Harden Up Your Home With These Important Tips

Editor’s Note: The following is a syndicated article by author Anthony Lambert that first appeared in USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine Volume 14, Issue 7, October 2017 under the title, “Harden Up” 

Imagine you’re in your home in a deep sleep when the sound of shattering glass shakes you awake. You look at your clock — 2 a.m. You hear the soft murmurs of people in your home, and you don’t recognize the voices. What do you do?

How do most people react to a situation they are not expecting or one where they are totally unaware of what is happening? If you watch your local news and listen to people’s responses, they typically say, “I can’t believe this happened” or, “I saw it happening and I just froze.”

We should feel safe in our home. It is our property, our domain, our castle. Unfortunately, times are changing, and some think they’re entitled to whatever (and whoever) they want. I always instruct my students to prepare for the worst-case scenario, not the best. Even if you plan well, it’s easy to overlook or totally miss something.

Keep in mind that you must always be flexible, and you must always adapt to your situation, because the situation will never adapt to your plans.

Uninvited Guests

I would hope none of my readers ever have to deal with a home invasion. I have friends whose homes were invaded, and they tell me it’s something they’ve not yet totally gotten over — even after 10 or more years.

One of them was so affected by the event that he and his family sold their dream home and moved within city limits so they could have faster police response. At the time of the attack, they lived just 3 miles outside the city limits in an unincorporated township, so the local sheriff was responsible for responding to their call. That response time was 45 minutes.

I’m not blaming the local law enforcement — they have a tough job policing our communities already — but it should really make you stop and think about your own responsibility for your safety and the safety of your family.

What would you do were you to realize there was an intruder in your residence and your alarm system’s piercing wail was so loud that you could hardly think?

I think prevention is the key to good medicine. If you can prevent unwanted people from getting into your home and harming you or your family, you will not have to perform any lifesaving measures in the first place. Let’s look at some of the most important factors of home-defense protocol.

Outside lighting

Light up all areas, especially entrances. Motion-detector-activated lights do wonders for dark areas of the yard.

Landscaping

Cut back any bushes or trees that create large shadows, as shadows are great hiding places for potential intruders. Plant thorny bushes near ground-level windows.

Secure All Entry Points

Remember, doors and windows are all easy avenues to gain access to your home. Ensure they are kept locked; I even recommend installing deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Inexpensive but effective window alarms are available from many different retailers.

Consider a Safe Room

Depending on the layout of your home, you might even want to scheme out a safe room. Whatever you do, make sure it makes sense. If you live in a multi-level house, you might want to establish a safe room on each level. Use a solid door with a deadbolt lock and floor jack. (Most interior doors are hollow-core, so this could require some retrofitting.)

After you’ve decided that you’re taking the safe room route, make a list of what you’ll need in each and include backups in case of emergency. Remember, two is one and one is none. Consider the following:

  • Landline, Cellphone or Handheld Radio.
  • Personal Protection Devices. Your home-defense firearm (shotgun, handgun or AR-15) and/or other weapons.
  • Water and Food. Your safe room can, of course, also be used during natural disasters. Plan for enough food and water for everyone in your family. Also, consider filling your tub full of water in case municipal service goes down. Use it to flush the toilet; proper sanitation is as important and lifesaving as ammunition. This is especially good practice for our coastal readers who must factor hurricanes into the equation.
  • Medical Supplies. Have enough medical supplies for each member of your family. Band-Aids are good but think bigger. You might have to stop bleeding from a penetration injury, such as a gunshot or stab wound. Consider purchasing a pre-staged medical kit from the USCCA as well as their video training series; the time to learn how to use your emergency medical gear is now, before you need to employ it to save a life.

Plan Ahead

All of the gear issues and questions aside, you need to really think about how you will execute your plan if your home is ever invaded. What if you or one of your family members gets injured during the attack? Will you rush over to your spouse or child to provide care?

We’re going to stop here for a second, because I want to share with you something that I’ve had to drill into my Navy Corpsmen several times. Think about the following story and consider what you feel is best for your situation.

