SHTF Security: Principles for Patrolling Your Property

by Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition:

OK, all of you Readers out there in ReadyNutrition Land, we’re going to kick off this article on basics of how to patrol your property.  Sounds easy enough, right, I mean, you have two eyes and a brand-new popgun right out of Cabela’s, right?  And a licensed, approved, NRA-certified instructor at the gun range to show you how to shoot, right?  Sure, when it hits the fan, you and the family are just going to prop up a couple of sandbags in the windowsills and watch your lanes, right?  No, on all counts.

Patrolling is more than that, and you’ll need to patrol your property.

The Army Field Manual, FM 7-8 for Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad, Chapter 3 will give you all you need.  You can also reference the Ranger Handbook, SH 21-76 for the info.

That being mentioned, let’s break it down to make it a little more simplistic for you.  Patrolling (in the case of the happy family defending their home when the S hits the fan) will amount to giving yourself and your family a “buffer” to engage hostiles before they reach your house.  There will be many parameters that cannot be addressed, simply because of the complexity and individuality of each situation.

Patrolling means that you will range out (usually on foot, but for large tracts of property, on horseback or with some type of vehicle) and observe everything that happens to protect your home and family.  It requires a routine for you to follow, as well as a schedule and an ROE (Rules of Engagement).  We’ll cover that last part later.  The main thing: you’ll need to rove and range around your property night and day to ensure your house isn’t approached and surrounded in an assault.

The more people you have in your family or group, the easier it will be to conduct scheduled patrolling operations.  The time to practice these operations is now before anything happens.  You need to find out how many people will be on your guard roster, and how frequently you will patrol.  It is different from military patrolling because you won’t have to establish a patrol base or occupy one: you have a house.

Patrolling Fundamentals

You must do the following for your property to follow good patrolling fundamentals:

  1. Draw a map of your property: this is a sensitive item! Do not allow it to leave the property.
  2. On the map, outline all natural and man-made terrain features, as well as what is adjacent to the property.
  3. Determine danger areas: these are areas that would enable an enemy or attacker to make maximum use of the terrain to gain the advantage. Examples of this would be a hilltop overlooking your house, or a large boulder near the end of the driveway with a view of your front door on either side of it.
  4. Determine the route and area you would patrol, and how many people this would need. You may have someone who always observes (a guard station) in the third-floor attic; however, that person can’t see everything…where a roving patrol can “flush” out someone hidden out of the view of the sentry.  Will you walk the whole perimeter of the property?  Or will you zig-zag back and forth, covering it that way?  You’ll have to determine what is optimal.
  5. Fighting positions: you may need to set up or construct some hasty fighting positions near your patrol route. Keep in mind: any fortified hasty position can be used against your house by an opponent, as well.  You can find all that you need on this in the infantry field manual.  These can suit purposes of defending a property.
  6. Measure distances and note azimuths from the house to different points on the property: I’ve done articles on sector stakes and sector sketches in the past. They work, and they’ll work for you as well.  They take the “guesswork” out of things and give you an edge to work with.

You need security 24/7 after the S hits the fan.  You’ll have to work out a schedule.  Basically, patrolling the property for 2-4 hours is monotonous work.  You’ll need VOX’s (voice-activated radios) or Motorola’s to use, and a schedule of frequencies to hop back and forth with.  Remember: if you can speak on a radio, someone else besides your team/family member can listen in as well.

NVG’s: Night Vision Goggles/Night Vision Devices – these are great to use until the firefight begins.  If they’re on your face when that happens?  Well, you’ll be hard pressed just to recover seeing.  The best ones to use are hand-held ones that you can take a quick peek and then take them off.  This way you don’t lose your night vision completely.

Just please keep this in mind: double up on that equipment and stick one of each item in a Faraday cage.  If an EMP hits, you’ll be glad you did.

You will need to range the property and the perimeter, checking for any vehicles, suspicious individuals moving in the area (all individuals are suspicious after the SHTF event), and individuals or groups making a move (incursion) onto the property.  This is where ROE (Rules of Engagement) come in.  Depending on the size and spread of the intruders, you need to determine the maximum you (as an individual or a group) number of hostiles you will engage and when you will break contact.

SALUTE for Safety

Before you make any contact, you want to radio in a SALUTE report to whoever is on radio watch.  This is to alert the family/team that there is going to be a problem and to provide them with as much intel as possible prior to contact being made.  Here is the “refresher” on SALUTE:

S – Size: the size of the group/unit

A – Activity: what are they doing?  Are they engaged in any other activity besides approaching the house?

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