January 5th, 2013 07:58 PM
Power outage and dog barking at 4AM
We had a bit of a scare last night. I awoke at 04:00 to the sound of our dog barking in her kennel, beeps (not alarm) from our alarm system, and almost total darkness and (aside from dog and alarm) silence. We quickly ascertained that the power was out.
One kid (2 y/o) was in bed with us because of bad dreams. The other (4 y/o) was in her room at the other end of the hallway. Immediately I got my carry gun out of the lockbox and grabbed my SureFire flashlight. I checked the hall and looked downstairs from outside our bedroom door, using only the ambient moonlight. I can see 70% of our downstairs from there. The dog calmed down when she saw me. I listened intently and watched for several minutes and heard and saw nothing.
I went to my daughter's room to check on her, and found her awake from the dog's barking. I tried to tell her to stay in her room and be quiet, but she wouldn't, she wanted to know what was going on. I heard my wife saying to send her over, so I did. I checked again from upstairs using the flashlight, and then cleared the rest of the house without event. The alarm was beeping to warn that AC power was off, it was on backup power.
Now, my wife had access to several other firearms during this time, but could not see a thing because the power was out. I already picked up some LED maglights today. We have some other takeaways from the incident, including some changes to our nighttime home invasion plans (didn't account for lack of power, kids in different rooms). Other than that, any additional thoughts or suggestions?
January 5th, 2013 10:29 PM
1. How long did it take for your power to come back on?
2. Do you think you in a god forbid future event, you'll scoop up your daughter immediately and get her back to your room?
January 5th, 2013 10:37 PM
Re: Power outage and dog barking at 4AM
Power came on about an hour and a half later. I think the dog was barking because she knew something funny was going on when the power went out, things went silent, and then battery back-ups started beeping. The dog barking is what put me in alert. If the power just went out I may not have noticed until morning. It appeared that the whole street at least was without power. I think it was due to high winds. I should add that earlier the power had flickered, because around midnight I got up to use the bathroom and the clocks were blinking 12:00, so I figured it was probably not foul play, but hard to know with the dog freaking out.
Originally Posted by ExaltedOne
The plan for next time is, if only one kid is in the room, and the coast is clear upstairs, to walk/send them to the master bedroom, where momma bear will guard the kids with a 12 gauge pump-action or my spare 1911. If both kids are there, or the safety of the hallway is more dubious, one of us will cross and guard them there. The ideal is to get everyone locked in the master bedroom, but as we learned last night, that can be difficult in this house.
January 5th, 2013 10:38 PM
We had a false alarm a few weeks ago. Great practice.
January 5th, 2013 10:41 PM
Re: Power outage and dog barking at 4AM
Indeed, it was a learning opportunity.
Originally Posted by daffyduc
January 5th, 2013 10:51 PM
A few thoughts -
- the dog barking demonstrates the value of an "organic" warning system
- I'm not sure from the narrative that you and mom have agreed on a "bump in the night" plan, but if you haven't, you need to
- kids will be kids, but you probably should have a chat with your older girl about staying put in her room when Mom or Dad tells her to. If that's not a productive path, then establish a default "run as fast as you can to Mom" plan for her.
- I'm a big fan of multi-story homes for the defensive advantage they provide, as your story demonstrates.
- If your wife is competent with firearms, then you need to re-evaluate her access to them when stuff happens. Sounds like she was caught short in this event.
- "Clearing the house" - I understand the need and desire to do this; been there myself. But in the "older and wiser" category, think about whether this is really an optimum solution if you really do have home invaders - emphasis on the plural.
- Among the 'tools' at hand, I would include a chunk of broom handle painted in day-glo orange with a front/rear door key tied to it, kept in your bedroom. If you're effectively trapped upstairs with invaders downstairs, being able to throw the rescuers a key from your upstairs window may give them a tactical edge, and may also save you the cost of replacing a broken-in door. This isn't high on the priority list, but in my last home with double-key deadbolts on all entry doors, I felt it worthwhile.
