Waking up to see a shadowy figure in your bedroom is what nightmares are made of, but what happens if you hear a noise in another part of your home? This is a terrifying situation, as you never really know what is making the noise, or what their intentions are. Should you go check it out? Our first rule is to seek escape. Real life is not like the movies where the hero bravely fights off the villain with a baseball bat in the kitchen. If you can, quietly sneak out, get to your neighbors and call the police. You can never be sure how violently the intruder will react if you confront them, and you have no idea what they are armed with. If escape isn't an option, head to your safe room, turn off the lights, call the cops and do your best to stay hidden from the intruder until the police arrive. But what happens if hiding isn't an option? If you have a family, suddenly you're not just thinking of your own safety, but also that of your partner and kids. First, grab your keys and hit the panic button on your car alarm. This will alert the intruder that their presence has been identified, and the alarm will draw the attention of your neighbors. Hopefully this is enough to encourage them to take off. If not, and you have no choice but to take action before the police arrive, here's how to clear your home. I need to reiterate this here. Hiding is your best option. Clearing your home by yourself presents a massive risk, that you will be shot, wounded or grievously hurt. Trained police officers usually require two people (at a minimum) to perform this operation, but it's unlikely you have someone on hand to help when you think someone is in your house at 2am. If I couldn't run or hide, here's what I would do.
Clearing your home
Grab a firearm and a flashlight. Quickly check the gun is cocked and loaded, with a round in the chamber and ready to fire. Only use your flashlight to identify the person before firing, using the ambient light in your house instead to maneuver so you can stay as camouflaged as possible. As you leave your bedroom, stick close to the walls on either side of the hallway. This reduces the outline you make, and makes you less of a target than if you walk down the center. Technically, you should investigate every room that you pass, but in a real-life situation where you need to check on your kids, I'd personally head towards their rooms first. Before opening any doors, hug the gun close to your body, bending your elbow at a 90 degree angle to ensure you can stay in control of your firearm should the intruder make a grab for it. Never stand in the doorway, and use the hand not holding the gun to quickly open the door before stepping back tight against the wall. From where you are you will not be able to see the entire room, but you can ‘slice the pie’ and take small steps from left to right to slowly clear the room. Lean out as you do this so your body remains hidden and make sure the first thing the intruder sees is the muzzle of your gun. Once you're sure nothing is wrong, and you've scanned each place an intruder may hide, step through the doorway and to the side, checking back over your shoulder to confirm no one is hiding behind you. Rapidly check all the places that may conceal a person, and once you're sure the room is clear move on to the other sections in your house. With every corner or set of stairs, remember to ‘slice the pie’ so you don't create a silhouette an attacker can target. Systematically go through each room to clear it, and try not to lose your patience. This process takes time to do it right, but it's well worth doing properly if there is a chance there's an intruder hiding in your home. If you've got kids and would like to practice how well you can clear your home, tell them to run and hide and then come looking for them. The key is to see who identifies the other first. If they see you, you're dead. As you're slicing the pie for each room, get them to yell out the part of your body they first saw. You'll quickly learn how to slice the pie correctly, (gun first, with a lean to avoid risking any of your body parts), but of course never use a real gun for these practice sessions. The biggest wake-up call I found from this training with my wife was how many times she ‘killed’ me, before I had even seen her, and a couple of my survivalist friends had the same experience with their young kids. Clearing your home is tough, and should only ever be used as a last resort. Personally, I know that clearing my home myself isn't the best choice, because there is simply too much risk when you do it alone. If I have the choice I will take my wife and daughter and escape to my neighbors or our safe room, and wait for the police to come, but life doesn't always turn out how you plan it. After a few training sessions I now have a much greater understanding of what it takes to effectively clear my home, should I ever need to, as well as the confidence that comes with it. Intruders beware!