Imagine you’re woken up at four in the morning to the sound of a breaking window, or it’s a lazy Saturday afternoon and the family’s relaxing in the den and you hear footsteps coming from the first floor above you. What do you do? As panic sets in, many people scramble around trying to grab their phone, gun and valuables, not really knowing what they’re doing otherwise. Sadly, they waste precious time which could have been used to call the police and get the family hidden in a safe room. To ensure that your family gets through a home invasion without harm, checkout these dos and don’ts.
Do have a predetermined plan of action.
Having an emergency plan of action to keep your family safe in a home invasion is vital. For our family, I drafted an outline, giving responsibilities to each family member, as well as creating checklists and routes to our safe room, and how to evacuate the house. At a family meeting we discussed these, and made a few changes. We reviewed this info on a weekly basis after implementing it; now that it’s firmly ingrained into our minds, we review it monthly. Spending a few hours creating this action plan tonight will pay off if your home is broken into. To get you started, here’s a look at what’s in my home invasion emergency plan:
- List of where weapons and ammo are located
- List of responsibilities or each family member
- Map of the house with marked routes to the safe room
- Map of the house with marked routes to evacuate
- List of supplies to keep in the safe room (landline phone, loaded firearm, extra ammo, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable snacks like beef jerky and dried fruit, first aid kit, blankets and pillows to keep the kids comfortable)
Don’t respond to suspicious noises.
To a certain degree, I’ve learned to tune-out certain noises such as the tree branch that hits the roof and the random noises from the neighbors. I’ve done this, in part, because I don’t want to become paranoid and set our family emergency plan into action at the slightest noise. It’s important that I know which noises are reoccurring (like the tree branch) and which aren’t (the neighbors are generally quiet) and become more sensitive to the unusual sounds. It would be terrible to ignore pounding on the back door some Sunday afternoon, figuring it was some overzealous girl scouts out peddling cookies in an attempt to meet their quota, only to be surprised by a team of invaders welcoming themselves into my home.
Do keep weapons loaded.
Keeping your bullet chambers empty might be good safety advice, but it does little to help you when the threat is imminent. Ideally you’ll have your gun in a secure location that’s near your bed–since many intrusions occur at night–and also one in your saferoom. Keeping it loaded ensures that I’m better able to defend myself at a moment’s notice. The USCCA also reminds gun owners to know how to use the weapon properly, and know all local and state laws regarding the use of weapons in home invasions.
Don’t go looking for a fight.
Let’s face it, we all want to be a hero. But going hunting for the bad guy during a home invasion isn’t the time to try and earn your hero badge. While most of us will do anything necessary to protect our loved ones, going out and pretending to be a SEAL is a bad idea for these reasons:
- It exposes you. When you’re out scoping out your halls, rooms and closets, you become an easy target for your opponent. Depending on your home’s structure, you may create noise while walking down aging staircases and opening creaky doors. All this aids in signaling the intruder to your whereabouts in the home.
- You’re separated from your family. Besides making your partner and kids nervous that you’re out roaming the house, you’re also opening up the opportunity for the invader to go after your family. If they’ve done their homework, they know that there are others at home, they may just ignore your presence and continue sneaking around to find everyone else.
- You’re probably up against more than one person. More than 70% of armed home invasions involve two or more assailants. If you’ve got more than two kids, you know what happens when the parent-to-kid ratio increases. Just as it’s more challenging for two parents to get three kids ready in the morning, it’s harder to be up against more than one invader.
- Why seek out trouble if you don’t have to? I’m always ready to protect my family when the occasion arises, but honestly, I’m not interested in going out seeking danger. I’m not a coward by any means, but why go looking to have to use your weapons when you might not have to? This is further reasoning for being prepared and having a well-equipped safe room. As soon as you hear suspicious noises, call 911 and get to your safe room. Some might argue that it’s more “brave” to not bother the police and take matters into your own hands, but if I’m helping pay the salaries of my local law enforcement officers–via my tax dollars–then I feel that there’s nothing wrong with getting them involved in a situation while I take care of my family.
Invest some time today to create your plan of action, outfit your safe room and get your family on board. A few hours spent planning will relieve you of the panic and fear that sets in when your home invaded.