Home Invasion Safety Part I – by Mark LeClair

Below is an article by Mark LeClair of Smart Tactics, a security consultation and instruction company.  In the article, Mark discusses his home invasion safety recommendations that go hand-in-hand with self defense gun usage:Topic: Home Invasion Safety Part I

*Proactive Safety
*Possible Actions
*Egress Options

{1} Safe-room
A “Safe-room” is a room that an occupant of that dwelling would egress to in the event an emergency was occurring. The safe-room is usually the master bedroom due to its size and accessibility to the outside. The safe-room would be the one room that the occupants quickly egress towards if a threat were trying to invade the home to protect themselves.

In order for the safe-room to be effective for the occupants of that specific home, there are certain steps that need to be taken in that room in order for it to be a “safe haven” for them.

{2} Proactive Safety
Being proactive about ones safety is paramount for personal protection. Most believe that just owning a firearm will protect them from anything and everything and that mindset has created many victims….that lose their firearm to the person causing the problems in the first place. Being proactive simply means preparing for any emergency, to “be prepared” for any emergency.

Part of being proactive is security of the safe-room. A safe-room would not be too safe if the entryway door leading into the safe-room is hollow or without a lock. A threat could easily bust into the one place that the occupants are using as their “last resort retreat”. Investing in a reinforced door will be a smart step towards preventing a threat from entering the safe-room easily.

If the frame that the reinforced door is attached to is not reinforced, a threat could easily kick at the door and break the frame apart. A reinforced door will be heavier than an average door which could cause strain on an average frame. Reinforcing the frame gives added safety to the occupants of the safe-room and more time to come up with a plan if the threat still proceeds to enter their safe-room.

{3} Contents
A safe-room should have minimal items staged inside where they can be easily accessed if needed. Some of those items may sound simple now but invaluable if/when a threat is trying to access their safe-room to cause those on the inside harm. Simple items include: Cell phone, flashlight, pepper spray (if legal in your state), spare keys, flashcard with name, phone number and address on it.

Flashcard: the flashcard is there to aid the occupants when they are calling the 911 operator when they are frantic. In the event the occupants are so frantic that they forget their own address or name, they have the flashcard there to assist with the information. The flashcard is a great tool also, in the event the phone is handed to a child in the safe-room to speak with the operator because the adult is attempting to stop the threat from entering into the safe-room.

Spare keys: Available to drop to the police when they arrive at the home and need entry.

Flashlight: Can be used to signal a neighbor for help, defensive item or to create a “snow blindness” situation towards a threat that enters into the dark room (by quickly turning the flashlight on directed at the threats’ eyes, the threats night vision would become disturbed enough to possibly allow the occupants the availability to flee safely away).

Cell phone: the cell phone should be immediately used to contact emergency services to report the threat. All information is paramount: how many, who (if known), where they are located in the home, access for the police to the home, your name, address and phone number, whether there is a firearm in the home or not and anything else the operator asks. Keep the operator on the phone the entire time the emergency is occurring.

{4} Possible Actions
If a threat is trying to access the safe-room, it is important to remember to immediately lock the safe-room door: locks do not work if you do not use them. Once the door is locked, getting the family in a safe location or area is important as you dial 911 to report the situation. If the threat has a firearm, it would be wise to have family located behind objects that would provide the most cover and concealment:
-Dresser -Bed -Closet etc.

Signaling a neighbor for help with the flashlight is a possible action but screaming out the window towards a neighbor’s home may create more attention towards the home. Someone could hear it and come to assist or just call 911 to report the scream. Either way, the police would arrive to check things out.

{5} Egress Options
There are some egress options that exist and the options per person will vary depending on their living situation: 2
nd story window, 3rd story window, first floor location, balcony or porch, etc.

For those that live on the 2nd or 3rd story, egress ladders are an excellent way to safely relocate those that occupy the safe-room. With the egress ladders, the window can be raised and the ladder tossed outside the window will unroll as it descends fully towards the ground. Once the ladder has fully descended to its furthest point, the occupants could then start their egress, one at a time.

The egress ladders can be installed permanently below the window in its own contained space or can be secured using the securing arms (which secure to the sill of the window or the frame). The egress ladders are inexpensive and can be used over and over again. It is wise to practice safely with the ladders before a threatening situation occurs rather than wait until it is absolutely needed!

Setting up the safe-room now may provide the security that would be needed in a home invasion situation and the more that is done now, the less that would be needed in the future to combat an invader. Practice certain scenarios and time response times to an emergency and ensure everyone knows their role in that emergency and where to meet. Once the times are respectable, practice a couple of times a month to remain alert and proactive.

Research options and be aware of your surroundings. Once aware and prepared, the occupants may sleep a little bit better knowing that “if” an emergency were to occur, they may be more prepared than most and survive an emergency rather than become the victim. Be safe.

My thanks to Mark for providing this article.