be attacked from.   I think it is a trade off.

No it doesn't reduce the number.  It just reduces the number that he will be able to monitor. All someone would have to do is enter one of the other units.

Quote
My neighbors are polite and I know many of them fairly well, yet most of them are 65+ and I doubt will be much help when the time comes, but I have little to fear from them.

I know that some older folks are salty dawgs but not all of them.  Once inside it is a simple matter to fire the whole place or attack through the walls from different points. 

There are ways to make a town house defensible but every home owner has to be on board with the plan.  Much better to use a family members unattached home as a rally point for the whole family.  That's why I asked if any of his family are of like mind.  The home that is the best all around building should be the one that the whole family goes to.
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Voxx147

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2009, 05:07:11 pm »

Thanks for the feed back. The couple that I share a wall with in my town home are fairly old and I have a feeling that once things go down they would welcome my support/help and may agree to removing non load barring interior walls and allow me to work on their house like I plan on doing to mine (boardingup walls from the inside, securing doors and such) or they wont be home as they spend at least 50% of the time in arizona. In that case I could just take over their side...i have already looked into what walls i could knock down.

My neighborhood is fairly hidden (full green belt around it) and my house is backed up by fence and a very thick wooded green belt, but it does have another neighborhood behind it, but its the end of that dead end development as well. I could see people skiping over it as they run around looking for stuff to take, but I can also see it being a target.

Thanks for the thoughts, my desire is to build something up in the foot hills, I have scouted a few locations, but right now i just dont have the money/resources
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Voxx147

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 09:42:36 am »

It’s funny you should mention that. I have been looking for a small plot of land on an island that can only be reached by boat/ferry. A co-worker lives out there and while he has not come right out and said it, I believe he lives out there for just that reason. The land is cheap, but building there is expensive. The only drawback is there is not much wild life and "importing" or trading food/supplies would be very limited.

I know my situation is not ideal, I hope to fix that by a move at some point, but until I can do that I have to work on improving my odds the best I can.

Thanks again for your advice!
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Bear

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 11:17:19 am »

Voxx147,

Just a couple of suggestions.

1. A 'value added' trade or craft.

Since it's not likely you will be able to provide everything you need for yourself,
you will need to have something that people will trade for. I suggest that you
learn to make something desirable, which is also consumable,  so that they will
want more later. A very short list of examples:
* bake bread
* brew beer
* smoke (preserve) meat
* make cheese
* make candles
* can vegetables and meat.

You get the idea. You don't need to do them all, just get known as the guy who
can do one of these things.


2. Start a vegetable garden.

Even if it doesn't supply all of your needs, it might be enough to make a difference.


3. If you stay in place, start a Neighborhood Watch group.

Your older neighbors will appreciate it, and this can be the organizational seed for
more active defense and cooperation later. You will learn who can be counted on,
and for what, and that is something you need to know BEFORE TSHTF.

Good luck.

Bear

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Voxx147

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 01:35:24 pm »

Thanks Bear,

I have already made arangments to have some time to speek to the home owners group and have some sort of "CERT" presentation/training happen as well as feel out the group to how much they think about all of this.

Another question I had for any one who feels like answering. I want to prepare to board up all my first floor windows (and a few of my second floor windows). I plan on using 2x4 and plywood on the INSIDE of my windows and that horible sliding glass door. Ill draw the shades, place insulation in the window and board up behind it. Hopefully that will help keep the insides warm, provide a second layer of protection if some one tries to come in through a window with the added value of not looking like anything has been done, not drawing attention to my home!

Thanks
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Bear

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2009, 01:51:41 pm »

Thanks Bear,

I have already made arangments to have some time to speek to the home owners group and have some sort of "CERT" presentation/training happen as well as feel out the group to how much they think about all of this.

Another question I had for any one who feels like answering. I want to prepare to board up all my first floor windows (and a few of my second floor windows). I plan on using 2x4 and plywood on the INSIDE of my windows and that horible sliding glass door. Ill draw the shades, place insulation in the window and board up behind it. Hopefully that will help keep the insides warm, provide a second layer of protection if some one tries to come in through a window with the added value of not looking like anything has been done, not drawing attention to my home!

