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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I have talked about what we'd do if our house alarm ever went off in the middle of the night and last night was the first time we got to put our preparations to the test.

Our blaring alarm jarred us from a dead sleep at 2:30 AM. I fumbled for my glasses and made sure that the wife and both dogs were still in the room and that they didn't accidentally set it off. I grabbed the 870HD from beside the bed and racked in a round from the tube.

I looked at our alarm panel and it was tripped by the motion detector in our dining room. No doors were opened anywhere, but there is a window in there that could provide access to a burglar.

Wife and I hunkered down behind the bed as it's the farthest spot from the locked bedroom door and waited for the alarm company to call.

It turned out that nothing was wrong and the cops think that a cobweb blew in front of the motion sensor and set it off. I guess we're going to have to be more careful about our dusting.

Some things I learned that I thought might be useful to share. Feel free to comment so perhaps we can all learn:

-- First and foremost, while some posts on here the last few weeks have bordered on a pro-police/anti-police debate in general and teetered on the point of needing moderation... I'm very thankful that the police are there. They put their lives on the line to come clear my house when my alarm goes off? Immense kudos to them.

-- I thought the cops showed up very quickly after being dispatched from the alarm company, but it takes the alarm company about two minutes to call us to confirm, we then have a short discussion, then they call the cops. The whole process was probably a total of 10-12 minutes from the time the alarm went off until the police arrived out front. I plan on telling all of my friends that don't own firearms how long those 12 minutes feel. I felt a lot better having a big dog barking by the door, an 870 in my hands, and my wife holding an XD. (In all fairness here, my adrenaline was pumping... so it could have been a total of 6 minutes or it could have been 15. Not precisely sure. The point is that a lot can happen in that time!)

-- The wife needs to practice with the 870! She's been putting off some shotgun range time for awhile now and I think this will help get her out there. After the police gave us the all-clear, we thanked them, they left, and I took the bedside XD and flashlight and cleared the house again. I trusted them... but knew I wouldn't be able to sleep until I saw everything myself. That left the wife with the 870 in the bedroom and even though we've gone over it before, she asked as I was leaving, "How does this thing work again?" Showed her the safety and how to cycle it. Maybe we need to leave her handgun out of the safe at night as well... but then that's two handguns and a shotgun. I might have thought that was overkill and would just be cumbersome before last night.

-- I've thought of this before, but haven't taken the time to do it. I need to put door keys on a glow stick that I can toss down to the arriving cops. Our bedroom window faces the driveway and front of the house. I (of course) would've been OK with it, but I'd hate to have to replace my front door after it's kicked down if they want to enter that way. Luckily this time, we gave the dispatcher our garage door code and they came in through that way. I don't know if cops prefer coming in through certain doors on certain houses or what? It's certainly not my place to tell them how to enter. Maybe they'd think I'm nuts telling them I'll throw down a key? Don't know. Any thoughts here?

-- On a similar note, I've thought about getting a door brace (probably something like this). Now I wonder if that's a good idea. I have some windows that would probably be preferred entry for a home invader (hence the motion detectors)... so would that impede police entry? Don't know.

-- We need to move the land phone. Always kept that phone and the cell phone on her side of the bed (away from the door) but somehow it got moved to my side of the bed (closer to the door) and I never thought twice about it. Once we hunkered down behind her side, she had to crawl over and get the phone when the alarm company called while I covered the door. Not terrible.. But not best.

-- I need to keep some pants next to the bed! After getting situated behind the bed, I threw on a shirt that was nearby... but all my pants were in the closet. Might be nice to have an old pair of jeans with a belt and holster permanently on within reach. Usually there's nothing outside the closet as I get yelled at for leaving things lay around. I haven't encountered police in just my boxers since my college days... but that's another story.

-- This isn't a frequent situation... but I was glad I was sober. Not very often, but sometimes, I'll tie one on with some friends during a ball game or something. I can't imagine waking up to our house alarm after partaking in a few too many. Something that made me think.

All in all, I'm just glad it was a false alarm and even that we had a chance to go through this and find out what needs improved.

Edit to Add Stuff I Forgot:

-- You know, this just hit me. We were planning to change the garage code right after work anyway... but I bet anyone with a scanner heard it last night.

-- The plan was to try and keep an eye on the alarm panel so that we can see which motion detectors get tripped and can hopefully somewhat track movement. Found out last night that once one gets tripped, it continuously blinks and the others don't light up until you push the reset button. Good to know.

--This made me start to think about what will happen when kids are in the picture. Our "Five Year Plan" says we'll be talking about starting our family in the next couple years. That will throw a whole new wrinkle into the picture. Do I cover the stairs while she gathers the kids and brings them back? Does she cover? Do we both run to their room and wait everything out? That option is probably not preferred since there won't be an alarm panel or a phone. Let alone we'd have to be carrying firearms, flashlights, etc.

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Interesting story. I have a toddler now and hopefully more on the way. I would love to hear parents' plans for keeping their children safe in a similar situation.

On the subject of alarms, I really want to install one, but my wife doesn't want us to spend the money.
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