Awakening to an alarming sound in the night is a scary event. Adding the dynamics of children and darkness to the equation makes dealing with an intruder a very complex situation. Proper planning and training is necessary to address the dynamics of a home invasion. Here are four steps to take to prepare yourself for the unexpected.
- Plan: You must have a plan on how to deal with an intruder. Rushing to investigate the sound of a noise is extremely dangerous and will put you and your family at risk. Think about “early warning’ systems such as dogs and alarms. It is best to “shelter in place” and call 911 if you believe someone is in your home. Avoid moving around your home unnecessarily. Analyze the rooms in your home. Which room provides the most advantageous place to seek shelter? This is typically a bedroom in the back of the home to which you can retreat. Arrange the room so that you can get behind a bed and have the bed between you and the door. Consider having a solid-core wood door with a reinforced jam going into your room. Make sure a cell phone and firearm, if you so choose, are available at this predetermined location. Stay behind the bed and call 911. In this scenario you only have to worry about what comes through the door.
- Collaborate: If you have a family, especially children, you must be responsible for their safety as well. Plan to “gather” your family and get them to your designated location. You must assume that family members will be frozen in fear and that you will have to get them to where they need to be. If you can defend access to your family by taking up position at the top of a stairway or at the beginning of a hallway, do so. You may not be able to gather your family in a timely matter. If this happens, have an alternative plan. Get yourself between your family and the intruder. Let your family know that they must be an active participant in their own safety.
- Prepare: You will have to invest a nominal amount of time and money in your safety. At minimum you will need a quality flashlight and cell phone. Consider getting a flashlight with rechargeable batteries and always have spares charged and ready to go. Keep your cell phone charged at all times. Do not rely on a phone other than your cell phone. Consider becoming proficient in the use of a weapon. Get proper training and train regularly. All of these items needs to be accessible and in one place.
- Practice: Practice your plan and contingency plans with your family on a regular basis. Schedule and make practice a priority or it will never get done. Remember, what may seem easy will become extremely difficult under stress. Practice in the darkness and under the same conditions that you may face an intruder.
Everyone’s situation is unique. Analyze your home, your family and your skill set to determine how to best prepare yourself for dealing with an intruder.