One of the most frightening situations you can ever experience is an intruder entering your house. Millions of dollars are spent each year by homeowners on solid wood doors, sturdy deadbolt locks, guard dogs, alarm systems and monitoring contracts, and firearms for self-defense.

While these precautions are important and should be considered, there is no substitute for awareness and an actual plan for survival should an intruder enter your home.

Here’s a basic outline of what to do if someone does break into your home while you are in the residence:

Have a Plan:

One of the most important elements to surviving a home invasion or intrusion is to have a plan. If you live with others it is important to discuss this plan and ensure that everyone knows what to do. When your heart is pounding you’re not going to want to figure something out on the fly – you need to rehearse.

Stay Quiet:

Don’t shout commands between you and other occupants in the house – this alerts an intruder to your presence. Instead, ensure that you and other members of the household are in a safe location – preferably behind a sturdy locked door.

Keep a Cell Phone Handy:

No matter where you are in your home, your cell phone should be near you. It is your lifeline to the authorities should you need to summon emergency services, and a phone that is sitting on its charger downstairs is of no use when an intruder enters during the night.

Remain Calm:

If an intruder enters your home and shows signs of aggression toward you or your loved ones, you have two choices – fight or flight. Flight involves locking yourself in a safe area and calling the authorities. If you do not have this option, you’ll need to stand up to the intruder. This is an area that requires preparation.

If you do own a gun, be prepared to use it in the event that a dangerous criminal has entered the home. Practice ahead of time, be proficient with your weapon, and mentally prepare yourself to use your weapon in defense of your loved ones.

If you do need to use your weapon in the home in reaction to a home invasion, make sure that you contact the police as soon as it is safe to do so. The first individual that calls it in is usually considered the “reporting party,” while the next one to do so is the suspect. Proper gun safety training and mentally preparing for this situation will help increase your odds of a positive outcome.