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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Home Invasion prt 2: Information for Writers with Personal Protection Specialist Rock Higgins


One of the things that I love and want to encourage is for readers and writers to ask questions and make this blog an interactive resource for writing your scene right. After Rock Higgins of V.I.P.A. Tactical and I wrote a blog about home invasion,  I received questions both on the blog and Twitter. So Rock and I are back for Part Two to address your queries. Home Invasion Prt 1 Blog Link

In a home invasion, why would your heroine (or you) want to have a land line? Won't a cell phone do the trick?

A landline telephone
A landline telephone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With a land line - 
* You know where it is - it won't be lost.
* You don't have to worry about it being
* You don't have to worry about the call being
* You don't have to worry about having enough
* The 911 operator will immediately know
   where you are and can get someone headed
   your way. So even if you dial and don't speak,
   help will  come.
* Your heroine should either have an extension
    in every room or have a cordless land line
    that you can move about with. Again here,
    check that your heroine gets reception in all
    areas of the home and that the phone always
    sits in its carriage and is on charge. Ha! When
    does that ever happen?

English: Apartment building in Sätra
English: Apartment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A house owner has a lot of options to secure the premises that may not be available to an apartment dweller. As a writer you need to decide just how savvy your heroine was when she signed her lease. This area is rife with plot twist opportunities. Everything from forethought in planning for an emergency to simply the lay out and general safety of the apartment building. 

Rock, can you talk about some of the ways to decrease the likelihood of becoming a target while living in an apartment? (And remember authors, simply reverse this advice to put your heroine into yet another terrible predicament.)

Rock Higgins, V.I.P.A. Tactical
Protection Specialist and Anti-terrorist Expert
Rock - 
Apartments, houses, mobile homes, it doesn't matter. You have to work with a plan for where you live. But as you asked about apartments we will stick to that. 

Security is all about ever decreasing circles, the more circles (obstacles) you can put between you and an enemy (will clarify that a some later time) the less likely you will be a target.

without knowing the specifics of the apartment or the building I will go over some general points.

There are two areas that need to be looked at:
* The apartment building itself
* The apartment from your point of view


Is the apartment block secure with:
* Electronic / key code / key for the apartment building entry door?
* Does the apartment block have a night porter / concierge / 
   security in main foyer?
* Is there CCTV (closed circuit TV - video security) on the
   apartment building front door / foyer / in lifts / on fire exits?
* What type and where are the fire escapes situated?
* What security procedures are in place from the building owners
   (should be checked prior to living there)

If the apartment block is open access with lifts (elevators) and stairs open to the public from the street -
* The first line of defense is already non-existent. 
* Threats can move directly from your apartment to the stairwells
   and lifts and to the street level.

English: Apartment block in Bogsätravagen stre...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


* Is the apartment front door outside on a
   walkway or inside in a corridor? 
* Not only good locks on the door, but one
   with no letter box
* If the threat is great, you can also get fire
   resistant doors and glass. 
* You can also get good door jams (floor
   bolts) that can be engaged at night.

Defend and secure or defend and escape are the two main objectives, not in that order as it depends on the tactical situation at that specific time. Bear in mind that defend may also mean going on the offensive.


* Is there a defensible room for all family members (Safe room)
   what you in the States call a Panic Room?
* Is the door to the safe room strong enough to withstand a
   battering, fire? What are the hinges like?
* How long can you stay in your safe room? 
* Your safe room also may have to be the one that you escape from
   - so fire escapes and fully opening windows for egress are a must.
* Remember it will be a room that is also used for everyday living,
   so packing it out with kit to survive for long periods is a no-no. 
* You are not going to be there that long before LE arrive 
   (emergency services). Again though, this depends on the situation
   at the time.
* Thinking about firearms, 
   `What are your walls like? 
   `What cover is available in your safe room?

English: Apartment Complex in Seoul
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If you are in a high rise block and living high up,
getting out of the apartment may be difficult especially if you only have a front door. Does your apartment have a rear or side door leading out?

For living on lower levels escaping out of windows to the ground may be easier if you are prepared. Do your windows open fully so an adult can get out?

If your fire escape is not at a rear or side window but down the hallway then the window may be your only option.

Now dropping from a second floor or higher may prove damaging when hitting the ground (obviously) so 
* Do you have a knotted climbing rope in place
   and secured?
* Can all family members climb down the rope, have you

As part of my job we carry a Rescuematic. 
Video Quick Study (2:14) Man deploying a Rescuematic.

*It is really used in case of fire but the idea is to get us out of the
* It is a wire harness that is secured to a wall and the weight of the
   person being lowered to the ground is countered to by internal 
* Only good for about 5 floors up but ideal in that situation.

Hope that covers some basics.
Amazon Link

Awesome, Rock. Thank you so much for that information.

Learn more about Rock and close protection HERE

You also can find more great information in Rock's book
Meditations of a Modern Warrior -

Linkedin - Paul 'Rock' Higgins CMAS, SAC Dip
Facebook - Paul 'Rock' Higgins CMAS, SAC dip
Website -

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DISCLAIMER - This is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right, presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way are we advocating any position or personal decision.
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