Can the authorities legally keep you from your home?

Can the authorities legally keep you from your home?

This is a discussion on Can the authorities legally keep you from your home? within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; So the south has recently had some nasty weather with Tornadoes and such. The question is after such a disaster can they legally keep you ...

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Thread: Can the authorities legally keep you from your home?

  1. #1
    Member Array TheGiant's Avatar
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    Can the authorities legally keep you from your home?

    So the south has recently had some nasty weather with Tornadoes and such.

    The question is after such a disaster can they legally keep you from going to your home? My brother in law stayed to protect his property after their neighborhood was wiped out. They where not letting anyone into the area. His wife and kids had to walk out over a mile to get picked up and driven to relatives.

    How can they legally keep you from your home? Can they? If they can why again do we let them? Something needs to be changed. They can't force you to leave but they can keep you out? Makes no since to me.

    Not sure what his post apocalyptic weapon of choice is but I hope he has extra rounds. It was going to be 3 days before National Guard arrived and Weeks before services like water and electricity are back on.

    Just reminds me to do more planning and preparation.


  2. #2
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    I don't know if they legally can keep you of your home. If they can, I can guess the reasoning. Every ill-equipped homeowner trying to weave their way through a maze of downed electric lines and debris is another person emergency services may have to save when they get into trouble. Also, traffic may prevent utility workers from getting things back online as fast as they could with empty roads.

    Also, look at this way. You may have a right to your property, but the government controls all the access paths to get to your property.

    3 days without power in summer hardly seems like a true disaster to me, but in a real disaster it seems better to me keep your family safe than protect your stuff. But that's easy to say when it isn't me.
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    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    This prior thread might provide some answers:

    Evacuation ? for LEOs

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    Member Array Aiko's Avatar
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    I am "guessing" under a declared state of emergency, local LEO can keep you away temporary for your own safety. Just a guess.

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    There are always three questions buried here. 1) Can they. Of course, they obviously do. 2) Should they. Maybe not, depends on circumstance and the real need to protect the citizens. 3) What is legal? Lots of stuff is legal in emergencies that isn't legal in every day life, and probably this is legal, but it might not be. Police have certainly been known to assume powers to themselves that they don't have. It sounds like everything was well intentioned for the good of lots of folks and public safety, but if it really bothers you, get some legal advice--- though I think you will be wasting your money.
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    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
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    This is a hot topic where I live.We have mandatory evacuation because of hurricanes.The LEO I have spoken with about this just laugh.They might block you from returning to your home,but how many cops would it take to go into every home and force everyone to leave?I can understand,to some degree,not letting people back in.How would they tell the good people from the bad?
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    State of Emergency

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGiant View Post
    The question is after such a disaster can they legally keep you from going to your home?

    Just reminds me to do more planning and preparation.
    Short answer is yes ... for two reasons ...

    First, as you have already read, the life-safety issue of traversing debris fields means it so dangerous for your public servants, not to mention you. I hope you are a reasonable adult who would take evacuation steps, should, for example, there be a wildfire evacuation announcement made.

    Second reason for not allowing folks to return to damaged property any time they want is to reduce the number of people in the area. For LEO, that's less people to protect and more people to easily identify to arrest for violating the ordinance. That protects your property so you can focus on your personal issues related to your recovery.

    I hope, while you are planning, you will check with your home-owners' or renters' policies to check on two things. First, most policies I have had have provision for debris. Check with your insurance agent.

    Second, and more important, so you don't have to go to a shelter (where your concealed weapon would not be welcome), some rental and home-owners policies pay something to you for reimbursing your motel expenses while you are away from the place.

    Finally, call 800-621-FEMA if you are in a declared disaster area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will assist with Individual Assistance, IF your County has been declared for Individual Assistance. FEMA lists disaster declarations by jurisdiction. You will need to read for Individual Assistance and not get confused by Public Assistance.

    The Are You Ready book is a good place to start with your planning. It's free.

