I’m typing this at 4:00 AM, hoping that my account of this “real-world” event that happened to me less than an hour ago might help our readers, listeners, and viewers avoid potentially deadly mistakes.
At 3:05 AM, an entry alarm was tripped at my residence, waking me, my wife, and my dog from a sound sleep. To be more precise, the blaring internal/external alarm awakened my dog, my wife, and me, in that order, which is essential to my story.
You would think that the unmistakable and ear-shattering alarm piercing the still night air and disturbing dogs and their owners a half-mile away would immediately be self-explanatory. Apparently, I needed a bit more tutoring. My wife had to “explain” it to me – twice – before I fully understood what was happening. I was in a deep sleep.
I later told my wife that mine is “the sleep of the righteous.” Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. It’s also lesson one. When abruptly awakened in the middle of the night, the time someone needs to become oriented to the events taking place is going to vary from person to person. Consider that precious seconds could be lost based on the length of time one needs to become fully aware of such events.
Once I understood what was happening, I grabbed my “go-to” home defense weapon and exited the bedroom to confront whatever threat was lurking within the walls of my home. I did so before making sure my wife had her gun at the ready, which was mistake number two.
For anyone playing along at home, I’ll stop numbering my mistakes from this point forward, as there are too many to count. To recap, however, I left the bedroom before I made sure my wife was secure with her weapon in the event something happened to me. She was, but that’s not the point. Additionally, we never discussed what each of us would or should do in such an event, nor did we “practice” for such an occurrence.
Next, I failed to identify the location of the perimeter breach. As I live in a relatively large house with many potential points of entry, I realized too late that I had absolutely no idea where I was going. Which door or window? What area of the house? Do you want fries with that? Okay, you get the idea.
However, my dog didn’t care. Lady passed me as I entered the main living area of my house and began conducting her own search. I watched her, knowing that she would lead me to any intruder. Still, it was a rookie mistake.
As the alarm was still blaring, my telephone began ringing. It was the alarm monitoring service calling to see if I needed the police dispatched. Instead of having my wife answer the call, I temporarily suspended my search and picked up the telephone. Hello? Go ahead – picture that scenario as you read this. I’ll wait.
What could possibly go wrong? At least the dispatcher didn’t laugh when I asked her to tell me the location of the breach. Can you repeat that? Sorry, it’s hard to hear you over the window-shaking alarm. The rear patio door? Wow, that’s on the opposite side of the house. I’ll be quite exposed as I make my way over there. Mercifully, she held on the line while I stealthily moved to that point of entry, not knowing what I would find. So, what did I find?
I found my well-armed wife and dog at the rear patio door along with the cause for the tripped alarm. Hi honey! Thankfully, it was not an intruder, but the result of a careless and avoidable error I made hours earlier. Once I learned that there was no threat, I silenced the alarm and returned to the phone to explain the situation with an embarrassed chuckle. They still wanted me to say the exact phrase preselected for events such as this, or they would dispatch the police. Yeah, about that… Would you like soup or salad with your meal?
I think you get the idea. I wrote this with the hopeful intent that anyone reading this will learn from my mistakes. Don’t wait until the middle of the night to speak with your wife and everyone in your house about their specific duties in such an instance. It’s also essential to establish a routine and practice routinely. It could save you unnecessary embarrassment, or perhaps your life or the life of a family member.
I’m reasonably sure we’ll be talking about this over a cup of coffee later today. I’m positive we will. I would urge each of you to do the same, considering the times in which we live.