Safe-Room “Cheatsheet”

4 04 2012

 Having a safe-room is vital to personal safety while inside the home but everyone reacts differently in different situations. This is why practice is important so evaluation of each person’s response and actions can be assessed and then “fine-tuned” to ensure 100% safety.


The Cheat Sheet in mention is something as simple as a 3×5 recipe card with useful information. Well, what sort of useful information would need to be on this card? Good question but a better question to start would be “Why would I need a card in my safe-room?”. Keep reading…

Why would someone need a cheat sheet/recipe card in their safe room? Because, when there is an emergency at hand, such as a fire or worse: someone trying to invade the home violently, each person will react differently but there is a good chance that even those that react effectively, could have premature memory loss when trying to answer 911 operator’s questions. Because of this probable memory loss during a traumatic occurrence, it is important to have a cheat sheet present to be able to read off the information.

Another reason: What if you, as the adult, are busy trying to keep an invader on the other side of the safe-room door and your child(ren) must work the phone and talk to the operator? Young children can also become so scared that they forget information as well. Having a cheat sheet allows the occupants the ability to read off the pertinent address and name information and that information is enough to allow the operator the time to get the police or emergency vehicles to your location.

The things to write on the cheat sheet:
-Name (Last names)
-Phone number
-(If child is talking on the phone): What they see
-Where occupants are located in the home
-Direction to help the police out (“go to the back of the home and we can drop a spare key down to you so you can enter from the back door because the bad guys are in the front living room”)

This cheat sheet is small and can fit in the sock drawer or night table drawer to be easily accessed if it was needed. The cheat sheet takes very little time to fill out and can save you from going “blank” during an emergency. Operators do not like charades and threats bank on the fact that, just by them being present inside the home, they occupant’s would be scared enough to remain hidden or locked away hoping it “all goes away”.

Be prepared now and create your cheat sheet. This could save you later on down the road of life. Be safe and be prepared.


Am amazed

30 03 2012
Neighbourhood Watch

Neighbourhood Watch

I am absolutely amazed whenever I watch the news in the morning and see home invasions, burglaries and assaults occur…..and I am not amazed that those occur, I am amazed at the responses from the victims. I have seen victims that scream and yell about how the police are supposed to help them and keep them safe, some say it is the responsibility of the law to provide security for the public while they are at their home and many many more laughable excuses.

I have yet to see someone that has been interviewed about a crime that occurred to them where the victim says “it really was my fault, I was not aware of my surroundings and I left my front door unlocked and curtains wide open. No wonder someone walked in and took my stuff”. I don’t think we ever will hear that come out of someones mouth. Sad. So very sad.

There are so many ways to avoid becoming the victim and education is the leading cure of ImGonnaCryInsteadOfBeingProactive-itis. That is a deadly disease that is seemingly running wild in today’s society. Some people are proactive about their own safety and those people are less likely to be placed into a situation that they were not prepared for. We cannot think up every solution to every possibility without going insane but we sure can think about obvious situations and how we would avoid those contacts, areas or situations.

Something simple as understanding how everyone thinks:
-I’m in my home so I am safe
-I am in my home and no one has the right to enter uninvited
-I am home so I have a sense of security
-This is a nice neighborhood
-Nothing ever happens around here
-This neighborhood has a neighborhood watch, so we are good to go

If you are sitting in your home, night or day, you will have a sense of security and safety because it is your home and we (all of us) ASSUME that we are safe because it is our home. This is what threats prey on.

Here is something that is a great first step for anyone, in any home:
Shut/draw your curtains when the sun goes down. During the day, you could stand inside your living room and look out upon people walking by and chances are you will not be seen if those people were to look at your home. Why? Because it is bright outside and darker inside.

On the flip side: if you were inside the home with the lights on and it is dark outside, you would not be able to see out of the windows well or if at all because of the light inside. But on the outside, anyone walking by would be able to see inside quite well. If you have nice stuff or anything of value, well…they may think that they deserve it more than you.

This is a simple step that could help you out or…..continue to live thinking that something bad could not possibly happen to you and then be prepared to become scared and paranoid for the remainder of your life if you do become a victim of a crime. Once it happens you cannot erase that event.

