Putting the Plan
Reading to this point, you’ve learned the key components of a Practical Home Defense strategy. But knowledge isn’t enough. You must act. Specifically, you must develop a plan that works for you and your family, and put it into practice.
Start by reviewing each section in this program. Note specific tasks that you’ll perform as part of your preparation.
Door and Window Security
Take inventory of the entrance points to your home and decide the steps to secure them. Consider improving lighting and adding cameras and alarms. Research Home Automation technology and consider how to incorporate it into your plan.
Firearms and Shooting Skills
Use the information in Chapter 3 to choose the correct firearm for your Home Defense situation and learn the Shooting Skills outlined in Chapter 5.
Firearm Staging and Safe Rooms
Decide where and how to stage firearms in your home and the location of one or more Safe Rooms. Outfit each Safe Room with the necessary supplies.
Use of Lethal Force
Make sure you understand the laws in your area regarding the use of force. Prepare in advance to avoid needing to use lethal force, but be determined to use it if necessary. Review the sections about shooting in self-defense, the possibility of injury, and the effects of adrenaline.
Working with Law Enforcement
Print the Emergency Communication Guide and keep a copy in each Safe Room, so you’ll remember what to convey to the 911 operator and what to say to Law Enforcement. Research criminal defense attorneys in your area. After selecting one you trust, arrange to be able to contact them in an emergency. Put their contact information in your cell phone and in each Safe Room.
Roles and Responsibilities
Plan your Home Defense response with any other adults in your home. Establish responsibilities for moving family members to a Safe Room, retrieving firearms, barricading the Safe Room door, and calling 911.
The plan can be flexible during an actual emergency, but discussing roles in advance will help everyone understand the plan and the tasks that will need to be performed.
In a family with more than one adult, make sure the plan can be executed short-handed. All authorized adults must be able to access staged firearms and be proficient in their operation.
In an emergency, an adult will need to physically move pre-teen children to a Safe Room. Using a child's bedroom as a Safe Room can make practical sense.
Tell teenagers and young adults about the safety plan and what to do in an emergency. A good time for this discussion is when you explain that they aren’t allowed to answer the door without your prior approval.
Behaviors to Support the Plan
You and your family are depending on your plan working in an emergency. Support the plan with consistent checks and behaviors:
- Keep your doors and windows locked.
- Never open a door to a stranger.
- Keep lights on as appropriate.
- Regularly test cameras and alarms.
- Keep Safe Rooms clean and organized.
- Regularly inspect Safe Rooms and staging locations:
- Check the operation and contents of firearm staging locations.
- Make sure authorized family members can operate all quick-access safes.
- Confirm firearms are maintained and in the proper ready condition.
- Confirm the contents of each Safe Room.
- Confirm mobile phones are properly staged and operational.
- Regularly practice defensive shooting skills.
Practice and Preparation
Review the plan several times per year with other family members. Physically walk through the plan and check each staging location and Safe Room. Discuss the extent that safe behavioral practices have been followed and commit to making any necessary improvements.
When you hear a noise at night, or if a camera detects motion during the day, act on it! Even if it’s nothing to be concerned about, take the opportunity to move to a Safe Room and see if it’s truly ready for action. Do the safes and phones operate as expected? Are the firearms and staged items where they should be, in well-maintained and ready condition?
Practice the plan from various locations in your home, making sure you have access to a Safe Room, firearm, and phone.
Determine plausible scenarios for your home:
- Watching TV when someone breaks through the patio door.
- Asleep when someone breaks through the front door.
- In the basement when you hear a noise upstairs.
Once you have run through the motions many times, from various locations in your home, you can be confident in your ability to execute your plan and capitalize on everything you’ve prepared.