Home Security: Planning for the Worst
It’s Friday evening and you and your family are settling in for a pizza, popcorn and movie night.
Everyone’s agreed on a movie and what toppings should go on the pizza, and you feel yourself unwinding from the busy week. You’re gathered in your family room with your spouse and 10-year-old son while your 14-year-old daughter is changing clothes in her bedroom.
Just as the movie’s theme music begins playing, you suddenly hear a glass breaking at the front of the house, then voices.
Or maybe you’re snoozing away in dreamland, and suddenly awake to find intruders in your bedroom. Your children are sleeping down the hall in their bedrooms.
Or your spouse comes home after picking up the kids at school, only to find intruders inside.
Unfortunately, while rare, these scenarios do happen. Usually, the intruders’ intent is to steal cash, jewelry and anything else they can sell, often to buy drugs. However, sometimes a simple home burglary morphs into a violent act and someone gets hurt or killed — or the intruder had violent intent to begin with.
So What Do You Do If Your Home Is Invaded?
Unfortunately, there is no easy, single response since every scenario is different. Even if you can call 911, it can take several minutes for police to arrive, and then even longer as they determine their best course of action.
While each of these has multiple components and outcomes, you basically have three choices:
- Escape or hide
- Comply with all demands
- Resist and / or scream for help
Obviously, escape and getting somewhere you can call the police is the preferable choice. Often, you may find yourself doing a combination of these actions, but they all have risks depending how well you’re equipped to resist, whether complying will result in you or family members being hurt or molested, or if you can escape but your children can’t, etc.
How to Prepare for the Worst
Prevention is by far the best weapon — from equipment such as secure locks, strong doors and a modern security system with panic alarms — to preventative behaviors such as never opening the door without knowing who it is and never leaving doors and windows unlocked.
However, these are often not enough. Windows can be broken. Guard dogs can be poisoned or killed. Children may answer the door or leave a door unlocked.
But I Own a Gun
If you own firearms, other weapons or even pepper spray, would you be able to get to these in time?
Would you have time to load a gun if unloaded? Would you be able to resist panicking or being overpowered and having the weapon taken away? Having a firearm, knowing how to use it and being able to get to it can certainly go a long way toward protecting you and your family, but you must consider all scenarios.
Create a Family Security Plan
Having a plan in place for how to handle scenarios can greatly improve you and your family’s chances of surviving a home invasion unharmed.
Just like fire drills, you should discuss and practice your plan with your family. As your family changes, e.g., your children become older, you should update the plan. While you don’t want to create an environment of paranoia, simply having some idea of what to do can actually empower your family.
Your Security Plan Should Include:
- Basic instructions on what to do if someone you don’t know rings your doorbell, even someone claiming to be a police officer, repair or delivery person, a person needing help, etc.
- A code word that all family members know so when they hear it, they know it’s necessary to implement the plan.
- A basic outline of the most common scenarios. For example, someone breaking in while you’re awake and downstairs; waking to an intruder in your room; the intruder has a gun (or doesn’t); the intruder claims he won’t harm you if you show him wear valuables are, etc.
- Once you’ve identified basic scenarios, outline the plan for each. For example, if you’re awake, you try to escape; if you’re asleep, you yell your code word so other family members can escape or push a panic alarm.
- Knowing where all phones are located, including your cell phone and car keys (which you should keep next to your bed). You can push your car fob’s panic button and set off the alarm, which may scare off someone.
- A route to get out of various parts of the house. For example, climbing out a bedroom window if in one area, through the garage in another and out onto the roof in a third area.
- A pre-determined meeting place such as a neighbor’s or a lamppost down the street, etc.
- A pre-determined place to go for help, such as a neighbor’s. You should discuss your plans with your neighbors so they’re not caught off guard (or think you’re an intruder banging on their door so they pull out a gun).
- If getting out of the home is not possible, identify which is the safest room or hiding place. A bathroom that locks from the inside or a spare bedroom with a phone, for example.
- Where weapons are stored, if applicable. Even fire extinguishers and household cleaners can be turned into a temporary distraction, giving you a few moments to escape.
Remember — NOTHING in your home is worth you or your family’s life or safety.
Always choose the option that will result in the lowest risk of you or someone else being hurt.
Interested in investing in or upgrading your home security system? Let Cultris Security Systems help ensure your home and family are protected.
Call us at 281-506-8466 or visit us online.
Man at door image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/msvg/