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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Security Ideas for Desert Locales

Posted By:  LVKINGG

I have given some thought to the defensibility of a desert location in a SHTF scenario, and here is a summary of my observations:

Most desert terrain supports sparse vegetation, or at least vegetation that does little to impede visual surveillance. As such, this is both an advantage and a disadvantage to those who wish to defend a homestead/retreat in the desert. For the advantage side, desert terrain generally permits observation over great distances, particularly concerning the approach of vehicles (which usually kick up dust clouds that can be seen for many miles). This makes a surprise assault by hostile forces much more difficult to achieve--when the defenders are vigilant anyway. The principle disadvantage is that the ability to observe over great distances is afforded to the hostiles as well. This means that the defenders must be even more cautious about chosing locations for their structures and employ camouflaging techniques to keep their homesteads/retreats from being spotted by (potential) hostiles.

Another concern about desert terrain is that, unless it is also mountainous, the defenders will have no natural terrain features to prevent an approach to the property from any direction. This means that they must be able to defend against attacks from anywhere in a 360 degree arc! Places with heavy woods, deep/wide/swift rivers and cliffs are more easily defended because approach from at least one direction is effectively blocked (but even these locations will be monitored by prudent defenders). When looking for land, would be homesteaders/retreaters should consider terrain that can 'funnel' movement into narrow corridors that are much easier to defend.

If intruders are expected in the area, desert dwellers must practice flawless operations discipline to avoid detection and becoming a target. This includes noise, odor and light discipline. This is because any man-made sights, sounds and smells can be detected over great distances in the desert and give invaders ample time to prepare a plan of attack. Buildings, fences and other tell-tale signs of habitation will attract invaders, so a desert dweller should do whatever possible to minimize the appearance of these structures. Generators running, the sounds of farmstead animals (chickens, cows, sheep, goats and dogs), talking/shouting and music are all audio indicators of habitation, and should be minimized or eliminated to the greatest extent possible if intruders are suspected of being near or in the area. The smells of cooking or other fragrances not natural to the environment can also betray your location, so these must be controlled as best you can. Smoke is not a normal thing to see in a desert environment, and can be seen during daylight for many miles, and any form of man-made light during nighttime will attract intruders from similar distances.

Build your homestead/retreat well off any main roads (especially any that are paved) and if possible out of view from any such roads. While many desert locations are not at risk of large scale movement of potential intruders, any rural areas that lie between cities which have major highways will be at greater risk of intrusion by refugees or looters should the cities ever be evacuated.

Get to know your neighbors and when possible, involve them in your security plans (if you don't have neighbors, you may want to encourage trusted friends to become neighbors, or join you at your homestead/retreat). Obviously this involves trust, so the sooner you can establish good working relations, the better. Good neighbors can act as an advance warning system, and if they are of similar mindset can assist in the security of your property. When doing so, always promote mutual protection and keep to your word! Desert environments are hard and require a rugged mindset, so having good neighbors can only benefit everyone! Mutual support is the only way to go!

I think this should be enough to get the thread going. I would appreciate any suggestions or constructive criticisms so that we may all benefit!

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