For many of us, it's our worst nightmare: waking up in the middle of the night to realize someone is in our house. Should this happen to you, what can you do to keep yourself and your family safe? Here are some important tips on how you can stay safe during a break-in.
Prepare BeforehandWhile most of the rest of these tips will deal with what to do during the actual break in, it's worth mentioning that old proverb, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If you are worried about possible break ins, it's worth spending a little bit of money on a security system that will alert you and the police if anyone unauthorized tries to enter your house in the middle of the night. Security companies can help you protect your home. Typically, burglars like jobs that are easy. If they have to do a lot of work to get through a top-notch security system, they'll just move on to a less well-protected house.
Keep Your Cell Phone With YouIf you do hear or see someone breaking into your house, grab your cell phone. Stay away from landlines, as those lines can be cut. This way, you always have a way of calling somebody for help. It's a good idea to make sure your phone is charged or charging as you go to bed, so that it's ready for you to use in case of an emergency.
Get To a Safe RoomIf you have set up a safe room for yourself with a deadbolt lock on the inside, that's the place you should go. Gather your family, go there, and call 911 from inside. If you don't have a designated safe room, go into any secure room that locks from the inside. Barricade the door with furniture if you are worried about the intruder trying to come in. Keep everyone together and call 911.
Stay CalmIf you encounter the intruder, especially after the police have been called, stay calm. In general, avoid fighting back unless you believe you are in a life-threatening situation, as you run the risk of them reacting violently. Instead, hold your hands up at shoulder level in a gesture of compliance, and avoid direct eye contact. The intruder may simply flee upon being discovered, but if they do not, your calmness and compliance could save your life.
Safety for you and your family comes before anything else, so it's worth doing whatever it takes to keep them safe. Knowing what to do in the case of a break in can make all the difference. We all hope this will never happen to us, but if it does, it pays to be ready for it.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She lives in Los Lunas where she spends her time writing, hiking, biking and running. In her research of this article she has found that companies like Safeguard Glass are now putting more technology to use against would be intruders. Follow Brooke on Twitter @BrookeChaplan.