I received so many comments and questions, I had to write more.
Most of us have a plan how to get out of the house in case of fire. How many of us have a plan on how to stay in the house safely in case of a break in? So you have a designated safe room where everyone knows to go to? Do the kids know what to do, or maybe the safe room is a child’s room, with the parent going to them? Do you have emergency supplies? Phone, cell phone, flashlight, house keys on a bright, substantial, keychain that you can lob out a window to the police so they can get in without breaking in the door? Bright to be seen, substantial, or heavy enough to get a good toss. A gun? Extra ammunition?
Do you know how to call the police? If using a cell phone, you will probably need to give them your address, is it written down nearby? We all forget the craziest things under stress. I only have one child and I still messed up her name when I got flustered. Give the police dispatcher as much information as possible and stay on the line with them. Tell them you are armed, where you are, how many of you there are, if there are any pets in the home, describe yourself and family members, tell them why you think someone is in your home and where they might be. Remember this is all being recorded. If you hear someone approaching your safe room yell out in your best authoritative voice; “Stop, I have called the police. I have a gun. Leave now!”. There are three likely outcomes. They may run away. They may keep coming, in which case you warn them again if there is time but you need to defend your family. (Disclaimer, this is not to be taken as legal advice, the outcome of a personal defense shooting can vary substantially by state.) The third possibility is you will hear a response yelled back by a familiar voice, something like “Mom, it’s me, don’t shoot” from the teenager sneaking in late.
What about cover in your safe room? A standard interior door provides concealment but not cover. Concealment hides you from view, cover protects you from shots fired in your direction. Where are your family members? Hopefully, not directly behind you! They should be low to the floor, behind cover if possible, and not in your direct line of fire. What is on the other side of the door? Is that a safe direction to shoot? If you are in a condo, probably not, in which case you will really have to think through your plan.
There are a lot of things to consider. Once you have a plan, and worked out the details, you need to practice it to ensure the whole family knows where to go and what to do.
I hope you never need it, but if you do…you will be glad you thought it through.