Click here to open the Smart Tactics website: –>Be Safe

When to take it seriously

28 03 2012

When to take it seriously

Most of us, if not all of us, has at one time or another thought something was “not right” or “very wrong” dealing with an event that happened to someone or something else…but then did nothing to ensure that “something” did not happen to us. Some still live like that currently while others do the minimum to secure their safety.

Example: A neighbor of yours gets their home broken into. You may have empathy towards the situation and you may even say things such as “I told them to lock their doors” or “they always leave that garage door open, I bet they will learn this time” or even “thank goodness it was not us”. But do you install security lights? Better locks on your doors? Do a home assessment? Nope. Most just hope that it does not happen to them.

When do you take it seriously? When your door is being kicked in by 3 armed individuals that want to hurt you? When the front door is being beaten down while your back window is being shattered? How about when you are peeking out your window at 2AM and see 4 individuals sneaking up and around your home carrying bats, knives and firearms?

If that is when you take it seriously, then you have already lost and it is only a matter of time before it comes to your home!

Events happen around us constantly and we are forced to hear about those events from different venues: TV, newspapers, coworkers and the internet. Each time an event occurs that happens to kill individuals, hurt families and cause great loss of money and assets, people will watch and think “if that was me…..” or  “maybe I should….” But end up doing nothing. Why? Because it is NOT happening at their front door.

Stories on the news: Home Invasion, Burglaries, Robbery, Rape, Murder, Gang activity, Workplace Violence, Drunk driving and Assault. These stories occur every single day and most weeks it seems to be getting worse and occurring in the “better parts of the town”. Crime is not biased, it will happen everywhere and anywhere and criminals are opportunists. If you give them an opportunity, they will capitalize on it. They care nothing about you or your home, be aware of that first and foremost!

If your neighbor happened to get their car stolen, would you go out and get ONSTAR for your vehicle? If your cousin’s home burnt down, would you immediately purchase fire insurance? Should you? Hence the title of this article: When to take it seriously? The average person will listen, watch or talk about events but not take it seriously. Why? Because it was not happening to them.

We would all go broke if we tried to plan for everything that could happen to us in life, we also would go nuts if we had to think about all of the “what if’s” and “maybe’s” that exists, but can be proactive about our safety and the safety of our families while keeping costs to a minimum. Know what is happening around your home by using sites such as “” which will give you a daily update on events occurring around your home and neighborhood.

Most safety items cost:
-Security cameras: initial cost to purchase, install and if it is monitored by outside source.
-Security lights: initial cost to purchase, can be installed by owners and come with different options for power sources
-Alarms: installation, monitoring are associated costs but most Home Depots and Lowes will sell “Do it yourself” kits for home alarms that will only cost to purchase and that is the end of the cost. The “Do it yourself” kits also allow you to customize what you sensor in your home and how many sensors you may need.
-Motion sensors: initial purchase cost, can alert homeowner to anyone crossing the beam and does not require monitoring by outside source/business
-Egress ladder: initial cost only

No one knows when criminals are going to attempt a burglary or home invasion at their home but no one wants to spend their days worrying about when or if it could happen to them. We can all be safer inside and around our homes by being proactive about our own safety. There are many things that can be accomplished that can better our chances of surviving a home invasion or burglary:

Motion activated security lights: may have an initial cost but it has been proven that homes with motion sensor lights deter crime and anyone from approaching their home in fear of being seen.

Dogs: Home with dogs specifically are less likely to be burglarized because of the noise the dogs make and that the dogs are there protecting the home in the first place.

Locks: Having adequate locks on the doors can impede the progress of someone attempting to kick in the door expecting the locks to give out first.

Doors: Having reinforced doors for main entry points (front door, back door and Safe room door)

Window locks: having window locks are another great deterrent that will impede the progress of a burglar. If it takes a long time to gain access, it is less likely the burglar will take the chance.

Safety courses: There are numerous courses that exist that can give a household a better understanding about what they could do inside their own home to make it more secure. Courses such as:
-NRA Refuse to be a victim
-NRA Personal Protection inside the Home
-Smart Tactics Home Invasion Protection
-Smart Tactics Personal Protection
-Smart Tactics Neighborhood/Home Safety Plus safety seminars that cover specific topics. Is it worth your safety to attend a 1-2 hour seminar or maybe a 3 hour seminar for your safety?

