If someone is home when an intruder strikes, it's likely they won't have time to think of a plan on the spot. It's important to have a preemptive plan of action. If self-defense is not an option, or not feasible, an escape route should be an option and part of the home-defense plan. Know where the closest exits are at all times. If you can't escape the house, designate a 'safe room' that has a strong, secure door and reinforced walls, floor and ceiling. All interior doors should have locks installed on them to further delay intruders and protect occupants. A Safe Room is also a potential retreat in case of severe weather or a nuclear event. It should be pre-stocked with food, water, first aid, emergency lighting, tools for self-defense and personal hygiene (including toilet) items. Determine how to notify police (or other first responders) in the event of an emergency. Keep in mind that "safe room" construction materials could block (dampen) cell or radio signals. Running a cable from the safe room to an exterior antenna may be necessary to get a signal inside the safe room.
Build a Safe Room or Survival Bunker
Tips to Survive a Home Invasion:
- PREVENTION: Preventing a home invasion is better than surviving one. Apply Home Safety and Security measures found on this page.
- HAVE A PLAN is the theme of this entire web site. Make a plan for this potential threat and practice it.
- DO NOT ENTER the house if there is any evidence of a breakin while you are away. Back away to a safe distance to observe, then call law enforcement.
- REMAIN CALM: A calm head means a clear mind and allows you to make the best decisions in difficult situations.
- PANIC WORD: In a tense situation, communicating with those who can help may not be easy. Having a "panic word", known only between friends, can tell a family member of a serious problem or a potential rescuer that you are in trouble and need help without alerting the captor/invader. Select an uncommon word, but one that could be used in a conversation, like "tell dad that I will cook the asparagus when I get home". Asparagus is the "panic word" to let the rescuer know that you are in trouble.
- KEEP LIGHTS OFF: If it's night, and lights are off, when the invasion happens. Keep the lights off. You know your house without lights but the invader probably doesn't. That's your advantage.
- SAFE ROOM: Designate a place where everyone can go at the same time. This room should be stocked with several specific items that will help you survive the upcoming fight.
- STAY PUT: Do not, under any circumstances, leave the safe room. Don't leave until rescuers (police) arrive.
- FATAL POSITIONING: If you are using a gun for home defense, position yourself in a corner of the safe room that is opposite of the door. This gives you the maximum amount of view area and time to decide if you're going to shoot. You will be the last thing the intruders see if they burst through the door and take time to assess the room before they make a move. You only have to decide if you're going to shoot or not. You will know that it's either the police coming to your rescue or the bad guys coming to harm you.
- COOPERATE: If you are unable to stop a home invasion or get to the safe room and are now face-to-face with the invader(s), give them what they want. No object is as important as you and your family’s safety. If a home invader is threatening you or demanding valuables, you should give them what they want rather than risk a struggle and physical harm. Always speak calmly, move slowly and keep your hands visible. A calm demeanor means less chance of aggravating the intruders. Speak when you are spoken to; keep your answers short and clear; don't ask too many questions; and don't argue with the intruders.
- DON'T BE A HERO: Only fight with the invader(s) when you have to. Don't do anything to put yourself at risk. Don't attempt to prevent the intruders from leaving, or otherwise slow them down. Your priority should be getting the criminals out of your house as quickly as possible.
- TAKE NOTES: You may not be able to write stuff down at the time but observing and listening to the invaders can help lead to their capture by law enforcement. Take note of their clothes, their voices, hair styles and any other distinguishing features or sounds that may help law enforcement identify and apprehend them.
5 Tactical Tips to Survive a Home Invasion
10 Tips for Preventing and Surviving a Home Invasion
Active Shooter Response Options: Run / Hide / Fight
Home Invasion Mistakes
Home Invasion Defense Tactics
Emergency Escape Kit [from High-rise Building]: Most buildings have an evacuation plan that can lead everyone to safer grounds. But when the initial plan falls apart, you need to have a ready-to-go emergency kit nearby. Having a kit with the right items can make a huge difference in getting out of any building and avoiding injury or death. Additionally, even in a ground-level structure, busting through an exterior wall may be the only means possible to escape when all other exits are blocked. Use any tools at hand (hammer, chair, table, lamp, etc.) to escape through a wall or window or jammed door.