Family Action Plan—Home Invasion
Keep Your Family And Home Safe From Intruders
Unless you live on a remote private island, an inaccessible mountain peak or a space station orbiting the earth, you probably check to make sure your doors and windows are locked at bedtime and whenever you leave the house. That’s not just proper caution—it’s good common sense. And it’s something simple you can do to deter an intruder from entering your house.
Unfortunately, keeping your doors and windows locked isn’t enough anymore. Doors and windows can be broken. With a good action plan, your family can feel safe and well prepared in the event someone attempts to burglarize or force entry into your house. When you put together your action plan, try to include these suggestions:
✔ Install a home security system. This is a basic, but highly important action to take. A good home security system from a reputable alarm monitoring company can give your whole family peace of mind. Unauthorized entries through doors and windows will trigger the alarm as well as movement sensed by motion detectors. Make sure you post any warning signs or stickers provided by your alarm company. They are the first thing a potential intruder may see approaching your home and may deter him from even trying to break in.
✔ Establish a “safe room.” If the layout of your home allows, pick a centrally located room near all or most of the bedrooms where everyone in the household can gather quickly and safely in the event of an intrusion. Ideally, this room should have reinforced doors and deadbolt locks. Keep a fully charged cell phone and a flashlight in the safe room and make sure it’s wired to your alarm system. That will allow you to safely alert the alarm company to send the police immediately.
✔ Keep doors and windows locked at all times. When you leave the house or go to bed, get in the habit of doing a quick walk-through to check doors and windows. Most break-ins happen through an unlocked door. While at home, you may have doors and windows unlocked. This is an opportune time for an intruder to strike. An alarm system, even when it’s turned off, will beep when a door or window is opened. Don’t let your guard down—keep as many doors and windows locked while you’re home as possible.
✔ Replace hollow doors with solid-core wood or steel doors. If your door has no sidelights or small glass window to see outside, your door should at least have a one-way peephole. The strength of the doorframe is also crucial—make sure the frame around the door is reinforced with heavy duty screws. Your doors and deadbolt locks should be able to withstand a forceful kick.
✔ Replace old locks with deadbolt locks. Since the front door is usually the first point of entry, burglars know exactly where to kick the door to force it open. Use at least four three-inch screws to reinforce the strike plates. Make sure the deadbolt is at least a 1½ inches long.
✔ Add dowel rods to your windows and sliding doors. You can get them at your local hardware store. These rods fit right into the track of the slider door or windows to prevent them from opening. They’re usually not highly visible from the outside. You can even paint or stain the dowel rods to match the trim of your doors and windows.
✔Don’t open your door for strangers. This is a basic rule of safety that even kids know. When you open the door to someone you don’t know, you’re vulnerable to intruders and scam artists. Call a business to verify the person at your door is their employee. Make sure you can see outside your door through a sidelight, a window or a peephole. Many people, particularly senior citizens, are tricked into admitting an intruder. If you feel unsafe for any reason, call 911.
✔ Get a dog. Ferocious barking (regardless of the size of dog it’s coming from) can make an intruder think twice about choosing your house for a break-in. Dogs also have senses of smell and hearing that are far superior to ours. They can sense movement not just inside your house but outside your home and will wake you almost as fast as your home security system when they hear, smell, see or sense an intruder.
✔ Keep non-lethal personal protection handy. Pepper spray, Mace, a TASER or stun gun can be very effective. If you have one of these personal protection devices, make sure you are properly trained in how to use it. Be sure to keep your non-lethal protection away from children—but where you easily reach it in an emergency.
✔Consider taking a self-defense or personal security class. Learning self-defense is something the family can do together. It can give you more confidence if you’re ever faced by an intruder.
Thinking about home invasions can be scary. But following an action plan will give you confidence, more peace of mind and an improved sense of safety for your family and home.
*Content expressed in Home Security Source does not represent the thoughts and opinions of ADT Security Services, Inc. unless explicitly indicated.