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By Jim Gilliland
Dead bolts for doors, security lighting out back, and a modern security system. It appears you have all the bases covered, but you’re missing one of the most important tools: a plan.
Every individual is different and how they plan and react will be different. You can research hundreds of plans of action and never find the correct one but find things from each plan to use for yourself. While planning for a disaster, threat, contingency or emergency, it is imperative to conduct a thorough self-assessment and be honest with yourself. Not everyone has the will or training to do some things, and others might be overzealous to perform tasks they shouldn’t.
In the end, a well laid-out home protection plan is one that you and your whole family is comfortable with and can operate correctly. That being said, here are a few things to think about to help set up a simple plan that can keep you safe.
You must know your home and surroundings: where an intruder’s most likely points of entry are and how they would try to enter and exit your home. Most civilized people only think of doorways and low windows, but for a true criminal, the possibilities are much greater. Many people with two-story homes only have alarms on the lower level under the thought that those are the only places where someone would try to get in. But with only a 10-foot ladder or stackable materials anyone can gain access to an upper level, especially from the rear or side of the house where fences, terrain or vegetation block being viewed.
Likewise, with rural homes, a seasoned criminal who knows the house or the location of belongings could easily use a chainsaw or similar item to cut into the side of a thin-walled garage or room without setting off alarms. So, knowing your environment and placing barriers between you and a potential threat are paramount to better protection.
Knowing the plan is a requirement. While planning operations inside buildings, military soldiers plan for “hot walls,” or walls they suspect will be shot toward during a raid. Knowing how your home is laid out, the locations of bedrooms, and where you can and cannot engage a threat is extremely important. Bullets go through walls. You cannot make a protection plan while leaving wide open the possibility of harming your loved ones. Likewise having places where you create space between your family and the threat is a huge advantage. Long hallways, corridors, or spaces you can see and channel the intruder give you a narrower target area and a better chance of eliminating the threat or having them back off and leave.
Having the necessary implements in the areas you want to form your defensive area makes the entire scenario more successful for you. An old working cell phone on a charger is a wonderful tool in this. Even if you disconnected service from the device most cell phones can still make emergency calls. A properly working firearm with correct ammunition in that location gives you the working tools to fight if the need arises. Lights and other accessories you are familiar with can be helpful as well.
This is one of the most overlooked parts of any plan. Just knowing the plan means little. I personally “know” how to fly a helicopter, I’ve watched friend do it, flown in dozens of them, and have a general interest. However, if placed at the controls and told to fly or die, I couldn’t do it.
Even just a simple family gathering and walk-through of your plan could mean the difference between success and failure. Everyone in the family should have a part and the parts should be redundant. Never forget the threat in your house has way less to lose than you and they chose to threaten you. They might not have a full plan of action, but they at least have an end goal and you should too. The more walk-throughs you do, the more your whole family is involved and the smoother you will be able to transition from step to step. Having a plan only means you acknowledge something could happen. Practicing the plan successfully makes it valid.
Everyone who has a plan of action should have a plan for what happens after the plan comes together. Whether a break-in is thwarted and the invader flees or if there is a running gunfight, you have to understand there is something that has to be done after the action is over.
Having a written checklist is a great way to pull your attention into focus after an adrenaline dump, letting you assess the situation, articulately speak with first responders, consolidate your family, treat injuries, and secure your entire position. A checklist can cover a variety of situations and can be handled by nearly anyone in the family. Multiple checklists might be necessary and great thought should be given to them to make them fit personally. Like any other part of the plan, checklists should be revisited and revised as things change.
It is also imperative that you understand that you did not place yourself into the situation from which you just emerged. Your threat/intruder made that decision and forced you and your family into the situation. You were only protecting your loved ones by doing whatever was necessary to survive. The criminal mind and evil intent from another human should never cause you to feel you have done something wrong. Far to the contrary, you should be grateful you had the forethought and abilities to identify and correct a terrible situation.
These are broad topics and are by no means a plan. However, the ideas will help you identify and start a plan of action for your situation. Exercise research, detailed planning, training and real-world knowledge while exploring what is right for you. Many offer training, materials and insight on this topic, but choose your sources wisely and ensure they have proper credentials. There are true professionals and those who pretend to be.
Thinking about how to protect the most important things in your life should be taken more seriously that any investment. Making this hedge fund against the truly uncertain world will give you the ability to protect what you cannot recoup in any market.
Expansion and weight retention like no other bullet make HST the ideal choice for self-defense.