There was a posting on a local forum about an alarm that sounded in the middle of the night:
At 3:36am last night our house alarm went off…was surprised how quickly I arose from a deep sleep and sprung into action. First I turned off the alarm and then went for my handgun and flashlight. I opened my bedroom door and noticed that our 2 kids’ bedroom doors were closed (thinking they might have gone downstairs to the bathroom). My wife also woke up. I listened for noises but it was dead quiet . . .
I left the bedroom and peered down the staircase (saw nothing). Still no sounds. Surprisingly the alarm did not wake up our kids so my wife stayed watch upstairs as I made my way down the staircase (I would have rather stayed upstairs but knew that someone had to clear the house). I cautiously walked around, turning on lights, examining doors, windows, etc. until it I was convinced there wasn’t any threat. 2nd and 1st floors cleared; onto the basement.
I followed the same procedure and eventually issued the “all clear” to my wife who ventured downstairs to the 1st floor. A few minutes after going back to bed I realized that I never cleared MY KIDS ROOMS so I got up and peeked in them to confirm they were the only ones in their rooms.
We didn’t call the police because there never seemed like there was a real threat; had we heard sounds we would have. I also decided not to put on my body armor before going downstairs to clear the house. The other big fail was that our alarm company NEVER CALLED US. I called them this morning and confirmed that they never received the alarm from our house. I still have to call them to troubleshoot what went wrong. It’s still a mystery as to what triggered the alarm and why the alarm company never received our alarm…
The fact of the matter is that the poster’s response to the alarm was a great way to get himself killed if there had been an actual break-in. If a burglary occurs during hours when a homeowner is typically home, you have to assume the burglar is ready and willing to be violent. Otherwise, he would have broken in when he expected an empty house.
In the above case, if someone had actually broken in, the poster alerted the home invader to his response by shutting off the alarm. Best to leave it on and not let the varmint know what you’re doing. Once alerted, the burglar would probably hide and wait for the owner to approach. The tactic is best known as an ambush…you have no idea where they are, but they know — based on the layout of your home — where you’re coming from. Bad news for you.
Best to fortify your family in a safe room — any room the family knows to get to in an emergency– and defend it. In any emergency (other than fire), all family members should know to get to the designated safe room on their own. Obviously you will need to help any small children.
It’s a good idea to have a cell phone and a long gun stashed there. A cell phone is important in case the lines are cut or they simply remove the handset from the phone base. Use a handgun to get your family to the safe room and the long gun to defend it once you’re there.
The handgun allows a free hand to deal with family, doors and light switches. Once in the safe room, call the cops and wait. Advise the police to kick in the door, or drop a set of keys out the window and tell the dispatcher where they are. Keep the dispatcher on the line and advise him of any changes to the situation. He will let you know when the officers arrive and what to do.
NEVER search your home unless you need to get to a loved one in order to get them back to the safe room — you’re just walking into an ambush. When police search buildings, they send in teams, not single officers. Y0u might feel silly if there is no one there, but it beats the alternative if there is.