You Are Your Own Safe Space

 

property-rightsGrant Cunningham, who’s one of the most-respected firearms trainers out there today, had an interesting post last month about what really keeps us safe:

With such limited application, there is no way the gun can really keep you safe — it’s all the other stuff you do that keeps you safe; the gun simply gives you a way out when things go horrendously bad. The gun has often been compared to a fire extinguisher: does a fire extinguisher prevent fires? Of course not. It’s just a tool to allow immediate response in case one breaks out.

Preventing fires in and around your residence is pretty easy. We all recognize the iconic image of Smokey the Bear and his message about putting out campfires and we know not to let our kids play with matches. When my oldest was in Boy Scouts, we drew up a fire escape plan for our house, and then we — out of all the families in the pack — also drew up a home invasion plan that laid out where our safe room was and what he and the rest of the family should do if a there was a “bad guy” (Or guys. Or gals.) in the house.

I was fairly surprised that I, out of the dozen parents there, was the only one who had drawn up a home invasion plan. What are the chances of a deadly home fire versus the chances of a deadly home invasion? If you live in the Phoenix area, as we did at the time, you got used to hearing stories on the news every week about deadly home invasions. Deadly house fires, however, didn’t happen all that often.

Securing your home from burglary or home invasion is not that difficult. The three things to keep in mind are:

  1. Secure the exterior
  2. Strengthen the interior
  3. Prepare a refuge

Secure the Exterior

You know that old joke about the two hikers running from a bear and the one turns to the other and says “I don’t have to run faster than the bear, I just have to run faster than you!”? That’s what the outside of your house should look like. You don’t have to live in Fort Knox to be safe, you just have to make your home appear just a little more difficult to break into than the home next door.

If someone really wants to get into your house, they’re going to to get in, but any casual burglar is going to look for the easy mark and not the bank vault. A yapping dog, a decorative security door, or even a low-rising, thorny decorative plant under your window will help convince the bad guys to look elsewhere. One new gadget that I really, really like is the internet-enabled door bells, like this one from Ring, which allow you see who’s on your front pouch from anywhere in the house or anywhere in the world.

Strengthen the Interior 

So the bad guy hasn’t gotten the hint from what you did to the outside of your home and has decided to enter your abode with malice on his mind. Check with a lawyer in your state, but this usually means that the castle doctrine comes into play* and your life is in danger. Proceed accordingly. Get a burglar alarm with perimeter sensors that includes a panic button that calls the police for you when you don’t have time to press digits on your phone. You can also make the inside (and outside) of your home more secure by replacing the short screws holding your doors in place with longer, more robust screws that go deeper into the frame.

Prepare a Refuge

Welcome to the worst day of your life. At this point, there is a real and present danger to your life and the lives of your loved ones, and you need to get to safety. Walk through your home and find a room that the entire family can quickly get to in a time of danger, then prepare that room to be the place where you’ll defend their lives. Replace the lock and hinge screws on the door with stronger screws that go deeper into the jamb, or replace the door altogether with something more robust. Have a flashlight and first aid kit here, along with an old cell phone plugged into the wall to call for help. Consider storing a dedicated self-defense gun in this room. Your safe room should be somewhere in your home that you can get to quicker than someone who’s just broken into your home, and is a place where you will wait until more help arrives. Everything in my house is replaceable, except for my family so — unless I know they’re in danger — I’m waiting for help to arrive in my safe room, rather than searching through my house where I might encounter trouble.

I realize this is sobering stuff, but it can happen to anyone. We accept the fact that our homes may catch fire, so we should also realize our homes might be targeted for violence and plan accordingly. Accidents (and crime) happen: It’s what we do to prepare for them that determines a successful outcome.

* I am not a doctor, lawyer nor an Indian chief, but I do dig that crazy beat.

Published in Guns
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There are 9 comments.

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  1. ConservativeFred Member
    ConservativeFred
    @

    Mr. Creighton,

    Thank you for these posts.  This is great advice, and makes me re-think our plans.

    • #1
  2. Wiley Inactive
    Wiley
    @Wiley

    Stealth is sometimes better than strength. We did a safe room that is concealed (its a secret door, so don’t tell anyone). But to give us time to get there, the house has two barriers to breach upon entry. Beyond the easily broken into, but nice looking glass front door, is a heavy duty door closed only at night and when away. That provides a lot of extra time and notification should the front door get broken and then the intruder is stopped at the second. For many, it also might be easier to add a second interior door, than to try to replace and retrim the existing exterior door.

    • #2
  3. Wiley Inactive
    Wiley
    @Wiley

    As for Wifi based security. I think it is only a matter of time before the bad guys can buy handhelds from Amazon, that allows them to view your Wifi security cameras before they attempt an entry. The government already has this ability.

    • #3
  4. Wiley Inactive
    Wiley
    @Wiley

    Forgot to add, good post.

    • #4
  5. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Another excellent post about safety.

    The drug-addled gangsters in my locale are the likely threat, and they’re probably not going to hack into my camera system.  The real deterrent is simply the cameras in plain sight around my house, along with a couple of second amendment stickers and a few ADT signs.

    What I liked about this post is the talk of an internal security room, something I hadn’t really considered.  Going to now!

    • #5
  6. raycon and lindacon Inactive
    raycon and lindacon
    @rayconandlindacon

    Another thing about a safe room;  1/2″ drywall isn’t a barrier to most guns.  If practical, add another layer ow two if 5/8″ drywall.  Even if the bad guy(s) can’t see you, serious mayhem can happen.

    • #6
  7. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    Tom Riehl: The drug-addled gangsters in my locale are the likely threat, and they’re probably not going to hack into my camera system.

    In the 10+ years we had a security system on my studio in central Phoenix, the only thing stolen was… the security cameras.

    The irony, it burns.

    • #7
  8. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Kevin Creighton:

    Tom Riehl: The drug-addled gangsters in my locale are the likely threat, and they’re probably not going to hack into my camera system.

    In the 10+ years we had a security system on my studio in central Phoenix, the only thing stolen was… the security cameras.

    The irony, it burns.

    That’s precious!  Thanks for sharing.

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I like the fire extinguisher analogy.  I’d add a comparison of how long it would take the fire department to get there to how long it would take the police to get there.

    • #9
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