Most of us practice situational awareness on a daily basis but those habits shouldn't stop at your front door!
A ton of articles and videos have been written and made about situational awareness as a whole: how to see your surroundings, how to spot a threat, how to be prepared for an encounter, how to see it coming, etc. And most of them are full of great advice, like not checking your phone while walking across the dark parking lot at night, watching people’s hands and nervous behavior, checking around the perimeter of your car before getting in or out to make sure nobody is lying in wait and many others. Those are all really good bits of advice that can help you avoid sticky situations or at the very least prepare for the unavoidable ones when you’re out and about.
But what about at home? Are there any unique situations that might arise while you’re in the safety of your own house?
There certainly are and aside from bolstering your home defense plan, here are a few other steps to head them off!
First, let’s talk about potential threats at home. Obviously, the armed dude busting through the front door in the middle of the night is the most commonly considered scenario. Smart home devices can help alert you to more stealthy break-ins but a lot of us also keep a gun by the bed to be prepared if that “bump in the night” decides to visit our home at 2 am.
I put mine in a CrossBreed Bedside Backup so it’s instantly accessible. If you’re a half-decent tactician, you’ve probably scoped out a plan should the Boogieman show up and threaten your family. That’s good, but it’s only a start - there are other areas of your home that may be vulnerable and everyday activities that tend to dull situational awareness.
When working from home, as more and more people have been in the past years and especially in 2020, think about your office setup. I cringe when I see desks in front of windows with a chair in between. Seriously, think about it. Is your office set up so you can see potential threats? If possible, position your desk so you can see not only the entrance to your home office but also out the door or window, ideally both.
Ideally, you want to see a threat as soon as it's visible to give yourself more time to react and hopefully, the upper hand. Yeah, I know, the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office faces the other way, but the windows are also ballistic rated with Secret Service agents swarming the grounds and building. I doubt you have that kind of security but there are ways to work with what you've got.
I also keep a Modular Holster mounted under my desk next to my right leg with a Velcro Soft Loop Panel to ensure I always have a firearm close by anytime I may be puttering around on work.
One of the most common places for attacks is the garage. You raise the door, head toward the car, and BAM! Here comes a guy with a club or gun and worse yet - you’re trapped because he is between you and the closest exit. If you have an electric door, chances are the button is near the inside house door. When you push the button, wait for the door to go all the way up before moving toward it. Often times, criminals will jump into the garage as soon as the door begins to rise or close in order to catch you off guard.
Standing by the inside door gives you the option to retreat into the house and lock the door behind you, but you have to have situational awareness. If no attack comes, then after the door is up, scan the area to be sure nobody snuck in on the other side of the car. Once you are in the car, continue to watch around you, including in your mirrors. You are in a very vulnerable spot where an attacker could trap you inside your vehicle.
Unloading groceries from the trunk of your car can also put you in a vulnerable position if you aren't situationally aware of your surroundings. If you can't back into your garage to unload your trunk while maintaining a good view of your driveway, make sure you keep your head on a swivel as you're reaching into the trunk or back seats.
Ah, summertime! There’s nothing like the accomplishment of looking back on a sharp-looking yard after mowing and landscaping. But while you’re outside, a bad guy could be, too. It’s easy to get trapped in our own little world by the mundane task of cutting stripes across your yard or pulling weeds but these mundane tasks can lull you into tunnel vision, leaving you highly vulnerable.
It’s just as important to keep your head on a swivel and maintain situational awareness in the front yard as it is anywhere else. Even if you live in a “good part of town where nothing ever happens,” trouble can find you at any time. Think about how often you’ve seen a police chase on television where the bad guy ditches his car on the major thoroughfare and takes off on foot through a neighborhood. He’s on the run and desperate. Don’t get so caught up listening to music or a great audiobook while you mow that you don’t see him coming. And carry a gun in a belly band under your favorite mowing shirt, just in case.
While it’s nice to feel safe and secure at home, away from the dangers of the rest of the world, we must remember that homes and the people inside them get attacked all the time. In order to protect your home, maintain situational awareness to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Is there something you do that bolsters your home security? Are there any tips or tricks you would recommend others start doing? Share them in the comments below, we want to hear from you!
David Workman is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. In addition to being an NRA-certified RSO, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as you possibly can. “Real life shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”
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