After reading my article about family action plans you have decided to act. You have worked with all members of your family and have selected the safe room. This is where you will all meet and hide or retreat. What do you need to have in that room?
Your checklist should focus on needs and solutions:
Communications – Your cell phone is the answer. Does your cell phone work well in your bathroom or closet? Where is the charger? Unless you are Jack Bauer, your cell phone will not always work. Try it. Do not use the cordless phone from your night stand. It can be jammed or disabled easily.
Comfort – Blankets and pillows are a comfortable and comforting addition. Check with a camping store or look in that old blanket chest in the basement.
Light – Don’t expect that the electricity will be available. Have at least one flashlight available and have spare batteries. Can you change the batteries in the dark? Can you find the flashlight in the dark?
Lock – Can you lock your safe room from the inside? Interior doors are not real strong. Consider replacing the door with a solid core or metal door with a good lock and door frame. You should control the lock from the inside in the dark.
Defense – Anything that slows or highlights an attacker will deter an attacker. Light and sound have stopped many home invasions. If you have a home alarm system; does it have a siren? Does your home alarm have a battery backup?
Pets – If your pets are in the house with you, get them into the safe room if you can do this quickly. Dogs will want to defend their territory. Cats expect you to defend their territory while they hide under the bed. This extra step might be a good task to delegate to a kid if you set very controlled ground rules. Do not expose anyone to more stress.
Now you are ready to use your safe room to keep all of your family safe and together. Read my article entitled, “What Do I Say In a 911 Call”.
Remember: You have one chance to stay safe during a home invasion.