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Home defense plan could save your life, Brevard sheriff says

If faced with home invasion, run, hide or fight, expert advises

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – No matter where you live, an armed home invasion is always a possibility, and according to Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, you need a home defense plan.

"The best law enforcement agencies in the country have response times in minutes," Ivey said. "A violent criminal can take your life in seconds."

Ivey recommends three options when faced with a home invasion: run, hide or fight.

"If running will save your life, then run," Ivey says, then asks: "Are you physically capable?"

The veteran law enforcement professional said you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and no matter what, know your plan. Ask yourself if you could you do it now, he says.

"The key comes down to whether it's a safe room, a firearm, pepper spray or Taser -- have you practiced with it?" Ivey said.

The Sheriff's Office offers an eight-hour training program called "Self Defense Through Tactical Shooting and Decision Making."

Ivey said he's a strong advocate of the Second Amendment, but buying a rifle or handgun doesn't mean that you know how to use it.

Ivey is also a strong advocate of a safe room.

He said not to think Hollywood -- think about a closet with no windows and a double-bolt door.

"The safe room has to be accommodating," Ivey said. "It has to have the tools you need to protect yourself, including access to a cellphone."

Rhonda Breault, a neighborhood watch captain in the Grand Isle subdivision, said she's convinced that residents in her community would be ready to handle a home invasion.

"The name of the game is we're trying to get them before they actually get inside of the house," Breault said.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office is one of several  police organizations offering free home security audits.

Cpl. Pam Hibbs, who heads up the effort in Brevard County, said residents can improve their home security inside and out at little to no cost.

"We go in and check their locks, their sliding glass doors, their windows and we give them easy pointers how to fix it," Hibbs said.