September is National Preparedness Month, highlighting the importance of developing and implementing safety plans and strategies in the event of emergencies that pose dangers to your home and family. Building an emergency preparedness kit is an important step in ensuring you and your family have access to critical resources and supplies that may be scarce or unavailable in the event of a major weather or event of other catastrophe.
However, threats to your home exist well outside severe weather, and include incidents such as criminal activity like break-ins and burglaries.
NRA’s Refuse To Be A Victim program teaches tips and techniques to help alert individuals of dangerous situations and avoid becoming a victim. In preparing your home and family to survive in the event of natural disasters, it’s also a great opportunity to outfit your home and build plans to protect against other dangers. These tips provided by the Refuse To Be A Victim program can help bolster your efforts against these possible threats:
Inspect and upgrade locks
Review the locks on your home’s doors and windows, as these are the most common areas criminals gain access to a home.
Are your windows locked? If you only have the standard turn lock on your windows you may consider adding a locking pin or sensor alarm readily available at local hardware stores.
Consider adding extra deadbolts or sensor alarms to seldom used entry doors.
Make sure sliding glass doors feature an additional locking device.
Check the lighting around your home
Well-lit homes are less likely to be targeted by criminals. Ensure your home, particularly doors, windows and obscured areas, feature lighting.
Check your outdoor lighting to make sure bulbs aren’t burnt out, and that shrubbery or other obstructions aren’t creating dark spots or shadows.
Think about replacing your lights with low-cost photoelectric cells that automatically turn your lights on when it gets dark.
Consider adding motion sensor lights around your home or on long driveways for added security lighting.
Develop a home safety strategy
Plan ahead of time what you and other family members will do in the event of a break-in, fire or other emergency.
A vital part of such a plan is to set up a defensive core area in your home called a safe room. If you have children you should make your safe room their room. Don’t waste time by having to get your children and then go somewhere else.
After you have selected and equipped your safe room, determine the actions that you and the other members of the household should take in the event of an emergency. For example, one family member might be responsible for calling police while another person notifies the other family members to retreat to your safe room.
Practice your home safety plan and review it often. Evaluate your plan from time to time and make changes that you feel are appropriate.
Set up a safe room
Regardless of the steps you take to prevent someone from forcibly entering your home, illegal entries may occur. Be prepared by setting up a safe room.
Select a room. The doors to this room should be solid, such as hardwood or metal doors. Install quality deadbolt locks. Families with young children, infants or toddlers should make their room the safe room, as it is easier for adults to retreat to the children’s room rather than retrieve children from their room and into the adult’s room.
Have a telephone for calling the police. If possible, use a cell phone in your safe room. Criminals can disable landlines by cutting the phone line or taking one extension off the hook. Even old cell phones can still call 911 if they are charged. Remember to keep a phone charger in the room with the phone.
Bring a flashlight, as you may need a flashlight if the intruder has turned off power to your house. Ensure you have extra batteries or a fully charged rechargeable flashlight.
Store an extra set of house and car keys attached to a glow stick. If there is a window in your safe room, you may be able to throw the house keys to the responding police or even escape. Consider also keeping a small ladder or folding ladder in the room in the event of a fire.
These tips and more are available through NRA Refuse To Be A Victim seminars, which are held throughout the country. Join the more than 100,000 people who have developed safety strategies. Visit https://rtbav.nra.org for more information or to find a seminar near you!