Let’s think about the context of an imminent home invasion or a time when you know that there is an intruder in the home. If you have kids, where is the first place you are going to be drawn to checking? What in your home is more important to protect than your children? If you are likely to head to your kids room when you hear the proverbial “bump in the night” (or your alarm goes off, glass breaks, the dogs start barking, you hear your kids scream, etc., etc.) and you get there to find them safe, why would you want to leave that room to go get a firearm if you thought there might be a dangerous threat elsewhere in the home?
When I.C.E. Training Company Instructors teach Fundamental Home Defense Tactics we advise the following steps:
- Communicate (As appropriate)
- Respond (If Necessary)
Your first responsibility is always to avoid confrontation, if possible. Regardless of your feeling of indignation, injustice or even if you perceive that the “law is on your side”, standing your ground or even going towards a potential violent encounter is always a mistake, if you have the option of getting to a place that the bad guy isn’t.
If you can’t simply run out the back door and get away from the threat, you’ll want to arm yourself. Naturally, the best defensive tool in most home defense situations is going to be a firearm that you have trained to use and staged for that purpose. If, unlike most people, you carry a gun at all times you are in your home, arming yourself is not a separate stop. Getting your gun from its staging area into a ready position shouldn’t take you more than 3-5 seconds from the time you get to it’s location. For this reason, I recommend a Quick Access Safe, with a few large buttons or a biometric scanner to facilitate efficient access.
We define “barricading” as: Making it harder for the threat to get into a position to hurt you or your family. This can be done any number of ways, including simply hiding. If the bad guy doesn’t know where you are, it is hard for him to get into a position to hurt you. Barricading can also be done by getting as far as possible from the threat, closing and locking doors (possibly reinforced ahead of time) and/or pushing heavy furniture against a doorway.
-Communicate (as appropriate)
You’re going to want to contact the police as soon as possible if you believe that there is an intruder in your home. When you do, we recommend you tell the dispatcher 5 things:
A. Your Address
B. What is happening
C. That you are armed
D. Your Description
E. The Bad Guy’s Description (if possible)
You want to make sure that the good guys turn the flashy red & blue lights on and head to the right place…. don’t trust the technology to let them know where you are. You’ll also want to make sure that they know there will other good guys on the scene with guns… in fact, make sure that police officer already has some idea what you look like and what you are wearing, so that you get the benefit of ‘good guy’ status when they meet you in the home. If you can, giving them a description of the threat will also increase the odds that they attempt to control the right person when they arrive.
You may also want to call out a warning to the bad guy from your side of the barricade, but this is usually only recommended if you are certain the bad guy already knows where you are and is definitely trying to get into a position to attack you.
-Respond (if necessary)
In the worst case scenario, the threat finds you and you are forced to defend yourself and your family actively with your firearm. This is a last resort that you should strive to avoid at all costs. Three of the steps above are specifically designed to avoid this necessity, but Step #2 gets you ready… just in case. When you shoot, use the appropriate balance of speed & precision and keep shooting until the threat stops or leaves.
If the title of this article didn’t make sense to you when you first read it, it should now… particularly when you consider the scenario I proposed in the opening paragraph. If you are already in your child’s room and there is no immediate threat, wouldn’t it be more efficient to have prepared that room as your barricade area? Reinforce a solid wood door with a stronger frame, longer hinge screws, and/or a dead bolt lock. Place an old cell phone on a charger (they can still be used for 9-1-1 calls), flashlight, medical equipment and a defensive firearm in a (secured) quick access safe in a closet. Making these preparations in the room that you are most likely to go to in the event of a critical incident inside your home alleviates the need to move your kids through a potentially much more dangerous area in your home, it reduces the time it takes to be prepared to defend yourself and to get the police on the way. Taking this step also means that you don’t have to second guess your parental inclination to go to the kids immediately in an emergency. It also means you won’t be running through the house and into your child’s room with a gun in your hand during a high-stress moment. This approach fits in with everything that we know about taking a counter ambush approach to training and preparation to make things as easy as possible during a horrible situation.
Fundamentally, I suggest that the first two places you should consider staging a defensive firearm in your home are either where you spend most of your time or where you are planning to barricade in the event of an emergency. It should go without saying to any responsible firearms owner, but you must make sure that you are securing your firearm from any unauthorized access, including access by children not mature enough to handle firearms and that you must meet the requirements of your local laws in regards to firearms security. If you chose to secure your defensive firearm in the area you are likely to barricade (or have multiple firearms), choosing to use your kid’s room as the place that you will barricade your family in the hopes of remaining safe until the police arrive might not be a bad idea at all.