Skill – Entry Control Point/Traffic Control Point

In a Without Rule of Law (WROL) situation, many people will be forced from their homes by fires, riots, looters, and whatever other disasters caused the WROL situation.  One of the most over-looked skill sets for dealing with this is setting up and manning an Entry Control Point or Traffic Control Point.

When Nehemiah was first rebuilding Jerusalem, the gates & walls were all destroyed, and his first order of business was to get them repaired.  In the meantime, this is what he did:

But we prayed to our God and posted a guard

Day & night to meet this threat.

Nehemiah 4:9

An Entry Control Point is a location where you check everyone entering the area and ensure that they are someone you want to enter the perimeter.  You could set one up at the entrance to your subdivision, or on the road leading to your Bug-Out Location.  A note though, unless you have 100% fencing around your perimeter or a 24 hour foot patrol of your perimeter, having an ECP will do you no good.

A Traffic Control Post is simply a checkpoint placed on a road through an area to check everyone entering the area, and perhaps to give them directions on passing through, where to find help, etc.

You may think these are extreme measures, but without them, you will be overrun with refugees in a true WROL situation.  If you don’t establish with these hungry and desperate people that your area is defended and that there is a semblance of order, they will take advantage, it’s just human nature.  

Gori Refugees

Study any modern conflict and you’ll learn about it.  The road from Gori, Georgia was lined for miles with refugees fleeing the Russian invasion in 2008.  Streams of refugees fled from both sides as soon as the war in the Ukraine broke out in 2014, with groups of ethnic Russians displacing Ukranians from their homes on one side, and vice versa on the other.

In any WROL situation, mass groups of unprepared people will be on the move seeking food AND shelter.  They’ll be looking for areas where they can find food, or even squat in an unoccupied house (that happens NOW in many areas).

The purpose, then, of an ECP at the entrance to your subdivision or Bug Out compound (fortunately, both my neighborhood and BOL have single road entrances), is to establish that this is a defended area and that only authorized people are allowed to pass.

Your choicest valleys are full of chariots,

And horsemen are posted at the city gates.

Isaiah 22:7

ECP’s are IN ADDITION TO sending out patrols outside your gates and having Observation Posts outside your gates, not a REPLACEMENT.  Remember all the times that I said you can’t survive without a tribe?  It’s true.

Both types are set up similarly.  


First, for any roadway or entrance, you should construct a “Chicane”, which is a barrier that requires vehicles to make tight turns to enter (see graphic).  This prevents vehicles from just ramming through.  You can build this with barbed wire, if you have it, or with logs.  A field expedient method is to use two vehicles each blocking opposite parts of the roadway.  If you choose this option, ensure that the engine block is the part blocking the roadway, so that ramming is more difficult.

Some over-the-top people recommend more permanent barriers be built, like concrete (as if you’d have that available), but I caution against it.  Remember that no bug out location is permanent; a threat may arise that may cause you to have to flee, and if your barrier plan is too complex, you might be trapped inside.

Once you have some type of barrier in place (even a fencing gate is a good start), you should next build two fighting positions near it.  The first one should be directly adjacent to the entrance, as a place for the person manning the entrance to be able to take cover & fight from if attacked.  

The second one should be back and away from the gate/entrance, to cover it by fire, and to be able to protect the person manning the gate.  This one should be well concealed, so that someone who talks to the person manning the gate can’t “scout it out” to come back later.

If you have the time and personnel, another fighting position can be built on the opposite side, also concealed.  This one would only be staffed during an emergency or if a large group approaches.  It would be able to support the other two positions.

After establishing the barrier, and then establishing survivability (your fighting positions), next you need to look to team shelter.  Set up some type of shelter, back and away from the gate, for personnel to use in the event of bad weather.  Since we aren’t talking about a remote outpost 10 miles away, this set up should work nicely for a small compound or housing development.

Your ECP needs a way to communicate back to the rest of the group, and obviously radio is the choice here, since again, we aren’t 10 miles out.  Use two channels, though.  One channel is the main frequency that the entire group monitors at all times, and the second channel is a talk-around channel for the team manning the gate to talk to each other.  See some of my communications articles for a discussion of this principle.

Once the ECP is up, then all that’s left is to run it.  Your group can set the requirements for entry, and you should follow them to the letter.  Letting in unvetted people is DANGEROUS in a WROL situation, and it should be a very rare exception.  You can provide people with directions to a local shelter or food distribution location, rather than letting them into your compound/neighborhood.

Never allow more than a single person to approach your gate sentry.  If it’s a whole group, ask them to have just one person approach.   While the group or person will most likely be asking you about food or shelter, attempt to gather as much information from them as you can.  Try to learn where they came from, where they are heading, what things they’ve seen along the way, and if there are any other groups coming along the same route.  

Ask all groups approaching the gate to provide their own security.  What that does is gets them to keep an eye out along the road, so that your over-watch team can focus on protecting you, while establishing an attitude of cooperation…”if your group protects the road, we’ll protect you while we talk”.

Establish a policy with those approaching the gate that any firearms they have must be holstered or slung while talking to you.  Explain that it’s safer for both sides, because your over-watch team (don’t point them out) won’t misunderstand their actions, and you won’t have to worry about them either.

After providing them with information about where they can find food or shelter (literally anywhere but your location), provide a final warning…your location is protected and will not tolerate unauthorized entry.  This can be done in a friendly but firm manner, and must become a habit at the ECP.

A caution here about charity.  I know that we all want to help those in need, but we are talking about an exceptional situation here. You may be tempted to hand out water, or small food items to people appearing at the gate who are in need or desperate, but once word gets out that you have extra food or water that you hand out, two things will happen, almost immediately:

  1. More people will flood the gate for the handouts.
  2. Bad actors will start trying to find a way in to take ALL of your food and water.

Don’t invite trouble by being overly charitable.

…we gave you this rule:

The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.

2 Thessalonians 3:10b

As a group, you may have to decide to admit some people with skills that you need in exchange for feeding them.  An example would be a doctor or a nurse, or someone with a mechanical skill that you need.  Don’t take people at their word, ensure that they demonstrate their skills and can prove them.  If you do decide to admit someone this way, make sure that they know that it is on a “probationary” basis, and is dependent on them assisting the entire group and getting along.

Running a Traffic Control Post is done exactly the same way, but it is ran away from your location and probably on a “community” basis, where a couple of groups band together to run one for mutual benefit.  TCP’s are short-term.

An example would be if you hear from some refugees that a larger group is walking in your direction.  Your group and a few others may decide that setting up a TCP at an intersection where you can guide others AWAY from your compound/neighborhood is a better idea than letting come all the way to your gate.  You could send them around your local area, rather than letting them get a close up look at your defenses and preparations.  Avoiding the problem is much better.

When setting up a TCP, though, you need an observation post a little bit farther down the road, before the TCP.  This OP can radio back when someone is heading up the road, but their main purpose is to watch for people who see the TCP, and then jump off the road to try and avoid it.  Those people may try to slip around your TCP and then continue on to your neighborhood/compound.  Anyone avoiding a checkpoint in those circumstances would be suspect and should raise your alert level.  

Refer back to my previous posts on setting up OP’s, fighting positions, and on communications to help develop the defensive skills that your group needs.

I hope these tips and graphics give you some ideas and spur you on to realistic training.  I know, shooting targets and practicing room clearing is more fun, but these defensive skills are actually practical and something you can really use.


Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

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