In the past, I’ve posted some tips on how you can balance your security needs with assuring the good guys can reach you in a crisis.
Well, it recently just happened again. We had an LOL Squared*, crying out for help on the other side of the door. We finally had to kick her door in, which of course resulted in significant property damage and her home being unsecured until repairs could be made. Not to mention the fact that, if the LOL in question is lying just on the other side of the door, kicking it in isn’t much of an option, either.
Took us a while to find her, too, because the addresses on her street are non-sequential, and everybody insists on using tasteful address markers artfully disguised by shrubbery and utterly invisible at night, unless the ambulance creeps along at a walking pace, illuminating each and every house with a spotlight.
For some odd reason, people get a little pissy and call in complaints when you shine a million-candlepower spotlight through their bedroom window at oh-my-God-thirty in the morning. I can’t imagine why.
So, if you or a loved one insist on locking yourselves behind multiple layers of security at night (and you should), get yourself one of these:
That’s a Master Lock security key box, commonly known as a realtor’s lock box. Mount it in an unobtrusive location somewhere where it isn’t easily seen with a casual inspection (ie, some dirtbag casing your house for vulnerabilities), and make sure your local 911 providers have the lock box location and combination in their database. Call your local police non-emergency number, and request to have that information added to their 911 database for your address. If they can’t add it themselves, they should be able to put you in touch with someone who can.
Now, before some of you post indignant and snarky comments about the security vulnerabilities of such devices, remember that nothing is 100% secure. Yes, you can pick them if you have some locksmith skills, time and the proper tools. You can even break them open, but that ain’t likely to happen while it’s bolted to your wall, and certainly without a lot of noise.
These devices are designed to stop a casual thief, not a dedicated one. Passive security measures like locks, cameras, alarms systems and good exterior lighting are meant to a) make someone casing your home think twice and choose an easier target, and b) slow down a dedicated intruder to give you time for the active security measures – someone armed with a weapon – to work. Ideally, that active security measure should be you and your firearm, because the vast majority of the time the cops arrive in time to investigate, not intervene.
Still, even should you choose not to use a lock box, it can help immeasurably if the good guys can just find you easily.
- Nice neighborhood with pleasant, tree-lined streets? Check.
- Colonial home with fenced in back yard and swingset? Check.
- June and Ward Cleaver grilling steaks next door? Check.
- Little Timmy playing in the yard with immaculately groomed Golden Retriever? Check.
- No curbside mailboxes, and addresses in non-reflective numbers?” Eff. Emm. Ell.
If you want the good guys to be able to find you quickly in your moment of need, you need to make both your home and your address marker visible at night.
First, get yourself one of these:
Left switch operates the light and ceiling fan. Right switch operates the front porch light. Middle switch activates the Claymore mines hidden in the shrubbery on either side of the steps.
It’s the right, illuminated switch I want to talk about. That’s a GE emergency light switch. You can buy ’em all day long on Amazon for $12.99, and they install just like a regular light switch. Just flip the breaker off, attach black wire to black wire, white wire to white wire, flip the breaker back on, and you’re in business.
Up position turns the light on, bottom position turns it off, and middle position flashes the light on and off repeatedly. The circuit in flashing mode doesn’t allow the light to reach its full level of brightness, so you may want to choose a higher wattage bulb than you would use otherwise.
Second, make sure your address is visible at night. I bought a reflective sign at Lowe’s for $20. You can mount it on a stake on your lawn near the curb, attach it to your mailbox post, or directly to your house. In the day, it looks like this:
Hey, the sign is level. It’s the pole that’s crooked. Don’t judge me.
At night, it looks like… well, watch the video and see for yourself.
So, for only $40, you can make it much easier to find your house in an emergency. Give it a try; it might just save your life.
* Little old lady, lying on linoleum.