MakeShift Challenge: Under Siege in a Laundry Room: Honorable Mention

MakeShift 14: Bill Dallman’s Honorable Mention Entry
by Lee D. Zlotoff
September 21, 2008

Solution by Bill Dallman

First, wedge the ironing board against the washer and the wall to reinforce your barricade; also any other items like the shelving or laundry baskets, anything to add mass to the barricade and slow them down. If it’s possible, attempt to push the dryer against the door as well, possibly on top of the washer.
If you have a household toolbox with a hammer and nails, nail the door shut and take a few shelf boards to help board up the door. Keep the hammer handy as a weapon. A screwdriver makes a good weapon also, and if you have a hammer you could try and knock a hole in the outside wall either for escape or to call for help. Another possibility is a handsaw; you can cut the drywall, pull out the insulation, and cut the siding. As long as they don’t catch on and come to meet you outside, you could escape.
Pull off the dryer vent pipe and shout for help. It may carry through the tube enough to get someone’s attention.
Plug in the iron and get it hot, for possible use as a weapon, or to put cloth rags on to make smoke, to set off the fire alarm or to direct it out the dryer vent or hammer hole to attract attention. You should set it in the sink; in case the rags catch fire, the water will help put it out. If there is a fan in the room, use it to direct smoke up the dryer vent or hammer hole. Too much smoke can be lethal, so if you have no way of venting it I would not attempt smoke signals. Put a plastic bag over the sink with the vent pipe and smoking iron inside to help control the smoke.
Dump out the contents of a couple of spray bottles and fill them with bleach for use as a chemical weapon, same with ammonia, and open the top on the powdered soap or powdered lye drain cleaner. Aim for the eyes. Bleach and ammonia together make poison gas, so be careful, but if you get a shot of each on their face it could be very harmful and may incapacitate them.
If the washer’s hot water feed is facing the door, you could use it to repel the invaders as they try to get past the barrier. Also if there is any knife or sharp tool in the toolbox you can cut the feed hose to help aim and direct the hot water.
There may be a laundry chute that may be big enough to get out through, or if it is a one-story building you may be able to knock a hole in the ceiling to escape into the attic by climbing on top of the dryer, and then onto the roof, to at least shout for help and add distance between you and the attackers.
Because it is a windowless room, if you cannot get out by any means and you have to wait for them to breach, turn off the lights. If the fuse panel is in the laundry room, as it frequently is, shut off power to the whole house if it is evening and they will also be in the dark. If you have outdoor lights and know what breaker it is, you can try and signal with an SOS. It may even make them leave if the whole house’s lights are flashing SOS:

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Broom or mop handles would make good spears if you’re able to break the end into a sharp point. Wrap cloth around the other end to make a handle for more thrusting power and leverage if they attempt to pull it from you. Also, a sturdy mop handle can be wielded as a staff if you have room to swing. Use the spears through the opening in the door just as it starts to open and in the dark they will not be able to defend against it and could possibly result in fatal wounds.
As you defend your castle with a spear and a hammer, roar like a madman and bang around like a gorilla in a cage — it will psychologically trigger the fight-or-flight reaction and may get them to leave.

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