As the current tensions takes shape, even a passive observer can tell it is looking like a violent year. I have been taking careful notes on these developments and it should have you worried if you live in an urban area. In particular, it has caused me to review preparations to counter fire dangers. I have seen firsthand how fire can be used as a weapon either intentionally or inadvertently and it has awesome destructive force. More specifically, in an urban setting, out of control fires can quickly spread and consume entire blocks in firestorms.
Now, think about your home. How well is it protected and how prepared are you if fire is used directly or indirectly against your home? More specifically, if the fire department can’t or won’t respond to your home because of riots and anarchy, will you be able to prevent fire from destroying it?
If you are like most people, you never put much thought into the question I pose. If not, now is the time. It is especially important if you live in an urban area and your home is connected or a part of other buildings.
Also read: After The Collapse – Who Will Your Neighbors Be?
Knowing that domestic unrest and violence is more likely this year, are you ready to prevent a mob from burning down your block? If not, here are some easy things you can do to better prepare your home against fire. Remember, just because you live in a “nice” area doesn’t make you immune. The angry mobs may not be content with burning their own homes this time around and instead, opt to go after “the man” and specifically target wealthier neighborhoods.
The first thing you can do to protect your home is to remove anything combustible an unruly mob may get its hands on such as that gas can for the mower sitting in the back yard. It isn’t possible for most people living in urban housing to build a “fire proof” home, but at least you can clean things up. Mobs tend to operate on impulse and opportunity. Lessons learned from overseas attacks show that time and again, anything that can be set on fire will be. Don’t leave the bags of trash, tires, and diesel in the yard to help the dirtbags ignite your house on fire. If violence is actively taking place and moving your way, do all you can to quickly lock up anything and everything around your building(s) so it can’t be used against you.
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Second, it is always a good plan to have passive barriers in place such as high walls, fences, and guard dogs to deter people from at least targeting your home. However, in the city much of this exterior barrier plan is simply not an option. In fact, you will probably have no standoff from the street and the bars on your first floor doors and windows that work well to deter burglars could be what traps your family in an inferno. If you have barred entryways, make certain you have the means to breach them.
My rule is that if you can’t find the key or the safety latch to open the bars when blindfolded and crawling on the floor, which simulates a real fire event, you need to immediately fix the problem. If you live or have rooms located above ground level, also make certain you have the means to safely get out and down to the ground. Fire escapes, escape ladders, and ropes all can work, but make sure they are serviceable, everyone knows how to use them, and you practice using them. If you have children, it may sound silly now, but make a game and have them rehearse exiting your home from multiple points while crawling and blindfolded. This will save their lives in the event of a real fire.
Third, have the means readily available to quickly put out fires started by fire bombs and other incendiary devices. Fire departments recommend for your safety that once a fire becomes uncontrolled, you immediately evacuate the building. This still holds true with the caveat that if you have a chemical fire extinguisher at the ready, there is a much lower likelihood any fire can get out of control.
Having a garden hose attached and ready to go won’t hurt, but what you really need are fire extinguishers capable of quickly putting out diesel and gasoline burning. Place these in every room around your house with a window or door. Make sure they are charged and at the ready. In the event someone tries to torch your car or house, you at least have the option to fight the fire. If you want to get really proactive, locate the nearest fire hydrants and consider trying to get a hold of a hydrant tool and some old but serviceable fire hose long enough to reach your house. It may sound crazy now, but if things go bad, the fire department is not coming to help you.
However, you can quickly enlist some neighbors for a fire brigade and make a good stand with the fire hose against both fire and the mob. Either way, if the blaze gets out of hand, it is better to immediately retreat to safety. Fire and smoke can overcome someone very rapidly and it is very easy to get disoriented once an area becomes smoke filled.
Fourth, if someone tries to burn you out, they are using a lethal weapon. Everyone must make their own decisions when it comes to defense of life and property so I won’t say taking a stand based on your own situation is right or wrong. What I will tell you is that time and again, families, businesses, and homes that were defended by well-armed citizens went unscathed while people were assaulted and property to include businesses, cars, and homes were destroyed just across the street.
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Just remember, a mob can be armed too. Also, remember that even if you protect your home, if it is attached to a dozen others that line a block and even one is set ablaze, it could mean you lose your home. Make no mistake, once a house is engulfed, you are not putting the blaze out with a fire extinguisher. At that point your best bet is to salvage what you can and escape with your family to safety.
I want to expand on my last point. You need a Plan B. Fire is deadly. Once it gets out of control, you aren’t stopping it. If you think there is going to be violence in your neighborhood, you should be proactive in establishing a Plan B to cover rapid evacuation in the event fire does destroy your home. This may mean storing important items off site, pre staging and packing essentials, moving vehicles into locked garages or out of town, and having a bug out plan ready. It is important your bug out plan is modified to not only take into account escaping a fire, but also a violent mob in the immediate area, and potentially martial law and curfews.
Many people I work with living in major cities simply have opted for keeping nothing but their essential items in their city residence because they have no intention of trying to hold that ground should it become untenable. Everything else is stored or cached elsewhere in more secure locations for just this reason. You should also be proactive and talk to the neighbors about “fire prevention.” You don’t need to be specific, but should give them some food for thought in case things go bad and how they should prepare and react.
My final note is that your best defense during social unrest is to not try and make a suicidal solo stand, but to organize and unite your family, friends, and neighbors.