DIY window slats for self-defence

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. https://www.basspro.com for more information), and enough folding cots for each member of your family.


7 Responses

  1. I am thinking of doing this with my husband, its his dream and now unemployed rising food costs and children to think of (someone again got shot to death outside our apartment building last night, our building is small, like 17 units.) we want out but are not sure how. we only get about 2400 a month right now, that could be doubled by next few months but what should be buy first?> someone help us,, we just want a self sustaing lifestyle with freedomfor all who wish to come with us call us, seriously, we live in ok right now..maybe too hot to live on the land. 9189048843

  2. Too many movies! Community – strong community – is exactly what will save us all, not going it alone in some crazed Hollywood survival of the fittest game. Most people are not crazy nutters, most are decent and would die helping a neighbours child in a fire or whatever. An building those communities will probably mean we avoid these ’emergencies’ in the first place. Good luck!

  3. Its been my experience that those that live off-grid have unique security issues.

    For one thing, if you are living truly off-grid, (to include cellphone grid) then law enforcement is not even an option.

    Most off-grid living, your neighbors arnt close enough to see, or even hear you scream, though, they might see your house burning down in the distance.

    And as long as it doesn’t put them too far out, at too much of a risk, they might come out to help you-maybe.
    Dave is very right, in a majority of cases, it turned out “it was the neighbors that did it” and the occasional roving thugs.

    There is nothing wrong with being community friendly, but putting all your eggs in that basket is unwise.
    In an actual crisis, your neighbors could also be facing the same issues, and so busy self rescuing themselves, they aint got time to rescue you!

    The first thing that breaks down in a community, is the community! If the boats going down, you better be prepared to fight for a life jacket! It literally boils down to survival of the fittest, the most cunning, etc…
    Push come to shove, your nice neighbors you’ve been friends with for 15 years will turn on you like rabid dogs, kill you, take anything they need, what ever it takes to survive!!!

    Anyone who thinks differently is deluded, and you give too much faith contrary to human nature, you ignore the human history. And if anyone need a reminder, hurricane Katrina is a perfect example! first 72 hours, people were helping each other, but after that, they started killing and stealing from each other. One guy made it all too real when he said “when it came down to my kids eating or someone else, they should of expected a rock to the head.”

    Its easy to be lulled into thinking we are safe and secure when everyone is acting all nice and whatnot, when peoples survival isn’t truly on the line.

    there is a reason why the phrases; self protection/defense, self rescue, self reliance, self sustaining are key phrases in off-grid living.

    This is not to say to make enemies of your neighbors thereby making you first on the list of primary targets, but it also doesn’t mean thinking that you can count on them when SHTF!

    People are literally naturally addicted to survival, genetically predisposed, and counting against their addiction is a losing proposition!

  4. I find the tone of this post to be deeply disturbing. In case of “emergency”, your neighbors are going to be your most important resource. One of the most crucial skills involved in off-grid living (and I’ve lived entirely off-grid for 15 years) is the skill of building sustainable relationships with neighbors. When you move off the physical grid, you find that the human grid becomes a crucial piece of your survival kit.

  5. If you live in an area subject to wild fires, the window covers would double as protection if placed on the outside of the window. Without window covers radiant heat will pass through glass and set drapes, etc. on fire well before the flames get to the house.

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