Whether you have a home security system or not, the one thing you absolutely must have for the safety of your family and yourself is an escape plan in case of a home invasion – because life is precious and seconds count!
Someone breaking into your home is a scary thing to think about, but what’s even scarier is NOT thinking about it! If you don’t think about it in advance and have a plan of action should this type of unfortunate incident occur, you could lose the most valuable asset in your home – a life.
Most people would assume the first thing you need to do when you hear the presence of an intruder in your home would be to call 911 – right? Wrong.
We’ll get to why that’s wrong shortly, but the correct answer is:
As we’ve already said, the lives of you and your family are the most important asset in your home, and getting away as quickly and as quietly as you can is your main objective. Forget about grabbing any valuables in your home. The things in your home are replaceable – lives are not.
When an intruder is inside your home, you want to get out as quickly as you can, get away to another point of safety, such as a neighbor’s house. Then – call 911.
Placing a call to 911 can take several minutes of time. During that time, an intruder can find, confront and possibly wound or kill you or your family. Get everyone somewhere where the intruder is not likely to follow, after all in most situations, it’s the items in your home intruders are after – not you or your family.
Plan in advance for how you and your family would exit your house in case of a home invasion. This plan needs to account for different scenarios of where an intruder might enter your home.
For example, have a plan of action in case an intruder breaks into your home in the middle of the night when you and your family are in bed. Consider a separate plan of action if an intruder were to say enter through a backdoor during the daytime when the family might be gathered in the living room. Give careful consideration to different possible scenarios.
Escape plans for two-story homes can be a little trickier. Typically, your only route of escape is down a single interior stairway that an intruder can block access to. Therefore, consider having window escape ladders installed on the upper floors of your home to expand your escape options. Even if you install an escape ladder for only one room, your plan can be to go to that room and make an escape.
If there is no way for you to escape your home, the next level your escape plan should include is somewhere to hide or a safe space.
Some people take the extra step of creating a “safe room” in their home that would be impenetrable to an intruder. This could be several things.
One, is a security door installed on a bedroom that would be impenetrable to intruders, as well as, security screens or shutters on windows to prevent entry.
Another is a designated safe room that has an impenetrable security door, that you and the members of your family could go to and lock yourself in until the authorities arrive. It’s also a good idea to keep a designated phone inside your safe room, such as a pay-as-you-go phone for emergency purposes that stays on a charger.
If your home alarm system has a panic button and you can get to it without being detected by the intruder, by all means hit the button. If your current alarm system doesn’t have one, it’s an important feature you might want to add. There are also alarm systems you can trigger by your phone, which would allow you to stealthily trip the panic button even as you are making your escape. The intruder wouldn’t know whether he had tripped a sensor himself.
It’s best not to confront the intruder. Even if you’re trained in self-defense, you never know what you’re up against or what type of weapons the intruder may be carrying.
Secondly, even if you have firearms for defending yourself, doing so can be a gray area in terms of the law and your legal rights.
Unfortunately, laws vary from state to state, and if you injure or kill an intruder, not only could the burglar sue you (and prevail), but you could be charged with a crime and imprisoned. It’s wise to know the laws in your state against defending yourself against intruders. Believe it or not, in some states you do not have the right to shoot a home invader.
Of course, the best plan includes deterring home invasion in the first place. Installing security systems that include alarms, cameras, motion sensors and motion-activated lighting in and around your home, including near main entryways, can be a significant deterrent to potential burglars. Many of the modern systems also can send alerts and camera footage directly to your smart phone, which can also prevent you from unknowingly entering your home when an intruder is already present.
Additionally, planting prickly shrubs or cactus around the perimeter of your house can also deter burglars from trying to enter, especially through windows.