When I was on active duty leading young, dedicated and highly motivated Navy Corpsmen through training evolutions, I had to constantly remind them not to run into a gunfight to save a life. Now maybe you’re thinking that doesn’t make sense. Their job is, after all, to save lives on the battlefield. Though that is true, how do we save lives if we die in a firefight after running out into gunfire? Many Corpsmen have earned the Medal of Honor by sacrificing themselves saving others, but keep in mind losing their “Doc” in battle devastates fellow Marines’ morale. The war continues even when you’re gone; who will take care of or help them now?

I told my Corpsmen to continue to fight and, when the area is secure, only then start to check on our Marines. Ultimately, the situation will dictate your tactic. If you can save someone in the middle of battle, do so, but if you lose your life, your unit could lose more lives.

Fight And Win

The name of the game is to fight hard to stay alive. Don’t stop fighting because you or a family member is hurt. Also, I hope you and your family have some medical training to fall back on so you can patch yourselves up enough to survive and render aid until help arrives. Remember, though: You will be able to neither help nor secure the situation if you don’t survive.

Discover how you can join nearly 300,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • bruce February 8, 2019, 3:16 pm

    You guys know how to spell P-A-R-A-N-O-I-A?

    • Dan Martin May 4, 2019, 10:10 pm

      Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there’s not someone out to get you!

    • MadDog Mike August 5, 2019, 11:02 am

      Ever been a victim Bruce?

      Ever treated a victim Bruce?

      Ever handled a call for a victim Bruce.

      If not, then you just keep wearing those rose-colored glasses, Bruce.

  • Star Elton February 8, 2019, 2:52 pm

    Dogs can be a great tool to combat being surprised by an unwanted home entry. We have 4 dogs and I am 100% certain that they will alert us to any unusual sound or presence long before entry into the home is accomplished. Their sense of smell and hearing far exceeds a that of a human and their barking alone is probably enough to persuade the would be intruder to go elsewhere.

  • Wayne Hynes February 8, 2019, 2:48 pm

    In a safe room… “solid door with a deadbolt lock and floor jack.” What’s the jack used for?

    • Skypilot February 8, 2019, 10:14 am

      Hi Wayne,

      I think what they’re talking about is one of those metal rods about 3 feet long that goes into a notch in the door and down to the floor so the door isn’t easily kicked in.
      My wife and I live in a very rural area with lots of ‘undocumented visitors’ traffic and we have decided to install ‘drop bars’ across the doors that open inward and could easily be kicked in. Every second you can delay a miscreant from entering gives you more time to take proper actions to protect your family.
      One thing that I would recommend for folks that don’t have dogs is to keep a set of electronic ear muffs next to their bed in case of an invasion. These amplify soft sounds, thereby giving you a better idea of what’s happening in your house. They also would protect your hearing if, God forbid, you did have to discharge your weapon inside the house.

      I also highly recommend that all responsibly armed citizens join the USCCA so they will also have legal protection in the event they have to defend their family or others from a violent attack. So many criminals are quick to sue the victim these days!

      Stay safe, folks!!

  • MB February 8, 2019, 12:37 pm

    I live in a small city of about 7,000, with a full time police and sheriff dept. Crime is not a huge issue but sometimes imported. Last year around 5pm police caught 4 homies from a big city crammed in the front of a pickup one block from my home, all had weapons. Were they planing a home invasion, you bet, they were just deciding which one when they got nabbed. It might have been mine. I always have at least one gun on me at all times or within arm’s reach whenever we are home. Home has 24 hour video recording, well armed panic room, cell based alarm system,fenced, gated and landscape lit. but I still I keep aware of goings on outside. I hope these are enough convince bad guys it isn’t worth the risk. I recommend everyone carry a gun 24x7x365.

  • Kevin February 8, 2019, 10:54 am

    All good…….in addition, go through home invasion scenarios with your family. Everyone should have a plan/duty. This will help to avoid panic in a real situation. Similar planning and rehearsal should be done for fire or tornado threats.

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