Foraging 3, Entry Thoughts.

Statement.
What you’re going to read now will probably look like I’m pushing ‘illegal entry’.
I’m not, sort of, because if your survival depends on it, those quaint little laws we all abide by don’t matter, or (to be more accurate) shouldn’t matter. After all if you are outside an empty house in a sub-zero blizzard wondering if you should struggle on or seek shelter by forcing entry? Or you need food or medical supplies and the store will never open again? Both scenarios are no brainers for me, I’m going in.

Tooling
For many years I got too complicated for my own good regarding tooling.
I used to think on the lines of Pry, Cut, Smash, Undo, Bypass and Pick.
So I was overly equipped with:-

  • Pry Bars, Pickaxes, shovels
  • Cable and Bolt Cutters, saws, knives
  • Club and claw hammers
  • Screwdrivers including security bits, adjustable spanner
  • And as for picking/bypassing?
    Tools, mica, the humble coat wire hanger, and box tape.
  • Electronic defeat tooling and equipment

AND one VERY LARGE backpack to hold all of them.

No more.
Simple thinking now gets me into what is easy.
As for the hard stuff? Why struggle when working against time!
Survival is, after all, about personal safety and gain over effort.
Especially if that involves working within a hostile (which doesn’t always mean conflict) environment or scenario.

So what’s on the tool list now?
A VERY heavy-duty multi-tool, a small adjustable spanner, a mini mattock, a couple of sheets of hard faced plastic (like mica but stronger), and wire from a wire coat hanger.
Not shown is a small LED headlamp.

Um, you may have guessed, nothing is to scale.

Tools achieve nothing without technique and this is where you’ve got to start thinking outside the box and that’s all about exploiting a WEAKNESS!
For example, wire fencing is relatively easy to cut but steel fencing?
You could dig under it using the mattock or simply undo the top three nuts with your adjustable spanner and bend the “bars” down flat. (Been there, done that).

Now look at these:-

How long to defeat them with minimal tooling?
Too damn long.

Now if you really want to know how to enter things, ask a fireman.
That and browse the locksmithing forums, not forgetting YouTube.
Why firemen? Because they train to do just that i.e. use forcible entry techniques to enter somewhere. Yet their basic tooling is also pry, break, and just occasionally bypass.
Enter the Halligan and firemans axe (sort of).
So why don’t I just carry them?
After all both of those are good for anti zombie work aren’t they?
And in that scenario I might just do that BUT they are heavy and large and I’m not one for too much metal for too little a task now.

Working to a timetable.
How long you have on site is worked out next but there are a few extra things you need to consider.

  1. No op-plan survives first contact so always plan for a ‘on the run under duress’ exit.
    Those exit strategies are WAY MORE IMPORTANT than how to get in.
  2. It is not good practice to exit the same way as you entered.
  3. Always lock or bar doors behind you. If someone is reacting to an alarm, they will probably check the usual entry points first. If all appeared locked and in good order, that may be enough for them to call “False trip”.
  4. Look and listen.
    That faint ‘beeping’ or flashing LED may be a tell-tale that an alarm has been tripped.
    Even if power has been off for a long time, you cannot guarantee systems are dead.
    One example was a ‘long term’ disused facility with a disarmed smoke cloak system.
    Engineers entered to work and that system (following a power surge) awoke from a dormant state and the smoke nozzles were triggered.
    In the ensuing panic two engineers were seriously injured.
  5. Work to a timetable. So many minutes for each stage.
    The overwatch (if present) calls the times off for, entry, foraging, and the exit, OR AN ABORT. Never argue with a command to abort.
    The overwatch can see what is going on outside. In the main, you can’t.
  6. Work to a list.
    You have to carry out whatever you find and your shopping list of priorities should be considered sacrosanct. ONCE YOU HAVE FILLED THAT LIST then, and only if time allows, you can browse.

Is that it?
No, nowhere near it.
Personal safety calls for you to do things carefully and to formulate a plan.
You need to be thinking tactical.
Woo Hoo and everyone grabs a gun and explosives. Except that’s stupid!
The best entry is one where you leave no mark of your passing or actions.
It gives you time to infiltrate, forage /scavenge, and then get out and away without alerting anyone of your presence.

I’m moving into scenarios where the word hostile could mean a lot of different things.
Take civil war, conflict, or a disaster where the authorities will try to control everything you do usually under the banner of anti terrorism, for your safety, or crime prevention. Foraging 2 That Grey Line broke the basic task down yet you’ve also got the worry of people (especially the authorities, LEO’s or military) butting in where they are not wanted.

