View Full Version : going down the basement stairs

June 27, 2008, 08:50 AM
Something went bump in the night last night in our new home. Being the hairier one with superior upper body strength, my wife ordered me into the basement to check it out.
So, opening the basement door, I realized if anything was down there intent on doing me harm, I was screwed going down those stairs (typical unfinished basement open staircase).

What's the best way to take care of this?

June 27, 2008, 09:04 AM
The best way of dealing with the issue is to stay in your room and see if the noise repeats or gets worse. If so, bunker down and call 911.

However, none of us (including myself) take this advice so all I can suggest is making sure you have sufficient light to see into the deep recesses, go real slow, and have your wife beside you ready and capable of backing you up. No "gentler sex" thing when there is bumping to be dealt with. ;)

June 27, 2008, 09:32 AM
The use of night lights to back light hallways and entryways. If you sleep upstairs backlight the bottom of steps, and hallways backlight the end further away from bedroom. Hopefully this will create a silhouette of BG and leave you in dark. Also some the the more expensive flashlights will illuminate a entire room.

June 27, 2008, 09:37 AM
10,000 scenarios. I'm grouchy today so today I say ... put the spouse on phone duty (to the police), Turn on some downstairs lights with the switch you have mounted upstairs and announce clearly that the police have been called and are en-route and that everyone upstairs is armed and willing to shoot and that the person downstairs should either give up now and lay down in plain sight or flee, their choice.

June 27, 2008, 10:11 AM
If you've ever seen a low-budget horror film, you know what happens next.

Since there are many things that could have caused the noise that do not involve a goblin or two, you will probably feel a real need to check it out yourself before calling 911. This is one of the many times when dogs are worth their weight in Gold Dots.

Let it Bleed
June 27, 2008, 03:46 PM
I have a light switch at the top of the stairs to the basement. I turn them on and shut the door and listen. I figure the light will send whatever or whoever running for cover or an exit. If I don't hear scurrying, then I switch the lights out.

My intent is to preserve my night vision while hopefully ruining the potential intruder's ability to see as well as me in the dark. Then it's time to go down the stairs with flashlight and pistol in hand.:eek:

Now if I'm convinced there is a human intruder, I'm calling 911 and waiting for the cops!

June 27, 2008, 04:03 PM
easy one... flash-bang device :cool:

June 27, 2008, 06:03 PM
I'm thinking more of the fact that any intruder would be able to see every bit of me coming down that open staircase while my head is the last thing to come down to be able to scope out the room.

June 27, 2008, 06:16 PM
Snoop, the Pit. He's loyal, fearless and would be at the door and demanding to go down to investigate before any need for lights to go on. I'm a firm believer that there is no security without a dog being in the the equation.

June 27, 2008, 08:37 PM
"What's the best way to take care of this?"

Number One: Call 911. Good to keep a cell phone in your pocket, too.

Number Two: Have a good flashlight at hand. I have more than I'd like to admit.

Number Three: A good knife is always good idea. I also have more of those than I'd like to admit.

Number Four: A pocket-sized handgun that you've used and can trust. In my case, it's a S&W M60, right by the bed. Yes, I've got bigger/badder things, but when the SHTF, I'll trust the little Smith.

Other than that advice, I'm afraid you're on your own. :(

June 27, 2008, 11:51 PM
a small mirror on a stick combined with your flash light will help you look around most corners without exposing yourself. go to the hand tool section of your hardware store. most mechanics have one in the tool box. place a dressing mirror at the base of the stairs.
Have a plan. some thoughts.
Before you need to clear your basement get in the basement and figure out the best hiding spots. Limit areas that present concealment to intruders in the funnel of death. Stack a few tin cans in the hiding spots you can not do anything about.
If your basement is typical you can not move stealthily enough to conduct your search. From cover order person to come out. Ringing of your door bell may trick an intruder into thinking your back up has arrived. Listen for sounds from intruder, whispering, seeking better hiding spot or attempting to exit. If you believe someone is in your basement post up behind cover. Considering what an intruder may have access to in your basement, might have impact on how much cover you need.

June 28, 2008, 07:27 AM
If your so worried about it, why not just close the back of the steps. The way to clear it is with two people, with the pointman facing towards the steps and number two holding onto them.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter how you do it. It's how you commit to it. Either do it or don't. Dogs come in handy too.


June 28, 2008, 07:30 AM
Install a low-light CCTV system down there?

Bob Lee Swagger
June 28, 2008, 07:38 AM
Question: Do you have windows or another point of access down there?

June 28, 2008, 08:08 AM
Question: Do you have windows or another point of access down there?

There's a door and the usual high basement windows.

Although the door has a deadbolt and three other bolts on it, it also has a giant window in it. Fixing this and closing the stairwell are precluded because we rent.

As for a pitbull/dog advice, I have a standard poodle :barf: and a beagle/dachshund. It's the best I can do.

My wife is also pregnant, I do not see her holding onto my belt as I go down the steps.

You feel my pain now-all of you-admit it!

Anyway, I think I've got enough to work with here. I particularly like the mirror advice and have a spare I could hang down there. Thanks, all.

June 28, 2008, 04:02 PM
You could also always put one of those larger mirrors down at the bottom of the steps. I doubt the BG will be stairing into it the whole time, and if he is you still have cover.

if worse comes to worse, burn 'em out. Just set ablaze your whole house, and blame it on him, that oughta teach him.


June 28, 2008, 04:33 PM
If it is pretty apparent that it is a intruder than I think bunkering down and waiting for the police is the safest for you and your wife.

