July 2023

Photo credit: Tammy Cobb
Location: Quarry Lake, Harrington Beach, WI

Focus of the Month – Security and Defense

Reading Recommendations:
Non-fiction book – Left of Bang by Patrick Van Horne and Jason Riley
Fiction book — One Second After by William Forstchen

All of the supplies and gear in the world won’t help you if someone is able to take them away from you. However, security and defense involve a lot more than just investing in enough armaments to take over a Third World country. The ideal is to never have to engage with an enemy at all.

Consider that most people make decisions based on a risk vs. reward basis. If you can increase the perceived risk, while also decreasing the perceived reward, looters and such are more likely to move on to easier targets. Read more about that, as well as the three components to every security plan, here.

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Left of Bang by Patrick Van Horne and Jason Riley is a book that could very well save your life, and that’s not hyperbole. The focus here is on teaching the reader how to be aware of their surroundings and thus be in a position to see potential threats before the bang. Written in plain English, the authors will help you to be proactive, rather than reactive.

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One Second After by William Forstchen is a prepper classic. The story follows a college professor who works tirelessly to save his small North Carolina town after an EMP hits. It is an incredible tale of hardship and struggle, with no small amount of heroism on the parts of several characters.

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July 5 – Pet Preps

For many of us, our pets are part of our family. They count on us to provide their food, water, and other needs. It is important to account for them in our overall disaster plans. Here’s an article that outlines many of the things you need to consider.

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July 17 – Hiding Valuables

There are many places around the home that you could stash some cash or other valuables. There are two parts to this equation.

Detectability – how easy or difficult will it be for someone to find what you’ve hidden?

Accessibility – will you need to have immediate access to it?

For most of us, we’ll want a hiding place that’s very hard to detect, but at the same time we don’t want to have to work hard to get to whatever it is we’re hiding.

Let’s look at a few options. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it should help get you thinking about what you can do in your own home.


If you have a basement, odds are you have cardboard boxes or plastic totes filled with stuff you don’t want, don’t need, but can’t seem to get rid of just yet. Add one more to the stack, but one that contains things you do want to keep around. Label it “Grandma’s old clothes” or some such.

While you’re down there, look up. If you don’t have a dropped ceiling, you’re probably seeing all manner of plumbing, wires, and what not running here and there. If you’re just somewhat handy, you could add another run of four-inch PVC that goes actually goes nowhere. Inside, though, you could stash all kinds of things, from cash and coins to boxes of ammunition.

Living Room

Provided you use cheap frames, you could slip some cash behind photos that hang on the wall or sit on shelves.

Few people would look askance at an extra air vent on the wall. https://amzn.to/3FE1EB5

Depending on the space available and how much stuff you’re looking to hide, a couple of plastic totes stacked together and covered with some nice fabric can make a dandy end table. Add a piece of plywood or hardboard on top of the totes to provide a flat surface before you cover them.


If you stand in your closet, just inside the door, and look up, there might be enough space above the door to hang a small shelf.

You could hide some of your goodies in the pockets of coats and jackets you no longer wear. However, this is risky as you might forget what you’ve stashed and end up donating it to Goodwill along with the coat.


Honestly, I’d avoid hiding much of anything in the bedroom, as that’s one of the first places a burglar will look. It is human nature to want to keep our most valuable things closest to us.

Diversion Safes

One more option is to utilize diversion safes. These are small hiding places that are designed to look identical to common household products. You’ll find them made out of everything from books to cans of shaving cream. They can work well, provided you keep them with other similar items so that they blend in. However, keep in mind that burglars are well aware of diversion safes, too.