Thanks

That actually sounds like a pretty good idea. It also reminds me of something I saw done
a long time ago, that might work for other windows you will keep un blocked.

The folks I knew were living in an old victorian house that was hard to heat. This guy built
a rack to hold cider bottles he had filled with water, and placed just inside his window.
During the day, the sunlight coming in the window would heat the water, and at night,
he closed insulated curtains so that the heat would be re-radiated into his room. It was
simple system, and had no moving parts other than the hand-drawn curtain.

If you want to get fancy, you can put food coloring in the water filled bottles to
get a stained glass effect.

Bear
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Mjeff

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2010, 08:52:46 am »

I was also working on a similar plan of defending in place but over the course of getting ready for what is coming I have met up with others of the same mindset and we now have a place in a remote area that we all bought together that has a sustainable water supply, plenty of timber and ample wildlife. We in the process of transferring all the stored up foods and supplies that we all had be putting back to this site. One of our groups agreed to live there so the place would have a constant presence to keep it from being hoarded and we all go out on weekends when we can and help prep the site for occupancy when the time comes. We have 25 adults and all are proficient in the use of firearms so security will not be a problem
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poto

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2010, 11:00:11 am »

If you're planning to put plywood up over the inside of your windows, might I make a few suggestions.

First, build some frames out of 2x4s or similar boards to go around the edge of the windows. Try to anchor some of the 2x4s into wall studs. Then screw your plywood sheets into the 2x4 frame. That should keep you from damaging any trim you have around your window and make it a lot easier to put up and take down the plywood. Also, the places where you attach the frame to the wall will be easier to patch than if you screw something directly into your window sill. A bit of spackle and some paint and nobody will ever know you had boards up in the first place.

I used to do something similar years ago when I was growing weed. Had to block all light and smells from leaking out the windows, but also make it look completely normal from the outside. In addition I'd use an extra layer of white plastic sheeting on the inside of the plywood in case anybody got close to the window they wouldn't see any wood. Also used foil tape around the edges, but that was mainly just to block light leaks.
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Rarick

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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2010, 02:31:28 am »

I live in a condo complex.  In a situation of ANY length I will be leaving for the "Family Farm" but in the interim I have made plans.   I have a sliding glass door too, and I have the materials stashed to convert it into a regular door. In the meantime I have put up and opaque plastic sheet that is colored the same as the paint on the outside wall and it is acting as a "3rd pane" as insulation.  The HOA does not allow this on the outside so it is rubber cemented to the inside frame.  This leaves the slider still operational but blocks any looking in.   In a SHTF I have 2x2's and plywood that I can quickly make into a frame that would look like a "storm shutter" already cut up and prepainted to match the building.  Where I am at we are using the desert landscaping to save water, and we use a decorative gravel, so there is always a pile out by the ground keepers shed.  a couple of wheel barrow loads would fill that 2 inch gap with 3/4 or 1/2 inch stones which give the south facing window both thermal mass and some ballistic resistance.........  I have additional foam board and frames for the inside of my other windows, they are set up so there is space underneath to look out.  My exterior walls have "heavy" furniture wherever possible . The heavy furniture is a project in progress, but it is basically bookcases and hutches, media cabinets and such with really thick backs.  These may be able to stop bullets.............

I have a water tank sitting beside my hot water tank which will provide some water and I have a back flow preventer on my supply line to keep my system from draining back into the city supply in case the water pressure drops..........  Additional water is provided by my waterbed, which is also setting over my food stash which is in the pedestal.  The food is a mix of CO2, nitrogen, and dehydrated packed foods.  The waterbed gets a drain and fill every 3 months, that chore is why I decided to put in the water tank by the water heater.  There is a gun locker in the back of the master bedroom closet, it has been stocked to standards (rifle, shotty, pistol and the rounds/ accessories to match).  I have a fireplace that runs on natural gas (city supply) that does put out some heat, but my issue is staying cool.   In the interests of staying cool I have the ability to throw up a tarp/shade on my porch or both that will provide some additional protection from the sun.  My porch also has several planters that I use to grow food, not a whole lot, but even a little bit would help. (the planters also add heavy protection from bullets.......)

