When you awake to hear something rustling outside your door, there’s a moment it takes your mind to simply grasp that something may be occurring. It could be something or someone – it could be nothing. But when you wake up in the middle of the night hearing noises, what’s your first response? A lot of people take for granted that having a weapon is sufficient to securing one’s home in the event of a break-in. However, if you’re not comfortable clearing and securing each room, you’re putting yourself and your family in jeopardy.
Have a Plan – Communicate That Plan
That first step is critical. If possible, it’s always great to consult with other family members and people living in your house so they know what to expect from you. More importantly, it helps them understand how they can assist. Sometimes it can be as a simple as, “if you hear me shout ‘floorboards’, I need everyone to get on the ground and stay there until I come and get you.”
CONSIDERATIONS: There is a moment of discomfort when other people have to get used to a change in habit and home defense is definitely that. We like to think that everything will work out – and it may – but those extra steps of preparation can increase those odds.
SOLUTION: Make sure, when coming up with a home defense plan, that everyone is consulted. Sometimes the person you least expect may have a good insight or better way to manage the situation during the planning phase.
6 Points of a Basic Home Defense Plan
1. Clear and secure your own bedroom.
2. Clear and secure each room starting from the end that the bedroom is on and moving in one clear direction. If possible, move each occupant to your bedroom or a designated safe room which has already been cleared.
3. Communicate as you move from room to room. If other occupants are sleeping, startled, unsure of what is going on – the only way they’ll know is if you tell them.
4. Check locks on external doors, check windows for tampering.
5. Conduct a headcount of all occupants of the home.
6. Once inside is secure, contact 911 and standby for further instructions.
Practice That Plan At a Regular Interval
If you live alone, then this is exceedingly easy. For those with kids, pets, or elderly relatives who aren’t very communicative – practice truly makes perfect. When you wake up in the middle of the night, your brain isn’t going to instantaneously kick into high gear. You need to be able to rely upon quick instincts, muscle memory, and good, fast judgment calls.
CONSIDERATIONS: If you do have multiple occupants, make sure to incorporate loud, distinct ways of communicating so they know what to do and you know they’re secure (or not).
SOLUTION: ALWAYS practice that same style of communication. Especially when loaded firearms may be coming around doors and clearing corridors, there is a lot at risk. Don’t take chances.
The Dangers of Non-Lethal Weaponry
Mace, pepper spray, tazers, bean-bag rounds in a shotgun – man has come up with some ingenious ways to avoid killing. Unfortunately, in a life or death situation – your enemy, his numbers, and his full intentions are unknown. That’s why there’s no time to take chances. If you or a family member identifies a hostile presence in the home, it behooves you to eliminate it as quickly as possible.
CONSIDERATIONS: Weapons such as pepper spray, bear mace, etc., can all be extremely effective under the right conditions. When it is unknown the intruder’s armament, armor, and numbers – pepper spray isn’t going to be particularly effective. More importantly, there is going to be a “blast back” of pepper spray mist that has just as much potential to irritate your mucous membranes.
SOLUTION: Save the pepper spray. If you are going to use it – make sure you know what it feels like first.