NRA Endowment Member
January 5th, 2013 10:59 PM
Re: Power outage and dog barking at 4AM
gasmitty: Thanks for the thoughts! A few responses - We had a plan but we now know it was not nuanced enough. Also it's a long story about the firearms. Briefly, we have simplex locks and my wife is not very spatial, she wanted a numeric combination. So I painted on big numbers below the buttons with a paint pen. She couldn't see them in the dark, so now we have spare flashlights. I was in such a hurry to get to my other daughter that I didn't think of it, but I should have just opened the box for her before leaving the room.
As to clearing, if I'd heard or seen anything the response would have been to call 911, secure the kids, and hunker down until the police arrived or we were forced to defend ourselves. After holding still for what seemed like forever, seeing and hearing nothing, and noticing that the dog was calm, I decided to clear the house so we could get some sleep. My wife suggested that next time I should let the dog out of the kennel and open the dog door, so that I could see what she did, if there was still something bothering her and where.
January 5th, 2013 11:00 PM
I think you handled it pretty well. You were prepared, and you took decisive action. With a young family like yours, you can't expect to have all of your loved ones in the same room at all times.
I think I'd alter your home defense plan so that the first thing you're going to do, after picking up your pistol and light, is go to your older child, and escort her back to the MBR, and the comfort/security of your wife. I don't know any 4 year old that wouldn't be scared at that point, and the best plan of action, IMHO is to alleviate that fear, by quickly and quietly taking her to your wife, prior to you going on to methodically clear the house. Your wife can keep the kids calm and quiet, and in one place.
This allows you to focus on whatever it is that caused you to awaken, without unnecessarily worrying about that child, and what she might do. I'd have the wife and kids down behind cover, maybe not in every case, but certainly if you knew someone had broken into your castle, just in case the boogie man got past you, so that Mom could take them out when they crossed the threshold into the MBR.
I'm retired now, so I don't leave the castle unprotected much these days, but back when I was working, and gone all the time, my wife (ex now) had firm instructions to gather the children, close the MBR door, dial 911 and shoot the door if/when someone tried to enter it. And her weapon of choice was a Remington 870 12 gauge. Don't wait for the BG to get into the room. Let the responding officers discover the bodies on the other side of the door whenever they arrive.
It's a good thing, these false alarms. Allows you to fine tune your plan, to protect your loved ones. Is there anything more important in this life? I think not.
Good job & stay safe.
" But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself... Baa." Col. Dave Grossman on Sheep and Sheepdogs.
January 5th, 2013 11:30 PM
An excellent strategy and that is our reason for having an 80lb fur-ball to sleep in daughter's bedroom, usually with her 2 kids as well.
Originally Posted by brocktice
...he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. Luke 22:36
USN/VET; NRA; GOA, jpfo.org
Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project www.irenasendler.com
January 6th, 2013 09:01 AM
You know your castle and your family far better than I.
You've had time to consider what happened, and how.
You've arrived at sound conclusions, you've received the benefit of wiser heads than my own.
I'd say carry on, sir, and well done!
"Deine Papieren bitte?" or "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ !"
(Choose only one)
NRA Endowment Member
"I bark at no man's bid. I will never come and go, and fetch and carry, at the whistle of the great man in the White House no matter who he is." -- David Crockett
January 6th, 2013 09:30 AM
You can arm chair quarter back and run all the home invasion scenarios through your head till the cows come home, but...
Until you're actually faced with the alarm going off at O-dark-thirty, you won't know where your short comings are. I wrote a post about my experience awhile back and what I learned and my short comings.
And heck NO! It's not good practice... It took five years off my life and at my age, I don't have another 5 years to spare
Ah, why not... I'll re-post my experience again for anyone interested in the long read. Note to self: Self, you were 59 when this occurred 1/2 a year ago, now your 65, calm down.
