How to survive a home invasion

Police give advice on how to stay safe if a break-in occurs while you're home

APOPKA, Fla. – Most home robberies happen during the day when people aren't home, and usually, they're not random. But if it happened to you while you were home, would you know how to protect your family?

It's a question a News 6 producer started asking after someone tried to break into her home one night.

"My alarm just went off, and I'm nine months pregnant," she said on the 911 call she made that night. "I don't know what's going on."

[WEB EXTRA: County-by-county crime profiles]

That producer said she realized that besides calling 911, she had no idea what to do.

Luckily, everything turned out well, and the Apopka Police Department officers that responded said her husband did everything right.

So, what does doing everything right entail? News 6 teamed up with Apopka Police to find out.

"The best thing is to have a plan, stick to the plan you make and be prepared for things to change at a moment's notice," said Officer Ashely Eller.

Eller said that family plan needs to include a place you can safely hide with a phone so you can call police.

Then, make sure you follow dispatcher instructions.

"We need to know where you are, not only your physical address, but where you are in the residence," said Eller.

"We want to know how many people are in that residence with you, if you have any animals, because we need to know what we're responding to. If you have any firearms, or any other weapons you may be arming yourself with, we need to know about those things so we can protect ourselves as we approach."

If you're in a situation where you're afraid to speak out loud, dispatchers can still work with you.

"If you can't talk, they'll tell you, “'Do me a favor, press one number for yes and two numbers for no, whisper to me, tell me the things that you can see,'" said Eller.

She said a teen recently did a great job listening to their 911 dispatcher during a home invasion.

"Are you able to whisper to me what they were wearing in case they leave before we get there?" asked the dispatcher during that call.

"A gold hat and a pink shirt," said the teen.

"Both of them?" asked the dispatcher.

"Just one, can you guys please hurry?" said the teen.

"Be able to give good, accurate information, and maybe if there's a possibility of having a vantage point of where that person is in your house, being able to give us that information as well, so that we know what point of the house we need to be at to come and find you and get you and make you safe," said Eller.

If you need to make a decision and act before the police get there, Eller said most importantly, if you can escape -- do it.

"There's nothing in your house worth dying for, there's nothing in your house worth not being around for," she said. "You need to find a way to get out, to be able to get people there to get the problem solved."

If you are unable to escape, before someone makes it inside, consider making as much noise as possible.

About the Author:

Tara Evans is an executive producer and has been with News 6 since January 2013. She currently spearheads News 6 at Nine and specializes in stories with messages of inspiration, hope and that make a difference for people -- with a few hard-hitting investigations thrown in from time to time.