Welcome to the world of tactical planning and nuisance tripping.
So ultimately what’s this all about?
Getting in, out, and away, INTACT with what you need.
There are three stages to achieving this, surveillance, testing response, and good planning.

  1. Surveillance will tell you WHAT security is in place.
  2. Testing response is all about what would happen WHEN you try to acquire things.
  3. Your actions, your plan? They are determined by THE OTHER TWO.

Surveillance is all about finding out what you will have to cope with. you do this by:-

  • Working out their Physical Security (Both external and if possible Internal).
    Caution is needed with carrying out an internal survey as your visit could be monitored and recorded by CCTV. Remember the police like to review old security tapes / disks after an intrusion. As one of my more concerned readers pointed out, there may be a reckoning after the event ends so don’t be stupid and get caught on camera.
  • Can they call in Air Support or Aerial Surveillance
    If the area is under military control, both of the above could be a problem.
    Don’t forget they may also have thermal and night vision capabilities.
  • Where is, and how far, is the “security’s” base of operations from the site?
    Important information as you may need to consider that responding officers may arrive from two different directions.
  • Does the security change M-F, weekends, or during national holidays?
    Look for the “B” team. Every firm has one. The idiots, the lazy, the apathetic.
  • Is it manned or just transiting security.  Is that security 24 hr or just casual visit.
    If it is 24 hour I’d leave the site alone and move on BUT if you are desperate, be mindful that multi personnel-manned sites usually operate local shifts i.e. one sleeps whilst the other patrols. Miss that and you could walk into double the trouble.
    Another reason for leaving a manned site alone.
    If casual visits are the norm, are those visits predictable?
    They usually are as roving security will have a list of places to check usually a few times a night. After a while operators develop a pattern. That’s inevitable.
  • What communications do they use?
    If they are using radio can you intercept their traffic i.e. scanners.
  • Look out for dogs.
    If there are dogs forget it and move on.
    Unless you can kill them prior to entering, the danger of harm to you is too great a risk.
  • What resources does the response unit use or have access too.
    i.e. What transport do they use, is it only Personnel, personnel with dogs, are they armed, are the dogs loose?
  • What is their REACTION time to an alarm at different times,
    i.e. Daytime, Pre 03 h, After 04 h
    Why 03 to 04 h? Old school call that ‘KGB knock time’.
    That’s when most are at their lowest ebb both mentally and physically.
  • How long are they going to stay on site?
    i.e. in and out in 5 minutes or stay hours on the site.
  • How do they react i.e. a full search or just a gate or door rattle.
  • Does the owner attend as SOP i.e. are they alone, accompanied, male, female, armed, with a dog? Do they carry keys?

Testing Response to an alarm.
The simplest way of finding this out is to do what alarm companies hate and trigger multiple false alarms. Having been a rapid response driver for a few security firms, I know that when an alarm goes off during conditions that are less than ideal i.e.windy, storms, when it is too hot or cold, responses are slower than normal. This is because false alarm rates soar on these occasions.

Note:- The second response to any site is usually faster than the first.
Mainly because the driver now KNOWS the route to the location.

Providing there is no visible damage or signs of entry, multiple false alarms will usually result in turning the alarm system off pending investigation and repair the next day. It is rare for a mobile patrol to remain on site and even rarer for a key holder to stay.

Most security drivers have a large area to cover. If they are not carrying internal access keys (they rarely do for insurance reasons) they are usually limited to external checks probably only having a perimeter gate access card / key / or digital lock combination. Thus once you are in, provided your access point is made secure again, a firm rattle may be enough to discourage further investigation.

Regarding timing of false alarms.
Drivers are nearly always under time pressure to complete their rounds.
Give them at least 30-40 minutes on exit before triggering the alarm.
Think random in timing.
For example two false trips EXACTLY 30 minutes apart might raise attention.
Your objective is to put distance between the responder and the site. It must look like a continuous, if random, problem. The more they have to travel, the more the irritation factor kicks in. Especially from their control room.

So once you have all that Intel, you’ll always find there are windows of opportunity.
This will probably also seem like a lot of work for little gain to some.
Just consider ‘little’ might actually end up ‘a lot’ if you can organise yourself correctly.
Covert working may allow a return at a later time but remember the basic rule of the hunted, “YOU SHOULD NEVER GO BACK TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME”.

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