How to Deal With an Intruder in Your Home

ou’re startled awake in the middle of the night. You think you heard a noise, but can’t be sure. There it is again. It’s definitely a noise, and it definitely sounds like someone’s in the house. What to do?

The most important thing is to have a plan beforeyou get to this point. Knowing what you will do and how you’ll do it will minimize panic and confusion in the moment, leaving you better equipped to protect your home and family. Here’s how we’ve planned it at my house:

1. Remain Calm

A little bit of adrenaline can help wake you up to handle this situation, but fear can lead to panicked reactions and violence. As in any emergency, the best course of action is to keep a clear head, so you can proceed as necessary.

2. Get to a Safe Space

It’s best to designate two safe spaces, so in case a burglar blocks your path to one, you can still go to the other. This safe space can, obviously, be your bedroom, in which case you wouldn’t have to move at all. However, if you have kids the safe space will probably be one of their bedrooms. The goal is for everyone to be together, in one space.

3. Open the Window

You should always have an alternate escape route, and a window is a good choice. Unlock and open it to prepare for a quick exit, if necessary. If your safe space is not on the ground floor, make sure to have an escape ladder stored in the room.

4. Call the Police / Hit the Panic Button

As soon as your family is united in your safe space, call the police. (Your home phone line may have been cut, so it’s a good idea to have a cell phone handy.) You should also hit the panic button – make sure you’ve installed one in your safe space! Many burglar alarms come standard with panic buttons, but if yours doesn’t, consider getting one as an add-on.

5. Do Not Confront

Unless you are trained in self-defense, confronting a burglar is more dangerous than staying hidden. Even if the intruder looks small or weak, s/he could be carrying a knife, a gun or some other type of dangerous weapon.

6. Arm Yourself

It’s a frightening thought, but it is a good idea to arm yourself with a baseball bat, a bottle – any blunt object that could be used as a weapon. In case you come face-to-face with a dangerous burglar, an improvised weapon could keep you safe.

If a burglar approaches or attacks you, fight back with the required force. Throw objects at his/her eyes and face. Swing for the knees or shins to incapacitate. Do whatever is necessary to keep yourself and your family safe from harm.

7. Don’t Move

When the police arrive, stay where you are until they have cleared your home and pronounced it safe. If they didn’t find an intruder, make sure they check the attic, basement, crawl spaces or other hidey holes.

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