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What to Do During a Home Invasion

Learn how survive and defend against a home invasion.

Imagine being at home at night and hearing someone else inside your house. How do you react to this? What do you do? Having a home invasion occur while you are at home is extremely frightening. Unless you are professionally trained in self-defense, most people are generally not prepared for this type of situation. Your initial instinct will probably be to call the police or fight back, but there are many other steps you can take to ensure that you stay safe through this ordeal. Follow these tips on how you can prepare your home before a home invasion even happens and learn about what you can do during a home invasion.

Before An Invasion Occurs:

People never believe that a home invasion can happen to them so they do not take the appropriate measures to prepare for one. That sort of mentality can prove to be very dangerous, especially when an invasion does occur and they have no idea what to do. It is very important to have an emergency drill or escape plan prepared and have every member of the household be familiar with it. The following are tips for preparing you and your family before a home invasion occurs.

Don't open the door for strangers

No Strangers

  • Always check who is outside before opening the door
  • Do not allow them into your house or to use your phone
  • Home invaders often pose as salesman and home inspectors to earn trust and learn the interior of your home. Always ask for identification before letting them in.

Activate your alarm system

As obvious as this tip sounds, many households actually do not activate their home security systems due to false alarms. This should never be a reason to deactivate your system because when a real break in occurs, you want to make sure your alarm company is notified right away.

Prepare drills for emergency exits and escapes

Have commands/code words like ESCAPE followed by a location such as BACKYARD
Be familiar with every exit in the house
Have a rendezvous point such as a neighbor's home

Have a designated safe room prepared

Safe Room

  • Usually the master bedroom
  • Solid door, not hollow with multiple inward facing hinges
  • Add two deadbolt locks, one above and one below the doorknob
  • Peephole to see invaders outside
  • A weapon to protect yourself in case the invader gets in and tries to attack you (i.e. gun, bat, knife). Only use weapons as a method of escape
  • Cover in the safe room from gunfire, this can be a large bookcase. If necessary, can you shoot from that spot?
  • Fully charged cell phone to call the police; landlines can easily be cut from outside the house

Keep these items next to your bed so you have the means to protect yourself even if you are stuck in your bedroom during a break in:

Bedside Items

  • Car keys to allow easy access to an alarm
  • Pepper spray

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When the Intruder is in Your House:

No matter how much you prepare, an intruder can still manage to enter your house. In the situation where the intruder does not yet know where your location is, here are the best courses of action in protecting yourself:

Be very quiet and listen

How many people
How many intruders are there? Determine how many people you need to watch out for.
Where are they
Where are they located? Assess which escape routes will be the easiest to access.
Don't Give away location
Don't give away your location.

If you have a clear pathway to your safe room then go inside and securely lock the door


  • If not, go into the nearest room or nearest exit

If you are already in a room (not a safe room) and cannot leave without encountering the intruder

Stay in Room

  • Stay inside
  • Lock the room and barricade the door with large furniture and heavy objects
  • Do not leave your room with any weapons or flashlight, this can aggravate the intruder(s)

No matter what room you are in

Call Cops
Immediately call the cops
Stay on Line
Leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear everything
Don't Make Noise
Do not talk to the intruder or make any noise
Hide Location
Keep your location hidden
Trigger Alarm
Try to trigger your alarm system

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When Facing the Intruder:

The worse scenario that can occur during a home invasion is that you come face to face with the intruder. Under these circumstances, people will panic and act rashly instead of logically. It is very important that you do not make any sudden movements which can aggravate the intruder, and instead behave in a very calm manner. Here are some tips on what to do when you are facing an intruder.

  • Be calm and cooperative
  • Speak in a calm normal voice
  • Do not make any sudden movements
  • Hold your hands up to shoulder level
  • Avoid direct eye contact, intruders may become violent if they notice that you see their face
  • Always try to escape instead of fight
  • Only use pepper spray or weapons as a method of escape
  • Do not be aggressive unless you have no other choice
  • If you choose to fight, target the eyes, groin, or throat, and take the opportunity to escape when the intruder's guard is down

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What to Do During a Home Invasion Infographic

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