For most of us, when we think of our personal home safety plans we instantly think door locks, security systems, restricted access to our communities and maybe even we lump our dogs into the plan. All of these are important. I will touch on a few of these and also add a few more.
In saying that you must practice all parts of your plan…with all family members…. even young children or aging parents. With everyone staying home more this last year, we are allowed the opportunity to practice with our families. Hopefully you and your loved ones have practiced everything safety plans covering natural disasters, fires and uninvited intruders.
Let’s look at some basics first. Whether you have taken a specific course on how to make your home more secure, attended a community-based seminar or maybe this is your first time considering what you should do, always start with the simple things first.
1. Lighting, Door locks, Door Screws and Visual Obstructions should be at the top of your to do list.
a. When it comes to lighting, the more the better, its ok if you look like you could land a plane in your yard. The more lit up your yard is the more difficult it is to “sneak” around, making it less inviting.
b. Door Locks- Always, always, always use locks that you can unlock from the inside to get out. This is a Fire Safety Rule. The goal with a lock is to keep uninvited guests out or at least make their entry difficult and noticeable.
c. Door Screws- Have you ever looked at the screws that come with a door frame and hinges. When possible replace all of the screws with 3” screws, reinforcing the door frame to make it less easy to kick in.
d. Visual Obstructions- Bushes can add curb appeal to our homes. Consider adding low bushes that keep windows and doors in sightlines from the street. Clear or cut back Bushes and Shrubs so that you do not offer a hiding place for those uninvited guests
2. Security Systems are fairly common these days. In every family and home assessment I have completed I am always shocked about the percentage of people that do not USE their security system. Some use it, but only turn it on when they leave their home. I challenge you, to think about the benefits a home security system can provide even while you are at home. Soon more and more children will be going back to school and adults going back to work. For those that are lucky enough to stay home and work while everyone else is gone, you should start getting into the habit of turning your security system on. It will still be a few years before the FBI publishes the crime reports for 2020, but a quick internet search supports the claim that home burglaries dropped in 2020 due to everyone “staying home”. Once we return to our new normal, those that received financial benefit and personal joy by entering your home uninvited and taking your stuff will begin to increase again. If you are at home, in your new “office”, aka the back bedroom, having your security system on would alert you to an intrusion, giving you the opportunity to escape or prepare in case escape is not an option.
3. Let’s think bigger and broader about a Home Safety Plan and stage our protection. What does that mean…well it’s as simple as having a plan for every room or nook of your home and staging something you could use to protect yourself in that space. You should create a safe space where family members can meet at should the alarm sound. When choosing a space think about who is involved. Can they all get to the space? If you have young children or infants consider making their room or the nursery the safe space. In your safe space you need, a phone, a tool for protection, a trauma kit and a plan. If you choose a firearm as your tool you need to have it secured so that only those who have permission can access it.
Even though our home is our castle we should always include “escape” or “evade” as step in our Home Safety Plan. In the USCCA CCHDF course they have a segment that focuses on Home Safety Plans. Here is a simple check list and drawing as a guide from USCCA in helping you make your families plan.
These are only a few of the things you should consider when developing your home protection plan. There are many courses on what to do and where to start. It is a good idea to seek out one of these professional courses or community seminars, often hosted by local law enforcement, on what you can do to best protect your family. And remember, just as you should be practicing your fire escape plan, you need to practice your home protection plan.