If you aren't sure and don't want to call the police for an alley cat, than I would probably go with the flip on the basement lights (from the top of the stairs) and holler something about being armed and cops are on the way. If something goes big goes bumb, retreat and wait for the calvary to arrive.

Just my .02 and I'm in no way an expert. Just what I would do based on what I have learned thus far.

Or if your dog is the type to bark at folks he/she doesnt know than send him/her to check it out for you. Better to lose the dog than to get killed and leave your kid dadless. :(

June 28, 2008, 04:36 PM
although Rampant_Colt came close, i cant believe no one has mentioned the best solution to this problem.

hand granade or molotov should work fine.

June 28, 2008, 06:28 PM
What's the best way to take care of this?

Since it's a new house, you probably don't want to roll in a grenade and go in shootin'.:cool:

Most of us don't call the police when we hear a suspicious noise without investigating first.

I think I'd secure the door to the basement, then go outside and inspect all access points to the basement to see if anyone could have gained entry. If so, then I'd call the police.

If no signs of forced entry: If I had a dog, I'd send him down there and watch the little mutt real close from above to see if he noses into some one.

If you decide go down the stairs, and make it to the bottom without bullet wounds to the legs and lower torso, that'd be an indication that Bubba isn't armed with a gun, at least.:D

June 28, 2008, 07:58 PM
"Honey, turn the dog loose"

Then roll a baseball, soft ball, etc. down the staires.

Wait for another clue.............

June 28, 2008, 09:25 PM
Call the Ghost Busters!

(Just Kidding)

I would have send the dogs you got. If there is someone there, they will still bark their heads off. They have far better night vision and can sniff out any bad guys. You might even consider installing motion sensing lights INSIDE your basement. That way you will know for sure if someone is there. It also comes in handy if your hands are full and can't hit the light switch. Interior motion sensors for lights are pretty cheap.

Congrats on the wifie being preggers by the way.

June 28, 2008, 09:26 PM
Three cheap and easy solutions (to add to some of the other good suggestions):

1. Fill up the space under the stairs with storage items which preclude anyone from occupying that space and are not moveable without creating significant racket. Maybe put boxes, bikes, furniture, etc. topped off with one or two expedient noisemakers (e.g., tin can filled with marbles balanced on top).

2. Buy a couple of Cylalume lightsticks for a dollar or three. Chemlites can be tossed or flipped down or thru the open stairs to illuminate a dark basement (if you prefer not to flip light switch or can't reach without exposing yourself). They are cheap, won't damage anything they hit, and will provide enough illum to see while causing anyone down there to cast shadows if they move.

3. Dangle a short length of rope thru the steps while saying: "Honey, I'm letting the snake loose...". Then drop it and wait for reaction. Lot's of folks have an inordinate fear of snakes :D

#1 & #2 are serious replies...#3 not so much...sorry.

Good Luck.

June 28, 2008, 09:31 PM
HK MP5 is the only way to go into a basement...there are....things..... down there....

Horrid things...they hunger...

In the dark...for...


WildcthuluAlaska TM

June 28, 2008, 10:59 PM
Am I really the only one who hears a noise in the basement, secures the door so they can't get in the house, and then goes outside to see if they've broken into my basement through a window, cellar door, etc before I get exicted and call the police?

June 29, 2008, 12:50 AM
Am I really the only one who hears a noise in the basement, secures the door so they can't get in the house, and then goes outside to see if they've broken into my basement through a window, cellar door, etc before I get exicted and call the police?Why, yes, there may be monsters out there.:D

I've taken a few precautions like barrel bolts on certain doors, and noting that they are still locked when I get home. (Can't lock a barrel bolt behind you) And lights that can be switched on at the top of the stairs, while leaving the stairway in darkness are always a good idea. I have had to clear my basement on a few occasions in 27 years, though.:o

June 29, 2008, 01:48 AM
Anything could be a diversion or a trap. If you're convinced it has two feet, do the bunker down thing and watch all the exits. Why would you go outside? Leave the inside vulnerable while you go on a fly hunt?

June 29, 2008, 12:21 PM
Whenever I set up a house for a client, I installed motion sensor lights in every room, hallway, stairwell except the master bedroom. That works quite well and makes intruders very nervous. I put led's on each one, so I could tell if one had been turned off/unplugged. Occassionaly, I would bridge a ding-dong on certain ones.

The hallway one worked fine until the cat learned to turn it on when he came in at night. :D


June 29, 2008, 03:35 PM
Anyway, I think I've got enough to work with here. I particularly like the mirror advice and have a spare I could hang down there. Thanks, all.

That McGiver-ish trick will get you killed. Don't try to clear a house unless you've been trained in it. Bunker down. If the noise is repeated or you feel confident there is an intruder, call the cops and wait.

July 14, 2008, 01:06 AM
I just finished reading a Dean Koontz book "The Good Guy" and here is what the 2 good guys do - they throw decorative pillows up the stairway! It should work in reverse just as well.

Now before you say anything these 2 guys are ex Marines and one is a PO so that MUST be the correct action.

I won't tell you what happened so as not to spoil the book for you.

BTW, they stocked up with three pillows because a smart bad guy might not fall for the pillow toss on the first try but by the third one he just can't resist - Dean must get this theory from the Roger Rabbit movie where the old shave and a haircut bit always draws the rabbit out!

Dean is getting better tho - his last couple novels featured Kahr pistols no more Korths.

July 14, 2008, 11:18 AM
Next time go downstairs wearing only your underwear and carrying a laundry basket with your gun hidden in it. If the skivvies don't scare them off, surprise them with your gun.