WOULDN'T EVER HAPPEN TO ME
The wife and I were deep asleep when this ear piercing sound woke us up. Coming out of such a deep sleep, it took me a moment to realize it was the wailing of our ADT burglar alarm. If any of you have an ADT system with that ear piercing whistling siren, you know what Iím talking about. You can't communicate in person without yelling, much less hear a phone ring or communicate on a telephone.
We have had this system for about a year and a half and have never had any false alarms. I was thinking of that and many other things as I grabbed my Remington 870 Express pump action 12 ga. Shotgun, loaded with 9 pellets of 00 buckshot leaning next to the chest of drawers. I quickly realized as I cautiously rounded the bedroom door the long gun is just too unwieldy for all the corners and configuration of my home. So I quickly back tracked and retrieved my Ruger SP101 .357 magnum revolver.
I had never practiced clearing my home in the event of a home invasion, as I envisioned we would retreat to the master bedroom, call 9-1-1 and stand our ground in the bedroom until the Sheriff's department arrived. Our children are grown and flew the coop, so no one should be here other than my wife and I.
Shaking hands and somewhat confused on what to do next, not being able to hear anything because of the ear-piercing siren, I decided the siren had to be turned off because it could not be tolerated for any length of time, and I couldn't hear to make a phone call. The single alarm control panel is located in the kitchen at the opposite end of the house. The siren is located on the hallway wall half way between our master bedroom and kitchen control panel.
As I slowly and carefully made my way down the hall while checking for intruders, the siren was actually hurting my ears, and my hands were shaking. We always keep a living room lamp light on so I did not grab my Surefire flashlight kept next to the revolver. After checking the living room, dining room and kitchen and seeing it was clear, I disabled the siren. What a head relief!
Fortunately having a pair of reading glasses near the alarm control panel I checked the code on the read out. Code 02, basement motion detector. This is where I always suspected to be the most logical place for a BG to enter. The motion detector immediately activates the alarm, not the 45 second count down for the windows and doors.
At that moment the telephone in the living room rings, we donít have a phone in the bedrooms. Iím certain itís ADT calling about the alarm. The wife had followed me down a few moments later.
The door leading to the basement has the standard doorknob lock, a dead bolt and one of those useless chain things with the tiny screws securing it. I told the wife to answer the phone as I am covering the basement door hoping no one will come barging through. The ADT person tells my wife, ďwe have received an alarm from your address, Code 02 basement motion detector, what is your password?Ē The wife is relaying this information to me as my eyes are trained on the basement door. Fortunately with the adrenaline dump and shaking hands I remembered the password.
The ADP person asked my wife, ďare you going to check the basement or do you want us to send the police?Ē I thought for a momentÖ The best course of action was to get the police here quick. She informed my wife they are calling. It was probably 4-5 minutes from the time the alarm went off until ADT called, assuming I immediately awoke when the alarm went off.
I have a police scanner sitting close to the alarm panel I seldom use and thought this was an opportune time to turn it on to monitor the Sheriffs progress. I live in EBFE and sure enough, the deputy sheriff called dispatch for directions to get here.
The dispatcher called and informed my wife that the deputy was here and unchaining my driveway gate. The deputy later informed me it was policy to call the homeowner before arrival for safety reasons (home owner with gun). It took roughly 30 minutes for the deputy to arrive.
While waiting for the police to arrive I happened to look at the clock, a few minutes after 3 A.M. Thinking to myself, from what Iíve read, two to three oíclock seems to be the prime time for home invasions. Like most other places, we have a county drug problem and allot of meth and crack heads.
Seeing the police car head lights driving up my 200+ yard driveway, I pondered what to do with my handgun. Put it away or keep it near and cover it with a towel or something. Since he was on scene I felt comfortable enough to take it back where it came from.
I didnít know if he would come to the front or back door so I turned on the front and back door lights and opened both the doors. He cautiously approached the back door and announced sheriffs department, sheriff's department and I made myself visible and told him to come in.
I gave him a brief description of what happened and the alarm code. He told me the first bit of good news was my gate was closed and chained when he arrived (no pad lock, just a clip).
