The terrible tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma, combined with my wife and I moving to a new home recently, reminded me of the importance of owning a gun safe, along with the strategic placement of that safe and the importance of a “Chaos Kit” as a backup to the safe.
We talk and write quite a bit about emergency preparedness, and the ability to provide for an armed defense of our homes and property in the event of chaotic social unrest. However, having an ample supply of defensive firearms and ammunition does no good if you live in “tornado alley” and that supply was just blown over a ten mile area along with other important portions of your house. What are some of the things we can do to insure that we will actually have a much needed firearm available when the worst turns of life circumstances actually do occur?
First of all, all gun owners should have some type of gun safe, particularly if they own multiple guns. The first purpose of a safe is to prevent unauthorized access to your firearms and other valuables. The second purpose is to protect them in case of disaster. If you own only one or two handguns, then a small, general purpose fire-lined safe is acceptable. They need to be solidly bolted down so they can’t simply be carried away. Walmart offers a couple of Sentry™ Home Safes that work well for handguns, both are fire lined. One has an electronic lock for $159 and a standard tumbler lock model for $88. Sentry is a reliable, quality brand and I have used one for several years.
Because of my work I have two gun safes. The first one I bought was a brand basic Browning gun safe. It is not fire lined but is still solid and well made.
Two years ago I purchased a second safe and opted for one made by Liberty Safes™. I purchased one of their offshore-made Centurions with the standard mechanical lock. All new Centurion safes now have electronic locks. Both the Centurion and the Browning safe can be bolted to the floor, although after watching the three-man moving crew wrestle the empty safes, I would imagine that the average meth using burglar could do anything with them, bolted down or not.
Which brings me to the point about locale and how to best utilize your safe. For those of you in tornado alley, if you have a quality safe such as the models made by Liberty, bolting them to a basement or garage concrete floor is a must. Remember that cars can often keep structural integrity after a tornado hit. Fire lining is also an absolute must. Fire protection duration levels for the Centurion safes are 30-minutes, 45-minutes or 75-minutes at the very top end. If you live in a flood zone, then you likely will not have a basement. Gun safes aren’t airtight or waterproof, so I would secure all my guns inside the safe in LOKSAK® re-sealable element proof clear storage bags by LOKSAK. I keep my duty AR15 in one inside a soft case in my truck. It has been rust free throughout the spring, summer and winter months, yet is ready for quick deployment. If your home and safe are both flooded, the LOKSAK system will keep them protected.
Now to the last point: the need for a Chaos Bag. Yes, I know we have “Bugout” bags, but what if you are not going anywhere, and have opted to stay with your home (or what is left of it) during a chaotic situation or disaster? If you put all of your eggs into one basket (or one safe), you may be out of luck. A Chaos bag should contain food, first aid, and lighting supplies for staying put. Most of all, it needs to contain one or two compact firearms (a pistol and an M4 or AK) should be in the bag. If a tornado warning hits, that bag should go and stays with you, wherever you are taking shelter. Chaos guns and ammo should also be kept in LOKSAK’s as well.
This may be a good time to re-evaluate your readiness posture in case chaos descends rapidly. The folks in Oklahoma were fortunate, they had a warning time of 16 minutes. How long will you have?
Liberty Safes- www.libertysafe.com
Browning Gun Safes- www.browning.com
LOKSAK Products- www.loksak.com
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