You have a fire evacuation plan. You may even have a storm or earthquake action plan. But do you have a home-invasion defense plan? More than likely the answer is no. You may have some general ideas and thoughts, but few people have a detailed plan on what to do if an intruder enters their home while they are there. You are highly encouraged to have a plan and the first step starts today.
Retreat To Safe Space
There are several steps you can take to better protect yourself before a home invasion even occurs. One of the best things you can do is to create a safe room. While images of elaborate rooms with dedicated oxygen systems and power come to mind, that is not feasible for most people. Unless you oversaw the design and construction of your own home, chances are you do not have a dedicated safe room. What you can do is establish a room inside the house as your “aftermarket” safe room. The applications of such a room go far beyond the space we have for this article, but suffice it to say it is a good idea. Some of the things you can do to convert the room are as follows.
1. Install a solid core door in a steel frame. Include a heavy duty doorknob and a dedicated deadbolt. Most internal doors are light, thin and easily kicked down. Make it difficult for anyone to get to you.
2. If the room includes a window, replace the standard glass with shatterproof glass.
3. Security system extensions are a solid addition. If you already have a home security system, have them install a panic alarm inside the safe room. A break-in may occur while the system is disarmed.
4. Install a small security camera allowing you to see outside the door. This can be an extension of your security system or an inexpensive stand-alone unit. Make sure you have the ability to monitor it either by computer or smartphone. Eventually the police will arrive, and they will be easier to identify if you can see them via the camera.
5. Add a gun safe. A small, heavy duty gun safe is highly recommended. Make sure it is bolted to the floor and stocked with an effective home defense weapon.
Plan Your Response
What exactly do you do if you hear glass break at 2:00 a.m.? That depends on many factors and essentially creates a flow chart of action. Your starting position on our action plan will be initially determined by one major factor—are you alone?
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If you are home alone, you are encouraged to stay put and create a defensive position. Immediately call 911 and stay on the line until help arrives. Position yourself with something between you and the door entering your room. This gives you a clear view of anyone entering your room. Anyone serious about personal defense should consider owning a firearm. Additionally, they need to seek professional training on not just basic functions, but on its use in the home. If you choose to be armed, then position yourself to have a safe and effective field of fire. You should focus on what is called the “fatal funnel,” a small area that an assailant must pass through in order to get into your room. It is generally a small and easily defendable zone.
The entire plan changes if you have children or others you are responsible for inside the home. While you are generally discouraged from “going hunting” in your home, the situation may dictate that you leave the safety of your room to rescue or protect your loved ones. The primary driver in this category is small children. I will once again reference my belief that you should arm yourself in the event you experience a home invasion.
The training that you will have committed to as a responsible gun owner must now be doubled if you will be moving through your home with a weapon. It takes serious training and dedication to effectively execute safe and quick close-quarters movement. The tactics used by homeowners is quite different from law enforcement because of their goal. Your goal should be to get to your family as quickly and as you safely can. There will be no time to search every inch of the home. The door crashes in and it is now go time. Here are the top eight things to consider.
1. Rehearse your plan of movement. What is the best route? Where can you move without being seen? What are the factors you never considered when moving through a dark house?
2. Keep a well-made gun safe close by. The safe should be, at a minimum, inside the room, and preferably beside the bed.
3. Use a well-made flashlight to help you search. Many weapons are fitted with a flashlight but are not suited for general searching.
4. Include your spouse or other adults in the drill. Working in pairs makes your chances of success dramatically higher.
5. If children are old enough, include them in the drills as well. If the children are very young it may be inappropriate to share the harsh details with them. However, you can share what you will do if something happens. Explain that they should stay put, possibly hide in a designated spot and that you will be coming to get them.
6. Decide what you will do once you have the children. Is it best to now hunker down and set a defensive positon? Are you close to your safe room? It is not always wise to make your way back to your original location. Once you have your kids it may be appropriate to exit the home if it can be done safely.
7. Keep a cell phone beside your bed. The ability to call 911 can make the difference between life and death.
8. Once you have your family together, do not go out into the house. Trying to “clear rooms” is risky business even for those who do it professionally.
Prepare To Protect
According to the FBI, a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the United States. While not intended to startle or frighten you, it should serve as a wake-up call for everyone. Even in the best of neighborhoods, bad things can happen. The best thing that you can do to counter that is being prepared. Treat the threat just as you would a fire. While you do not anticipate a fire erupting in your home, you are prepared for one. Family defense should fall into a similar mindset. Have a plan and follow it to help protect yourself and your family. Embrace your inner scout and be prepared.