Most people never take time to sit down and actively plan what they need to do if they are faced with a home invasion. Unfortunately, many people tend to believe that home invasions only happen in “bad neighborhoods” or that they won’t ever need to worry about one because they have a home security system that will deter would-be robbers. Guess what? Home invasions can happen to anyone, in any neighborhood at any time of the day or night and according to FirstSecurityServices.com. Even if you have the loudest burglar alarm on the market, many criminals won’t let that stop them from executing a plan to rob your home or harm those who live inside.
Let’s set up a hypothetical home invasion to see what you can do to stay safe.
Setting the Scene
You’re just returning to your house after a long weekend spent with your family out of town. You’ve had a long drive and you’re tired and just want to sit down, catch a little television and relax before you start the next work week.
Your wife is downstairs in the laundry room and your son is in his room playing a video game. You have a nice home in one of the best neighborhoods in your city. This is a safe area and you never worry about crime because it just does not happen here.
A few minutes after 7:00 pm, you hear a light knock on your front door and you assume it’s probably one of your sons’ friends in the neighborhood stopping by to see if he wants to come outside and play a game of basketball in the driveway. You make your way down the stairs and before you make it to the door, you see your wife heading that way. Suddenly, just as she begins to open the door, she is shoved backward with brute force by two large men who are forcing their way inside the house.
Your son hears all the commotion but since he’s playing his video game he assumes you or your wife dropped something, so he ignores the noise and continues to play his game. The men downstairs have split up and while one is yelling and holding your wife from behind, the other wants to know who else is in the house. They have not yet noticed you standing on the stairs because you are partially blocked by large house plants and the stair railing.
Did you know that the actions you take during the first 20 seconds of a home invasion can determine the outcome of the entire situation? For many people, the sheer terror of the experience can cause them to freeze up and not be able to move at all. For others, adrenaline kicks in fast and can cause them to go into a “fight or flight” mode where they will either try to attack or run away as quickly as possible.
The most important period of a home invasion is going to occur far before an invasion happens at all. It is extremely important to train and carefully plan how to react if something like this happens. When a home invasion is in progress, one of your first thoughts may be to grab your gun and shoot at the assailants, but what happens if your gun is upstairs and you’re halfway down the steps or even in a room downstairs that is nowhere near your gun? This means you are going to have to use your brain to think fast and get yourself and your family to safety.
So, when it comes down to it, how do you spring into action and work your way out of a dangerous situation? Here are some of the best home invasion tips to help keep you and your family safe if someone should attempt to bust into your home with bad intentions.
Choose Your Words Wisely
You and your family need to agree on a word to shout out if your home has been compromised. Simply shouting as loudly as possible a word such as “criminal” or “get out!” will alert your family so they know to step into action. Never under any circumstances should you ever shout those words unless your family is in dire danger.
The first thing that everyone needs to do is try to get out of the house as quickly as possible. Have an escape route planned so each family member knows where they can exit the home safely, even if getting out means jumping to the ground below from a window upstairs and have a meeting spot determined so everyone knows where to meet. For instance, once everyone is safely outside, plan to meet at the big oak tree in your neighbors’ yard.
What Happens If You Can’t Get Out?
If you can’t get out of the house, then you need to determine where your safe room will be. Find a room in your home that is accessible to everyone and when you or a family member shouts the code word, everyone needs to rush to the safe room as fast as possible. The safe room should be stocked with a cell phone to call 911 (even disconnected cell phones can contact emergency services if the battery is charged) and if you own a gun, have a gun in the safe room so you can grab it. A gun should not be noticeable to someone who walks in the room, but keep it in a safe place where you can grab it quickly when/if you must use it.
The door to the room should have strong locks so criminals cannot easily get in once you shut the door. Stay away from the door on the far side of the room (and same side as the door) to prevent harm if someone shoots through the door or busts the door down. Maintain an open line of sight so you can aim and shoot if the assailant makes it through the door.
***As an extra little tip here, when you are selecting a gun for home defense, be sure to select one that feels comfortable in your hand, is easy to use when you need to grab and quickly aim and fire. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure all members of your family (the ones who are old enough) have the proper gun training so they will know how to use the gun in an emergency.
Do Not Leave Until Police Arrive
Never, under any circumstances should you ever venture outside of the safe room once you and your family are inside. Once you have called the police, stay on the telephone and let them know every movement you hear outside the door. When the police arrive, stay inside the room until the police let you know it is safe to exit.
Never leave weapons, especially guns, lying around the house with the thought that you can easily grab one if someone breaks in. If you can easily grab one, so can a home invader, and if you’re not in the same room, they now have your gun and it will likely be used on your or your family during the home invasion. While a gun safe may not make sense to many people who own a gun for personal and home protection, having one safely locked away when you are not able to get to it quickly enough will make a great deal of sense when you are faced with a criminal lurking around inside your home. Be sure to use these tips to make your own safety plan of action to help keep you and your family safe if a home invasion should happen to occur. Being prepared can save your life and the lives of those you care about the most.