Safety is the main concern because there are too many people that will go out and purchase a shotgun or pistol because there was a break-in at someone’s home in the neighborhood. They may have never fired a pistol or shotgun before but may think that they will be a “natural” if they ever had to use it against an intruder. This is a scary thought for many reasons:

1)Depending on the situation, if the homeowner were to fire at an intruder, the homeowner may go to jail and be in the “wrong”
2)If the homeowner is that “wrapped around the axle” about home security and the use of a firearm that they know nothing about, they could end up using that firearm with bullets or shells that can penetrate through their walls and into yours…or your children’s bedroom.

3)If startled, that homeowner could very well fire without thinking and hurt others inside their own home

4)If the homeowner purchases a firearm and does not seek the education on how to fire that firearm, they also may not know how to store that firearm. This could lead to improper stowage and access from the children that are curious inside that home or visiting.

With the amount of firearm businesses and instructors that exist in every State, there is no reason not to become educated with whichever firearm the homeowner desires, to include shotguns and rifles. Knowing more about the safety device you choose will make it more of an asset to you and possibly keep you out of jail and hopefully out of the morgue.

When do we take it serious? Now is the time to take it serious. Our safety is on us, no one else is going to look out for us except for us and we need to think about it and take it seriously. No one worried about losing their children in the past until criminals started to snatch children up from the streets and into vehicles and then safety was put in place to avoid such events. If education was given prior to that event, it could have saved lives…but how could anyone know?

We know what exists, maybe not everything that could happen but enough to arm ourselves with knowledge to avoid it. Becoming complacent inside our own homes and thinking “no one has the right to enter my home without my permission” will only make you a statistic and a victim. Be proactive about your own safety and the safety of your family and fix deficiencies you see that would allow access by a threat.

What can we do?
-Attend a safety course
-Assess your home
-Have a professional assess your home
-Attend a firearms safety course
-Use locks
-Know your home
-Have a safe room
-Practice scenarios with your family
-Know exit routes
-Have a safe haven
-Know your neighbors
-Remain proactive
-Take it seriously!

If you can think it up, a criminal has already done it. As long as you can think about it, you may be able to counter the action by ensuring your home is prepared to deter a home invasion, burglary or any other threatening or dangerous act. Preparing your children will also allow you to concentrate on events and safety steps that need to be taken to get everyone to safety and away from the threats or dangerous situation.

A motto of Smart Tactics is “It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it”. Having the education and not needing it is better than having some threatening event occur at your front door and you wishing you had the information needed to keep you safe along with your family.

A couple hours out of your life now spent becoming educated could be the reason you have a healthy, happy, safe life and provide a safer existence to your family. Without that education and without being proactive about your safety, you may end up on the news…and not in a story with a happy ending. Be safe, remain aware and attend a safety course today…it could save your tomorrow!

Communication during an attack at home

28 03 2012

Communication during an attack at home

During an attack would not be the time to be silent: screaming at the top of your lungs such phrases as “I have a gun”, “Help! Someone is breaking in” or “Call 911” may be enough of a deterrent to cause the attacker or invader to flee. Maybe not. If you remain silent then there is zero chance that a neighbor may hear you and call 911 for you. You want to have as many chances as possible.

Communication against the threat:

Tone: it is wise to command the phrases coming out of your mouth. If you sound skittish or unsure, the threat may take what you are saying and NOT believe them. Then they may call your bluff, and possibly win. Be commanding and be loud!

Commands: Using commands such as “I have a gun” will alert the threat that there may be a firearm in your vicinity. Once again, if you sound as if you are bluffing, that may anger the threat enough to cause them to charge into your location.  Using specific commands will work in your favor, especially when calling 911 (see below).

Communication during an attack can also pertain to your family:

If an attack is occurring (home invasion, burglary) it is important to get the family into the safe-room as quickly and safely as possible. Having key phrases (when it is practiced in that home) will allow the family members to respond to a familiar phrase and do exactly what they need to – despite how scared they may be.

Communication also includes the family’s speech back to each other: if the father is preparing for the attack in the safe-room, chances are he would be next to the door (never in front of it), this would be where the child or wife informs the father that they are talking to 911 at that point in time. The family member on the phone would also update the father on everything the 911 operator has to say such as where the police are, if they are on their way and so forth.

