Practical safety tips to help survive a home invasion
Can you, at this very moment, close your eyes and recall a heart-stopping moment you experienced? A car accident, a medical emergency, being victim to a hijacking or an armed robbery? When you were shocked cold, your veins turned to ice and your mind simply froze. Possibly, you couldn’t even move. You couldn’t function, didn’t know what to do next, couldn’t remember a single digit of an emergency contact number. It was horrifying, wasn’t it?
Home invasions are sadly a daily occurrence, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be prepared. Read through some of these safety tips to help make sure you’re not helpless during a home invasion.
1. Control fight or flight.
There’s nothing like the fear that grips your heart the moment you realise there are intruders on your property, putting you and your family at immediate risk. There’s danger in both freezing on the spot or rushing out to confront armed men gung-ho. The best way to stay calm during either of these responses is to keep your head and identify a trigger in advance that will snap you out of it in the moment.
If your response is fight, constantly remind yourself to assess the situation and recognise that your life and that of your family outweigh the cost if things go wrong.
If your response is flight, have your emergency game plan ready and close at hand, somewhere you will immediately remember to grab it from to follow your pre-planned steps to get to safety.
2. Proper preparation
Think about the best plan of action for the worst case scenario, write those steps down and share them with the family.
- Determine an escape plan. If an intruder enters through the front door, do you head through the back? If they break in through the back door, can everyone make it to the front? Is there anywhere to hide outside until help comes, or do you head to the neighbour’s house?
- If your home doesn’t have easy escape routes, dedicate and equip a room in the house as the safe room, such as a bathroom or spare bedroom. Ensure this room can be locked from the inside, store a charged cellphone loaded with airtime in an airtight packet to be able to call for help, along with a remote panic button to notify your alarm monitoring company that there’s trouble.
- Add contact numbers for your neigbours, closeby family members, security company and local police to the plan to ensure you don’t have to rely on memory during a stressful situation.
- Have a couple fixed and remote panic buttons in accessible locations around the house, and ensure every member of the family knows where they are, how they work and how to use them during a home invasion.
3. Comply with demands.
If none of the above steps are possible before robbers are in your home, stay calm, don’t make any sudden movements and comply with their demands. Calmly advise how many people are in the house so they aren’t caught by surprise and act rashly, your life is worth more than putting up a fight and escalating the situation. Try to subtly make mental notes of noticeable features without outright staring, such as scars, tattoos or accents, hair colour and style, colour of their clothing, etc.
Always be prepared and vigilant in case of a home invasion, ensuring the alarm system is armed especially at night, that all doors and windows are locked, and possibly even install a security gate inside for a second layer of protection. Small dogs that sleep inside the house are also not just great companions, but great alarms too!
Have you ever been the victim of a home invasion? How did you improve your home security after that and what safety tips can you share with us that has helped you since then?