Home Invasion Survival Tips
You and your family are sitting in your family room, enjoying your favorite TV show. Suddenly, you hear a loud crash. Your front door is kicked in and two masked men are pointing guns and yelling for everyone to get down on the floor. Fear overwhelms you, and you obey their every demand. Completely helpless, all you can do is hope that you and your family make it through the terrifying ordeal alive and unharmed.
The sheer terror and anxiety experienced by the entire family during a home invasion is simply incomprehensible. Most victims don’t have time to think, no less react. Some are overcome with terror and instinctively freeze in their tracks, while others run away. Some will instantly take a defensive stance and attempt to fight off their intruder. Each of these responses is the result of our built-in "fight or flight" instincts.
The thought of having to experience the terror of a home invasion is the last thing anyone wants to think about. But in view of today’s disturbing statistics, giving the scenario some thought just might save your life.
- Home invasions and burglaries in the U.S. occur every 15 seconds.
- 1 out of every 5 homes experiences a violent home intrusion or burglary.
- Most home invasion crimes begin with the intruder entering forcibly through a "locked" door (usually a swift kick or heavy shoulder slam is all it takes).
How you respond within the first few seconds of a home invasion is crucial to your survival and the survival of your family members.
The Security Onion: The More Layers The Better.
Layer 1 - Safety Plan
Implementing a security plan in the case of a home invasion can drastically improve your chances of surviving the ordeal. To increase the likelihood of survival, be sure to take the following into consideration when devising your plan:
- Include emergency phone numbers in your plan.
- Include an escape plan and/or route for each member of your family.
- Rehearse the plan by enacting a mock home invasion using of a stopwatch. Keep rehearsing over and over again.
- Distribute a copy of your plan to trusted neighbors, review it with them, and inform them of their vital role.
- Put your plan in writing and thoroughly review and discuss it with your entire family to ensure they understand the plan.
Layer 2 – Deterrence
Increasing the security of your home could be what deters and prevents an intruder from ever entering your home. To decrease your risk of experiencing a home invasion, put as many of the following preventive measures in place as possible:
- Treat all accessible windows with a protective glass security film.
- Add outdoor LED security motion lighting to the perimeter of your home.
- Ensure all entry doors to your home are constructed of solid wood or metal.
- Replace standard exit door hinges with steel screws that are at least 2 ½ inches in length.
- Ensure that all sliding doors and windows are equipped with anti-lift or anti-slide features.
- Install high-grade dead bolts, quality locks, and peepholes with a wide-angle lens on all entry doors.
- Insert a metal rod or solid wooden dowel in the tracks of at-risk doors and windows that slide horizontally, such as glass patio doors.
- Install a high quality security door brace at the base of the interior side of entry doors. The brace must be able to withstand a minimum of 1800 lbs. of pressure.
- Never open the door to a stranger, including repairmen, delivery people, or anyone else you are not expecting. Ask delivery people to leave deliveries that you are not expecting on the doorstep.
With a well-constructed door brace and protective window films in place, you can drastically reduce an intruder’s ability to force his way into your home. Although these security devices are not 100% intrusion proof, they require significant force, time and effort to break through. This makes intruders much more likely to give up and flee the premises than to continue on and risk getting caught.
You can also use a security door brace to turn a walk-in closet, bedroom, or some other room of your home into a "safe room." Having a high quality security door brace mounted at the base of the door to the room can buy you the valuable time needed to contact police and wait for their arrival before the intruder can get to you and your family.
Layer 3 – Alarms
A home alarm won’t stop a determined home intruder, but if the alarm is obscenely loud and the system is capable of detecting a breach of a window or door, having an alarm may allow you the precious seconds needed to get to a safer place. Make sure to have a backup cellular connected to your alarm system, that way if your phone line is cut, the backup dialer will still dial out to the police.
If you have a home alarm, ALWAYS KEEP IT SET!
In addition, prominently post the signs that came with your alarm so they are easily seen by anyone that views or approaches your home. When criminals scoping out their next victim see that a home is equipped with an alarm, he will often be deterred and look for an easier and less risky target.
Layer 4 – Emergency Calls to 911
When making a call to 911, you don’t have to speak to the operator and ask for help to receive it. All that is required are the few seconds it takes to "dial" 911 and for the call to be answered by the 911 operator. In most cities the 911 operators have detailed instructions to dispatch the police to a caller’s address if there is complete silence from the caller or the call is cut off. The 911 system automatically detects a caller’s home address.
Phones equipped with speaker phones and automatic dialers can be life-saving devices. When an intruder forces his way into your home, you may only have a few seconds to dial 911. Pushing a single automatic-dial button takes less time than dialing 9-1-1, and every second counts. Using the speakerphone feature to call 911 can also come in handy, as it will allow the 911 operator to hear what’s going on as its happening.
Be sure that each phone in your residence has an auto-dialer feature at the very least. In addition, ensure that each family member knows how to dial 911 using both the auto-dial and speaker phone features. Even children as young as the age of three have been known to be heroes by being taught how to call 911.
Layer 5 – Stay Calm and Levelheaded
Staying as calm and levelheaded as possible is just as critical as any other safety measure. Keeping your wits about you will help you to recognize life-saving opportunities and take appropriate action. Whether it be a chance to escape, dial 911, or physically debilitate the intruder, remaining calm and thinking strategically can save your life. The same is true when it comes to avoiding grave mistakes.
In addition to keeping calm and levelheaded, be sure to keep the following advice in mind:
- Never put up a fight over personal belongings. No matter how valuable, they’re nowhere near as valuable as the lives of you and your family!
- Don’t be a hero! Never attempt to follow an intruder after he has left your home. Immediately contact the police and let them pursue the criminal.
- You should never willingly leave with an intruder and allow him to take you to another location. Your chances of ever returning alive are very grim.
Remember: the best defense against being a victim of a terrifying home invasion is multiple layers of security.
Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.
Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:
The American Society for Industrial Security.
The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.
The Society of Professional Locksmiths.