Amy Suarez | |

It never hurts to be prepared for an emergency. The beauty of living in a city is that 85% of the homes are row homes. It’s easier to guard a row home than guard a 50 acre plot of land.

In order to survive an emergency, you have to be prepared. Not just with food or supplies, but to guard your home and family against any unwanted guests.

Before we start on instructions for window slats, here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:

  • Long screws
  • Electric rechargeable drill
  • Several rolls of duct tape, one for each room in the house
  • Circular saw
  • Recessed light hole saw
  • 1 x4 slats of wood, similar to deck railing, you’ll need 2 for every window and door
  • Plywood lumber, one for each window and door
  • Utility wall brackets (not the kind you hang)
  • Tape measure

You can rent most of the tools through Home Depot, but if you want to invest in them they’ll end up paying for themselves. Note:  Always keep your drill fully recharged in case an emergency hits without warning.


Measure every door and window in your house. Keep the measurements written down. Mark the measurements onto the plywood and using your circular saw, cut the wood according to your measurements. After you’ve made all your cuts, you may also want to cut your pine wood slats to the width of each window and door. You’ll need 2 slats for every door and window.


Attach the light hole saw to the drill and at the top of each piece of plywood, and about 2 inches from the top, make 2-3 holes. In the middle of the wood, at eye level, make another hole. The holes at the top will provide light and the hole in the middle will give you a peep hole. If your doors don’t have windows, you can leave out the holes.

Have one person help you hold up the plywood to each door and window. Fully drill at least three holes on each side of the plywood and partially drill holes through the wall or frames. Make sure the holes in the plywood are aligned with the hole in the frame or wall.

On the wall next to where the plywood goes, place the utility brackets and partially drill those holes. Make sure the brackets aren’t longer than the pine wood slats. The slats will serve as extra security for your doors and windows. The slats will fit in the utility brackets with the brackets serving as a shelf or holder for the wood.

After you’re finished, duct tape the brackets and screws to each piece of plywood. This will help you put them up quickly in case of an emergency. Keep plywood, slats, brackets and one roll of duct tape in each room.

Once an emergency hits:

  • Use the duct tape to seal the doors and windows for extra security. This will also prevent chemicals or other toxins from getting into your house.
  • Install the plywood, bracket and slats on the inside of the house and not the outside.
  • Don’t buy a gun unless you are prepared to use it. There is a big difference between firing a gun at a shooting range and having to shoot someone who’s breaking into your house.
  • Keep candles and flashlights in a plastic box that can be readily found.
  • Don’t put plywood on the door leading to the basement. This is where your food supply will be and you may have to live there in case of an emergency. If you have to go into the basement, duct tape the door, put the plywood, brackets and slats up after you get in.
  • The things that should already be in your basement: soap, candles, matches, food, water, change of clothes, first aid box, blankets, a porta potty (Bass pro Shops sell them for about $90.00. for more information), and enough folding cots for each member of your family.


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