Tips to Survive a Home Invasion

Posted on 2024-01-03
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What are the odds of a home invasion? Sadly it’s more common than people think. In normal times you’re eight times more likely to be involved in a home invasion attack than a house fire –– and don’t make the mistake of thinking home invasions only take place in high-crime urban areas. The suburbs and rural areas are targets too. In disaster/crisis scenarios such as we saw during Katrina, the odds get worse on every front.

That’s why it’s important to plan a home defense strategy now that will keep you and your family safe if you’re ever faced with a violent home invasion.

Your Firearms
You often hear these stories on the news. When it comes to survival, a common element includes an armed homeowner that was adept at using the firearm. Nonetheless, the average handgun owner hasn’t learned how to use their gun(s) outside of the controlled atmosphere of a shooting range, so aren’t really prepared for a dangerous, up-close-and-personal situation in confined quarters. That’s why your first line of defense is far more important than a gun.

Your Brain
The most effective weapon in a home defense situation is your brain. No matter what you have at hand to use in your defense, you can always count on the ability to think tactically. Start by keeping a cool head before you react in a frenzied point-and-shoot panic. Better to be prepared by devising a safer and more realistic home invasion defense strategy which should include:

  • A Code Word. Come up with a code word that will inform your entire family that it’s go time… time to spring into action… DEFCON 1. Keep it simple. For example, “BREACH!” is pretty simple to the point.
  • A Safe Room. Designate a “safe room” in your home where your family can muster in a crisis. Make sure it’s stocked with the stuff that will help you survive the threat. The one thing that you must have in this room is a phone that can be used to call the police. If there are no first responders coming, you’ll also want to include bottled water, food, toiletries, a radio, a toilet, lighting, first aid kit and some self-defense weapons at a minimum.
  • Find a Tactical Position. If you’re adequately armed, take up position in the corner of your safe room that is on the opposite side of the door. This will provide you with the maximum amount of time and strategic space to determine if you’re going to shoot in self-defense. If an intruder busts through the door, this tactical position will ensure that you’re the last thing they see, because they’ll first need to make an assessment of the entire room before making a move. If you called the police and it happens to be the police entering the room, you’ll already know it because they will have announced it. If it’s a bad guy, you’ll only need to determine if you’re going to shoot.
  • Stay Put. Remain in your safe room and do not leave under any circumstances while the threat lasts. Even if you’re armed, resist the urge to confront the invaders single handidly. Despite what you see in the movies, there’s typically no glory in going out in a blaze of glory.
  • Stay Put Some More. No matter how long it takes, until first responders or other dependable backup arrives, stay in your safe room. Even if you think the threat is over and the intruders are gone, do not leave the safe room yet. You can’t be 100% certain that more bad guys aren’t lying in wait to take your family by force, hold them hostage, or worse. Lay low until the house is cleared and you get the definitive “all clear.”

If you don’t make it to your safe room…
If you’re going about your day and suddenly come face-to-face with a home invader who’s just as surprised to see you as you are surprised to see them, you should try to remain calm, comply with their demands, and try the following:

  • Play Dumb. It might be difficult, but it may just keep you safe. A home invader may be willing to play along and pretend they’re in the wrong home, then leave. Since many burglaries are crimes of opportunity, the burglar may not want to risk getting a heftier prison sentence if caught.
  • Cooperate. If fleeing isn’t an option, try cooperating. Do what you’re asked, and don’t make any sudden movements. React to demands in measured ways and make an effort to inform if you need to do something like reach into a jacket pocket.
  • Stay Calm. The calmer you are, the easier it will be to identify any tactical advantage. For example, try to keep distance or furniture between you and the intruder because space is a tactical advantage.

If none of these methods work, get ready to defend yourself, and have the peace of mind that you did everything possible to de-escalate the situation.

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