He then cautiously opened the basement door with flashlight in hand, turned the basement light on and slowly started down the stairs. Iím thinking to myself, dude, you need to have your handgun drawn? Iím reasonably certain someone broke in and might still be there. But, Iím not about to say anything as he is the professional and is trained, itís my over active imagination probably.
After what seemed to be an hour, but probably only 4-5 minutes, I hear the officer coming up the steps. He was down there for quite some time. Now Iím really wondering where they broke in from and how much damage was done. He asks me a couple questions about my garage door, something about if it locks? The single car garage is separated from the basement with a flimsy hollow door and dead bolt that was not locked.
With great anticipation, he finally tells me everything looks secure and there was no break in. I canít tell you the relief my wife and I experienced at that news. It still took us a few hours to calm down before we could attempt to go back to bed as the sun was rising.
Before departing, the deputy complemented me on my Liberty safe in the basement and we talked a good ten minutes on what could have caused a motion detector false alarm and crime statistics in my county, etc. before he left. A good guy!
Lessons learned: While I am fortunate this was a false alarm and grateful for such, what if it was the real thing?
After the deputy departed, one of my first thoughts was, I need to get me a good alert / guard dog. But in retrospect that might not be a good thing. I had a good alert dog at my previous residence but has since passed away from old age. We had the same ADP alarm system and my wife burnt something in the oven and set off the smoke alarm. The dog went crazy yelping and running around from the high pitch loud noise. Seems to me that would be one more distraction to deal with in an emergency?
The shotgun is too unwieldy for me to use indoors with the configuration of my home. Guess Iíll put it back in the safe as it is a better outdoor defense gun, and I donít ďplanĒ on checking out or confronting anyone outdoors at night.
I have a phone jack in the bedroom. I need to get a phone for it because thatís the number the police will call upon arrival, the telephone number the ADT people call and give the police.
I have a set of electronic earmuffs in my range bag. Iím going to put them next to my home defense pistol. I wonder if they will muffle the ear piercing alarm? With the alarm off they do enhance your hearing significantly, which is an advantage.
Most importantly, I need to get some training and work on my mind set. Instead of trembling hands, I should have been pissed someone has the balls to break into my home.
For me anyway, seems my best laid plans went out the window when that alarm went off! It also a different story when itís daytime and youíre prepared and alert compared to at your most vulnerable, asleep in bed.
In retrospect, I would have preferred to retreat / remain in the bedroom and defend us from there until the police arrived. But I had not anticipated having to communicate with the siren noise and having to make my way to the kitchen alarm panel.
Prior to this incident my wife thought I was semi-paranoid keeping a self defense weapon close at all times in our home and my security measures. I think she now realizes in today's society it's not wise to get to secure or complacent even in the security of your own home.
I think, therefore I am...
January 6th, 2013 09:39 AM
I would have checked on the other kid first to make sure she was still in there just in case she was the one down stairs making the dog bark. Then I would have checked the other parts of the house.
January 6th, 2013 10:30 AM
Make sure you and the mrs. rehearse all your code words before you go out and leave an armed wife behind.
Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid...
"For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield
January 6th, 2013 10:43 AM
I would think that if you have children or other family members in other parts of your home, you are almost obligated to "clear the house" so that you can be sure of their safety. In my case it is only wife and I behind a locked and door-stopped bedroom door. As I have said many times, I will not leave the bedroom---everything in the other rooms is replaceable and insured---I am insured but not replaceable. Have at it until one of three things happen: 1) you gather up some stuff and take off 2) while gathering stuff the police should arrive in a timely fashion--possible but probably not and 3) your curiosity gets the best of you and you want to see what is behind Door #3--my bedroom door---you die and my only concern is replacement of door jam and bedroom carpet.
Originally Posted by gasmitty
January 6th, 2013 10:57 AM
Re: Power outage and dog barking at 4AM
Yes, she also suggested to me that we needed code words after this incident. I think she may be a better tactician than me!
Originally Posted by OldVet
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