When disaster strikes, it creates a threat to you and your family’s safety and security in more ways than one. Your personal safety is jeopardized by the lack of power, water or shelter and potentially by damage to things like gas valves or electrical systems. However, it may also be threatened by the way people act after the disaster.

It is unfortunate, but disasters often bring out the worst in people because they see it as an opportunity to loot damaged homes. Looters prey on whoever they believe is vulnerable.

Damaged homes or property are like personal invitations to looters who are looking for an easy way to rob property owners of their possessions. In this section, we review steps you can take to secure your home before and during a crisis and some self-defense methods should you have to confront looters or those who are acting irrationally due to fear and stress.

The best time to secure your home is before a crisis ever occurs. There are a number of steps you can take that range from ensuring window and door locks work properly to creating a safe room.

Below are some checklists to help you identify inexpensive and more expensive steps you can take to secure your home. You’ll also find a checklist of items you need to be familiar with before a crisis or a disaster to protect yourself from harm.