I figure that everyone and their monkeys uncle are going to be shooting when it gets real bad, and there are going to be a lot of misses so that is something I am planning for.  I have put a metal plate in the door jam, like the ones required on inward opening doors in Florida for the hurricane winds.  It also has a "New York" brace bar that goes from under the knob to a slot in the floor, in addition to the usual deadbolt. 

I can put a set of solar panels out on my porch that are low and out of sight to charge batteries for night time light.  I have 2 LED light strings I bought at walmart that I currently use for 90% of my lighting needs.  I have a couple of 12 volt task lights that I can run off the batterys if I need to, but I plan on being stealthy.  Light would attract night time trouble......... 

The HOA is currently thinking of using solar heat for the pool and spa, and installing some PV panels or wind power for "common area" power needs.  If that works out we may start to slowly put up PV panels for all the buildings and see how much power we can generate to save on electric bills.  PV panels are not that unusual here, and any we install will be up on a flat 3rd story roof, out of sight any way.  We will never be able to provide ALL our power, but if the electric company is broke we will have SOME power.  Even if it is only enough to run the freezer/ice maker is will mean a lot..........

I only wish we had our own well, and a better perimeter fence. What we have right now is a 6' cinder block wall that is built to a code that only requires cement/rebar filling every 12 feet, and a front fence that is ornamental metal work.  This only keeps the salesman and doorknobbers out and offers 0 protection otherwise.

Those are my issues, maybe they will get your thinking juices flowing.
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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2010, 04:57:08 am »

I was also working on a similar plan of defending in place but over the course of getting ready for what is coming I have met up with others of the same mindset and we now have a place in a remote area that we all bought together that has a sustainable water supply, plenty of timber and ample wildlife. We in the process of transferring all the stored up foods and supplies that we all had be putting back to this site. One of our groups agreed to live there so the place would have a constant presence to keep it from being hoarded and we all go out on weekends when we can and help prep the site for occupancy when the time comes. We have 25 adults and all are proficient in the use of firearms so security will not be a problem

I'm insanely jealous...
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Re: Feedback on my "plan"
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2010, 03:35:15 pm »

@ knobster - ditto.  I have access to a dairy farm which raises all their own feed (corn, wheat & alfalfa), has water treatment, housing, the whole shebang.  That would have been great.  But since I moved to my retreat recently, now it is on the other side of a large river.  So I'll be bugging in.  I'd sure like to see Glenn Beck's bunker.

@ bear - That's what I was saying in another post, recently, about having some skill or product to barter, when we can crawl out of our holes.  I think you said it better than I.

@ voxx - I like your heavy furniture around the walls to stop bullets.  That was my plan at my last place; it was a 50's modern style, concrete house, but it had huge walls of glass.  I planned to tip the full book shelves and the massive dining table in front of the windows should the need arise.  Another thought may be the use of concrete blocks.  You could store them in the form of a decorative planter or pond on your patio, or in the garage.  That's what I have come up with, so far, for my house's weak point; the walk-out basement wall is made of studs instead of logs.  I figure I can stockpile blocks and concrete and should the need arise, build a concrete wall either inside or outside of the existing wall.

On the window blockage.  A single layer of plywood will stop someone breaking in, it won't stop many bullets.  I liked the suggestion in Patriots to build a box in the window and fill it with rocks.  That's my plan A.    Plan B, should the funds come available will be to get some steel plates I can lag to the log walls.  Don't forget to put loopholes in whatever you put over the window so you can peek out or throw some high-velocity lead at someone.  I plan to make my loopholes just large enough to reach the latches and open the windows.  Not much air will move through, but anything will be better than nothing when we're boarded up in the bunker with no a/c.  Anything of value, which I am forced to leave outside, will be right under one of those loopholes with a shotgun pointed at it.   ^_^  I just realized this morning that I could bring the chickens and rabbits into the basement.  duh!

On securing your doors.  I like the Armor Concepts equipment.  http://www.armorconcepts.com/ .  I planned to get a setup for each door, but I had another duh! moment last week when I realized, with the log house, I can literally bar the doors. 

Keep up the good work and planning. 


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