Your family are the most important people in your life, and you want to protect them from life’s many dangers. Some threats are obvious, like home invasions and natural disasters. Others are more insidious, like online harassment or contaminated water. Either way, you do what you must to keep your loved ones safe.
Here’s seven ways to protect your family, from threats you can resolve with a little foresight to situations that put you between your family and violence.
Make Your Home a Hard Target
Often, you can protect your family simply by presenting your home as a hard target. Burglars and home invaders don’t want to risk detection or risk confrontation—the main tactic of a home invasion is to swarm the homeowners, overcoming them with sudden violence. If those who wish your family harm think your home is too risky to attack, they’ll target someone else.
While no single strategy makes a home impregnable, you can do a lot to make criminals think twice about targeting you. Suggestions include:
- Keeping doors and windows locked
- Never opening doors to strangers
- Installing security lights around doors and carports
- Installing good quality deadbolt locks
- Trimming trees and shrubs to rob invaders of potential hiding places
- Locking up all yard tools that could be used to gain entrance to your home, including ladders.
Have an Escape Plan
Whether it’s fire, a home invasion, or a natural disaster, your family may need to get out of your home fast. Family members should have a plan to escape the house which includes a prearranged meeting place.
If You Own a Gun, Know How to Use It
Whether you choose to own a gun to protect your family is a personal choice. If you choose to bear arms, however, take steps to be properly training in the weapon’s use. An untrained person with a loaded gun is as much a threat to his family as he is to anyone threatening them. Train with your weapon regularly and ensure it is stored safely, especially if you have children.
Practice Situational Awareness
Situational awareness refers to a person’s awareness of what’s going on around them. Is that guy you passed on the street following you? Has something been moved in your home? What does the body language of the men approaching say about their motives?
Developing situation awareness takes practice, but with time can become one of your greatest assets when protecting your family. By spotting threats before they develop, you can take steps to defuse the situation, leave the area, or prepare yourself for action. Take a few seconds in any new situation, no matter how seemingly safe or routine, to take stock of your surroundings and you’ll quickly develop the habit.
Install a Water Filter
Not all threats to your family are visible. Water contaminated with microorganisms or chemicals can damage your family’s health, as happened when lead entered the drinking water in Flint, Michigan. Families using well water are especially at risk of waterborne contaminants, but as Flint shows us, no-one’s entirely safe.
Installing a good quality water filter will remove most potential contaminants from your drinking and cooking water. Choose a filter with ultraviolet treatment to reduce the risk of microorganic infection.
Check Your Home for Radon
As with water contaminants, radon is a silent threat to a family’s health. A naturally occurring radioactive element, radon gas can be found in all fifty states. The odorless, colorless gas seeps into homes from the earth and is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the United States.
A simple radon test kit will reveal if your home contains harmful amounts of radon. If the test is positive, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue.
Know When to Run When to Fight
This one’s hard to accept, but could one day save your family’s life. Know that sometimes the best way to protect your family is to run and seek help. Running is a recommended strategy in a home invasion. All members of the family should agree that if someone can get away—whoever it is—that person should run for help. Standing and fighting might feel like the right thing to do, but if you’re overpowered you’ve missed an opportunity to save your family. Few home invaders will hang around if they think the police are coming.
If you have to fight to protect your family, go all in. Buy them the time to get to safety. After all, they’re worth it.