If life was fair, your home would be a safe place, your sanctuary, your castle. It would be the one place where you were completely separate from all the cares of the world. Sadly, such is not the case. One merely needs to read the newspapers to see the number of home invasions that violate American homes and families virtually every day. Every home is a potential target for criminal activity; none are exempt.
For this reason, it is critical to have a home-defense plan that will make your home a less likely target and protect your family until the police can arrive and take charge. Since families are so different, no one plan will fit every home. Each family must create a plan that fits their home and situation. What follows are three broad areas that every family should consider in developing their own home-defense plan.
Harden the Target
If you built a house that was impossible to get into, you would have a house that you couldn't get out of either. What a homeowner should do is make his or her house difficult to break into and one that causes a lot of noise should a break-in occur. Noise is your friend. It let's you know that something is wrong and gives you a bit of time to prepare to deal with the problem.
All external doors should be solid, hard-core doors. While this is usually the case in new homes, one should not take it for granted. The next step is to check the locks on all of the doors and windows. Make sure they work. If they seem worn out, or flimsy, they should be replaced. By the way, it's not only an excellent idea to lock the house when you leave, it is equally as important to lock the door behind you when you return home.
On the outside of the house, it is a good idea to have adequate lighting on all sides of the house. This way, you can see who is out there and your neighbors can see if someone is prowling around. It is also a good idea to avoid having large shrubs next to the house as this can provide some concealment for criminals as they stage their attack.
Finally, regarding making the home a safer place to live, many police departments are happy to have one of their officers come by your house and make a security evaluation. And there is nothing like getting ideas for security upgrades from the folks who actually have to investigate burglaries and home invasions.
The Safe Room
One room in the house should be designated as the Safe Room. This is the room where the family will gather should a criminal attack occur. Since many such attacks occur at night, most people select the master bedroom as the safe room.
Ideally, the safe room will have a solid-core door installed with strong locks. The room should also include places of cover that will stop bullets. The bed, itself, may serve this purpose, as will other types of furniture. It would also be comforting if the room had an attached bathroom since one never knows how long it will take the police to restore peace and order in the rest of the house.
Since criminals may have cut off your electricity and phone lines, the room should be stocked with several flashlights, and other sources of light, along with several cell phones. It should also have a supply of whatever medications a family member might need. In addition, a good first-aid kit is necessary since family members may have been injured while getting to the room. If one is trained in the defensive use of firearms, this is also the place for storing guns and extra ammunition.
Once the family has ensconced themselves in the safe room they only come out at the direction of responding police officers. Anyone who forces themselves into the room becomes silhouetted in the doorway and makes an excellent target. One just simply does not wander around the house looking for bad guys unless absolutely necessary.
The Home-Defense Plan & Your Family
Developing a procedure for defending against a home invasion should involve the whole family. Everyone in the family should understand when and how to get to the safe room. And once in the safe room, just about everyone in the family can play a part in protecting the family. Family members trained in defensive shooting may be prepared to deal with a forced entry, while other family members may be on the phone to the police, providing details. The more information you can supply to the police, the more effective their response can be. Tell them where they can find a house key (not under the doormat, please) to make their entry. Tell them where in the house the safe room is located. In fact, if there is an external door to the safe room, the police might be able to enter that way and get you and your family out before they engage the criminals. Once the police are on the phone, never hang up. The entire conversation will be recorded and you can also keep them informed as to what is going on before and during their arrival.
A family home-defense plan should involve numerous family planning sessions that involve the whole family. You must make the decision as to how mature your children are and what defensive duties they can perform. Just don't exclude them from the planning process because you would be surprised at some of the good ideas that kids can come up with.
Finally, you should also have a plan for making an organized retreat from the safe room and the house. This may become necessary if the house catches fire. Or police, once they have arrived, might instruct you to leave the house and go to their staging area.
I have not said anything about what kind of guns should be in the house because that is not as important as knowing how to use the guns that you have. If you keep guns for personal defense you are honor bound to get proper defensive training with them. Having hunted all your life doesn't make you a gunfighter. It is just that simple; if you keep defensive firearms you need to get professional defensive training for everyone in the family that might use them. Besides several great defensive schools around the country, the National Rifle Association offers good, relatively inexpensive classes aimed directly at personal and home-defense.
A home defense plan isn't just about dealing with the bad guys. Your family meetings can also discuss procedures in case of fire, tornado, hurricane or other natural threat. Besides these are also times for the entire family to be together and to work together toward a common goal.
Your home defense is what you make it. And your family can be your winning team. Now is the time to prepare your defense. If you wait until you hear glass break, it might be entirely too late.