It’s everyone’s worst nightmare; you awake to a noise downstairs and after realizing it wasn’t a part of your dream, your heart starts to pound- someone is in your house. A million thoughts fly through your mind before you head even rises from the pillow. You know you need to something, but what?
Even if your house is completely guarded against a home invasion (you’ve asked yourself important questions, you’ve made the simple fixes that can protect your home, and you have home security devices) there is still the chance your home will be burglarized. Worse, there’s a chance it will happen when you are at home. The best way to guard against this is to prepare. The best thing you can do for you and your family is to know the correct way to behave when this terrifying situation arises.
Imagine the Worst & Plan For It:
Before you have to deal with it, plan for it. Nobody wants it to happen, but you should still be ready when it does. Whether it’s just you, you and a spouse, or your entire family, come up with a plan, rehearse it, and know exactly what will happen if you awake to find someone in your home.
When coming up with a plan, there are a few things you should consider.
- An escape plan: Whether you are on the first or second floor, is there anyway you would be able to get out of your house without being seen or heard? Would you be able to get your family out?
- Where you will go once you’re out of the house: A neighbors? A specific landmark down the street?
- Where to go if you can’t get out: If you won’t be able to get out of the house, where can you go? A closet? A bedroom with a lock? A bathroom?
- What you will take with you: A few things you should be ready to grab in a hurry? A charged phone and your car key.
Having a plan also allows you to stay quiet, which is key to staying safe during a burglary.
Enough said. When the burglar broke into your home, they may not have realized anyone was home, and it’s best to keep it that way. From the moment you realize someone is in the house, do whatever you can to remain as quiet as possible. Having a plan in place can keep you from needing to speak to a spouse to decide what you’re going to do. Anything you need to do from that moment on needs to be done quietly.
Whether your plan includes leaving the house through a window or getting to a safe room, as soon you realize there’s someone in your home, secure yourself. The room you sleep in should have a lock or be able to be secured. A handle with a lock or deadbolt are all options but there is also hardware that allows you to simply slide a lock into place and prevent your door from being kicked in.
This may be obvious, but it’s worth saying. It’s also why you should keep a charged phone near your bed or within reach. As soon as you know you are secure, call the police.
When you call:
- Stay quiet: Really can’t stress this one enough.
- Be specific: Tell them where you are in the house, try to describe where the intruder is, how many there are (if you can tell), if they are armed (if you can tell) and if you can get out of the house or not.
- Keep the line open: Keep the operator up to date on what’s happening and stay updated on where the police are and when they will be there. Don’t hang up until you are sure the police are inside and the house is cleared.
This is also where you need to divulge whether you also have a weapon and whether you feel threatened enough to use it. The police need to know if they will be entering a home where a weapon may be discharged.
Using a weapon during a robbery is risky. While many people feel much safer knowing their home is armed, emotions run high during a panic situation, for both the victim and intruder. If you choose to keep a loaded gun, you need to be trained both psychically and mentally and be prepared to use it safely. Make sure you know the laws in your state regarding intruders and property.
Some Things to Remember:
- Do not announce yourself to the intruders-this may frighten them and cause them to panic, causing unnecessary tension.
- Do not panic and try to escape through an unplanned route, especially from an upper level. Injuring yourself can make the situation worse.
- Do not engage with the intruder unless absolutely necessary.
- Remain Calm
The correct door locks and security systems can keep your home safe but with a home being burglarized every 15 seconds, chances are, it could happen to you.
Be ready, and keep your family safe.