    Hope that helps.
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  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
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    I will add,there are insurance policies that will pay a large percentage of your house note if your home is unlivable because of a disaster.This is often offered by companies associated with your mortgage company.I learned much through hurricanes Rita and Ike.Get a copy of your ENTIRE policy,not the little 10 page copy most companies supply.
    Pain is the best teacher,but nobody wants to go to his class.


    When the past smothers the present, there is only desperation. When the future absorbs the present, life stands still. In either case a decision must be made because you only live now and you are only what you are now.

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    Not mentioned so far, the authorities need to be careful to not let looters in. That means they must either keep everyone out or screen everyone going in. In a chaotic difficult immediate aftermath, with resources stretched, it is much easier to just put up a barricade and keep everyone out.

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    Ex Member Array F350's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kc5fm View Post
    Short answer is yes ... for two reasons ...

    First, as you have already read, the life-safety issue of traversing debris fields means it so dangerous for your public servants, not to mention you. I hope you are a reasonable adult who would take evacuation steps, should, for example, there be a wildfire evacuation announcement made.

    Second reason for not allowing folks to return to damaged property any time they want is to reduce the number of people in the area. For LEO, that's less people to protect and more people to easily identify to arrest for violating the ordinance. That protects your property so you can focus on your personal issues related to your recovery.


    Finally, call 800-621-FEMA if you are in a declared disaster area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will assist with Individual Assistance, IF your County has been declared for Individual Assistance. FEMA lists disaster declarations by jurisdiction. You will need to read for Individual Assistance and not get confused by Public Assistance.

    The Are You Ready book is a good place to start with your planning. It's free.

    Hope that helps.
    PLUS keeping you out makes it easier for them to steal your firearms as in Greensburg Kansas, undamaged homes were entered and all firearms removed and unaccounted for and only "The Authorities" were in the area EVERYONE was kept out...

    FEMA’s mission was to safeguard the property of businesses in the area and offer “low interest” loans to property owners affected. The National Guard was on hand along with the local police, to act as the enforcement mechanism for FEMA, while occasionally hauling debris and garbage out of the city. . . .In the immediate recovery after the storm, FEMA and local police not only worked to find survivors and the dead, but also any firearms in the city. As you pass by houses in Greensburg, you notice that some are spraypainted with how many weapons were recovered from the home. This is central Kansas, a region with extremely high legal gun ownership. Of the over 350 firearms confiscated by police immediately after the storm, only a third have been returned to their owners. FEMA and the police have systematically disarmed the local population, leaving the firepower squarely in control of the state.

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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Rogers View Post
    This prior thread might provide some answers:

    Evacuation ? for LEOs
    That's my thread, and I found few answers, and a couple smart aleck comments. Good luck to you.
    I'm not a lawyer or a LEO, just a pantload with a computer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F350 View Post
    PLUS keeping you out makes it easier for them to steal your firearms as in Greensburg Kansas, undamaged homes were entered and all firearms removed and unaccounted for and only "The Authorities" were in the area EVERYONE was kept out...
    As long as they leave the foil hats, I'm good with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by BaconHunter View Post

    Also, look at this way. You may have a right to your property, but the government controls all the access paths to get to your property.
    Yup.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    As another poster stated giving first responders time to clear debris fields and downed power lines would be one reason another would be a train derailment or commercial vehicle accident involving haz-mat materials.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

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    We had devastating tornadoes in my area (5 miles from my house) a few weeks ago. Folks that lived there just had to show ID with their address in the affected area that was blocked off and they were allowed access. After a day or so, they could get a pass from the relief center that allowed them to pass through. Without that pass, you couldn't get in. Apparently not all areas handle it the same.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICTsnub View Post
    That's my thread, and I found few answers, and a couple smart aleck comments. Good luck to you.
    There were plenty of answers. Probably not the ones some had hoped for but the law on this topic is quite settled in American jurisprudence.

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