There is no time to think when forced entry is attempted into a home. Every home should have solid entry doors and high quality locks. Still, a determined intruder is likely to gain entry. Specific tools and training help to ensure survival of the family during a brutal home invasion. Here are five steps to get prepared.
1. Have a Place of Retreat
Safe rooms can range from basic to extraordinarily elaborate. A basic safe room in a house may be an interior bathroom that can be fortified at a reasonable cost. There are many ways to fortify a room, but the standard includes a door that cannot be kicked in that has a sturdy locking mechanism that cannot be easily defeated. Typical inexpensive safe rooms include at least four feet of thick plywood on the wall on each side of the door. By law, an unactivated cell phone must permit calls to 911. Keep an old one charged in the safe room to call for help
2. Practice Family Safety Drills
Increase incentive to follow training drills to get to the safe room quickly when an alarm is sounded. Make it a competition where family members can earn prizes. The alarm can be a home alarm system but should also include a code word. Whenever the code word is heard, everyone gets to the safe room. Practice with each family member learning to close and quickly lock the door once everyone is inside.
3. Create a Prevention Plan
Many home invaders are invited in. This is especially true of homes that have alarm systems. The intruders know that the alarm is off if the front door is opened for them. They typically use a ruse to get someone to open the door, then they rush in. Have an action plan for when someone rings the doorbell or knocks. Children need to be taught to never open the door for strangers under any circumstances. Senior family members who grew up in an era when doors were left unlocked need to be taught about the risks that exist today.
4. Design a Redundancy Plan
It is simple to follow a plan when a stranger is at the door. It is also possible to react without thought and get to the safe room if an intruder is attempting to get inside. However, the best made plans can still fail. If it is too risky to get to a safe room, a very well thought out spot to hide in is good. Learning to escape out a back, side or basement door is good. Being able to escape out a first floor window to a neighbor’s house may be an option. Use the features of the home, the landscape and anything else to the advantage of getting away or hiding by using multiple routes or methods. Learn them all.
5. Considering Weapons
There is no doubt that firearms have saved lives during home invasion attempts. However, they do require a high level of skill and training to operate safely under the stress of criminals invading the home. Plus, they need to be safely kept out of unauthorized hands. They are also the subject of federal, state and local laws. If firearms are kept for protection, get training on how to use them for home defense. All experts consider using a firearm as a last resort. The goal is to get away from the invaders and stay alive unharmed, not to engage in a life or death gun battle.
Take steps as the budget allows to fortify the home against invasion attempts. Early warning systems such as home alarms and cameras give advanced warning to get to the place of safe retreat. Hopefully, no family reading this will ever need to put any of these plans into action. However, if they ever are needed, at least everyone will know what to do.
Hayley is freelance blogger writing on behalf of Vivint. She recommends purchasing a Hampton VA home automation system to residents of Hampton, VA who wish to safeguard their home against fire, theft and intrusion. She recommends visiting http://www.vivint.com/en/city/va/hampton to residents of Fresno, CA who also wish to safeguard their homes against theft, fire and intrusion.