Communication while 911 is on the phone:

This may be vital in some cases: with 911 on the phone while an event is taking place, the operator is recording the entire conversation and everything in the background. In the event a firearm is present in the home, a very loud and commanding call to the threat, while 911 is on the phone, would be that there is a firearm in the home and it will be used if they do not leave!

By repeating to the threat(s) that you do have a firearm and that you WILL use it, you are also being recorded through the phone and that does show that you are trying to warn the threats that you are prepared to defend the safety and wellbeing of your family if it comes to it.

This is not the end-all-be-all but it can help you. There are too many cases where someone was shot while invading a home and that person sued the homeowners for shooting them (while they were breaking into the home to cause the family harm at that!) and won their case. This is sad.

It you own a firearm for home protection it would be wise to ask yourself this question:

“Would I use this if someone were threatening my family or my health?” if the answer is NO, then you may want to choose other options such as a guard dog of decent size. Some people would answer that question quickly with a “yes they would” but no one truly knows how they would react in that situation until they are in it themselves.

If the family is separated it may be wise to have other means to communicate to not alert the threat that other members of the family are hiding somewhere separate. Cell phones are usually a big part of the household and codeword’s could be used to signify safety such as sending a text “We made it to the neighbor’s house” which could mean that they are safe. If a threat were to get that phone, then they would know the police are going to be called.

There are numerous options but if scenarios are not practiced, no one would know how they could react, what other options they may have to think about or where they should go in an emergency. It is always wise to practice the simple emergencies and work upward from there.

Always practice scenarios safely and slowly until proficiency of reaction increases.

Know your home

28 03 2012

Know your home

Although it may sound silly to say, knowing your home means more than to just acknowledge its existence. In other words, if there were to be an emergency in your home, could you safely and effectively get your family to safety? Could you egress safely? Do you have a secondary meeting place? Do you have a “neighbor safe-haven”(1)?

Knowing your home also means from different areas of your home: -What if you were in the living room and someone were to break your kitchen window trying to enter into your home? What is your next move from there?

Since each home is different, there is no “one” answer to any of those questions, hence “knowing your home”! If you know you home you would have an idea about where you would want to egress towards, how to gather the family, how to safeguard the family and the next avenue of action.

Since most people will freeze during a traumatic occurrence, it is wise to practice certain scenarios in your own home to see how long it takes you to: get the family together, get into the safe-room safely, and egress from the home or separate actions of escape. If you practice certain scenarios you will create a “memory” of the action which, in turn, may give you the upper hand and allow you and your family a safe escape

*Whenever you practice any scenarios, safety should always be first! Remember: a scenario being practiced is not reality, take your time and ensure no one gets hurt while practicing the scenarios. Speed will come with repetition and repetition will finite your actions! Be safe!

It is recommended to know the layout of the home and what to do if your original destination point is obstructed by a threat or fire or any other emergency situation. Where do you go from there? What are your options? What should the family do?

These are all important questions to answer in order to keep everyone safe inside the home.

Part of scenario practicing is “thinking outside of the box”. This means to incorporate the “what if’s” into the scenario practice. EXAMPLE: I am in the living room, my wife is in the dining room and someone tries to kick in the front door: –I immediately direct my wife to call 911 -My wife is already heading into the spare bedroom (our primary safe-room) –I run directly towards the primary safe-room

If my wife accidentally locks the door out of fear: I run into the secondary safe-room while I inform my wife that I am safe and inside the safe-room.

At this point, my wife is on the phone with 911 and informing them of the situation and all of the pertinent details of the emergency. She will also inform the operator that I am in the secondary safe-room and where that is located. She would keep the operator on the phone while the emergency is taking place and will not open the door until I give her the “safety word/phrase”.

By knowing my home and ensuring my wife is familiar with the layout and emergency routine, we can safely get to the safe-room to avoid the threat(s) or emergency situation. By practicing for this situation prior to it occurring, we know the path that needs to be taken, we know the secondary route to take in case there is an obstruction and we know what the next step would be from that point.

**Always be careful while practicing scenarios, especially if egress is incorporated into the scenario. Always maintain control of the scenario and bring honesty to the critiques. Practice may not make perfect but it will give you better odds against a threat or home invasion.

(1)Safe-haven is a location where someone will be safe/feel safe and free from harm. Is can be a store, neighbor’s house, shed, another family member’s home, etc.

(C) Smart Tactics LLC, All Rights Reserved.

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