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Home Defense | 9 Safety Tips For Answering Your Door



It is always better to be safe than sorry, which is why improving your home defense is utterly necessary. Read on to find out some safety tips for answering your door.

Home Defense | Don't Open That Door Just Yet

Sometimes, it is hard to be cautious yet polite when answering the front door. Many of us find it difficult to put safety first without feeling like we're being rude. But nowadays, we can't be too trusting because not all bad guys actually break into our houses. There are times they simply knock on our door, pretending to be someone else, and mask their evil intentions. So before opening the door, keep this home defense safety tips in your mind and be careful who you let into your home.


1. Think Before Answering the Door

Think Before Answering The Door | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
Before you answer the door, think if you are expecting anyone. Whether or not you are, ask the visitor to identify himself. Do not open the door immediately without asking them first who they are, particularly if you're home alone.

2. Don't Forget the Peephole

Don't Forget The Peephole | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
When you hear someone knocking on your door, it is always best to check the peep hole first before opening it. If you can't get a glimpse of the person knocking, you can use your window to take a peak. You'll be able to determine if it's a family member or a friend or it can also be a utility company vehicle.

3. Use Your Phone

Use Your Phone | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
When someone is looking for a particular family member, it would be best to take a picture of the visitor and send it to whoever needs to confirm. You can also just call them and ask if they are expecting a visitor and if they know who the person is.

4. Install a Chain Lock

Install A Chain Lock | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
Being able to crack the door open without unchaining your lock is a great security feature. This is also useful if you need to grab something small from someone without the need to unlock the door.

5. Make a Phone Call

Make A Phone Call | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
Call whoever your visitor says they represent to ensure they did send someone out to your home. If it is a repair guy, look for the number of their office in the phone book or search the internet yourself. Do not just simply call the number the visitor gave you.

6. Keep Home Defense Weapons Handy

Keep Home Defense Weapons Handy | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
Keep emergency weapons around just in case something bad happens. Place them close to you or some place easy to reach, especially at night. It's a last resort, but having a weapon nearby can spell the difference between life and death. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

7. Don't Brush Off Your Gut Feeling

Don't Brush Off Your Gut Feeling | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
If you feel like something is wrong, there's probably something wrong. Go with your gut! Do not ignore your “gut feeling” because it can save your life. It is an unspoken part of situational awareness.

8. Don't Be Afraid to Reschedule

Don't Be Afraid to Reschedule | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
On the occasion that you cannot verify the visitor's identity, reschedule their appointment on a later date. This will give you time to check on them and to ensure you know who they are before allowing them inside your home.

9. Educate to Keep Your Family Safe

Educate to Keep Your Family Safe | Home Defense | Safety Tips For Answering Your Door
Educate every member of your household on these practices to keep the whole family safe. Stay cautious and teach your family to do the same. Knowing the best safety practices when someone knocks on your door can help you have a more secure and happy home.


Home defense is more than just having a firearm with you. Watch this video from James Yeager and learn more about home burglaries and defense!

Nowadays, we can't always be so trusting. We no longer have the luxury of simply believing a stranger's word without questioning first. With home invasions happening all over, you have to be extra sure before letting a visitor in. Taking these steps to ensure your safety is necessary especially if you are home alone. Precaution is key when approaching a visitor at your door. Stay safe!

Do you know other home defense tips in mind? We would like to hear from you. You can drop your two cents in the comments below! 

UP NEXT: 20 Home Security and Crime Prevention Secrets

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  1. Michael W. Perry

    March 14, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    The slide slot in that chain lock should run horizontal and be placed so that it just barely possible to slip the slider out when the door is closed and not possible if the door is opened even slightly. Otherwise, it’s quite easy to defeat quietly in the middle of the night.

    –Michael W. Perry, My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer

    • matrix639

      March 21, 2015 at 1:45 AM

      Slide chains are easy to defeat in several ways, brute force being the easiest. Have you looked at the tiny 3/4″ screws that come with them?

  2. Jim Schelper

    March 14, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    #1 Invest in a GOOD storm door that is lockable. #2 I picked up a unique peephole made by Gatehouse at Lowes that projects an image onto its screen large enough to see who’s at the door with you several feet away from screen. Only bad points is it needs a hole saw to install and the image is reversed horizontally due to prism effect. #3 Keep a can of 20′ range wasp spray handy if things get dicey. Sprayed bad guy cant see for a while, while you close and lock door, call the cops and rack a round in the chamber. This advice comes from having a wife and five grown girls.

    • Breanna

      January 16, 2015 at 1:38 PM

      It’s better to use Pepper Spray as opposed to Wasp Spray for the simple fact that the Warning on a Wasp spray reads, “It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” If the suspect is injured and decides to press charges (despite the fact you were protecting yourself), you could be held liable for malicious intent and aggravated assault.
      Damsel in Defense Pepper Spray offered in a 2 ounce canister sprays up to 22 feet, will temporarily blind the attacker, PLUS burn their skin at 18% OC and 2 million SHU’s. Pepper spray is legal to use as a form of defense as long as the individual using the pepper spray is indeed protecting themselves from imminent harm of injury.
      I have a Bachelor degree in Criminal Justice, I am a self-defense instructor, and I am an Independent Damsel Pro with Damsel in Defense.

  3. Matt Williams

    March 14, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    good advice if you live in the burbs or the hood … I’m out here in a rural setting … who comes to the door? the UPS man, people I’ve invited to the place, and that’s about it … heck, I don’t even get cell phone signal out here … we’re so remote, they don’t deliver mail to my door so I get a Post Office box … wow- -I get to have interaction with a human being if I want my mail (what a concept!) … we do lock the door, but I can’t help but remember the census taker who found us … the poor fellow was terrified, “My GOD, mister, how many dogs do you have?? They aren’t gonna eat me are they?” … at the time it was the house dog and two stock dogs … noisy (and lots of large teeth) … well, just my two cents … free advice and doubtless well worth the price!

  4. Rick

    March 14, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Great, but every year on October 31st we open the door to someone with a mask on. who knows who is behind the mask. Crazy

    • Chuck Naturale

      January 10, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      Thats why every year I dress as a cowboy oh and by the way the six shooter I wear is loaded with real bullets and i do practice my quick draw.

  5. Leslie

    March 14, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Being safe and protecting yourself is more important than being polite.

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  7. Terry Schrock

    March 15, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Why is this fear being peddled now, and who is (really) behind it? Our country was never this fearfull, not even right after 911! Who is making the most money off this pandering? Specifics please! Thanx

    • Breanna

      January 16, 2015 at 1:44 PM

      Safety tips are floating throughout cyber space often preying on disempowering women with illogical messages, speaking to people’s fears. For example, “Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.
      Although the publisher may have had good intentions when sharing the safety tip, this statement is misguided in focusing on the worst elements of self defense. Here are a few reasons: 1) it frames a deadly attack is inevitable, 2) it offers no practical advice for reducing the risk other than generating fear (fear make it hard to reason), 3) men can feel perfectly free to sit in their cars, without worrying they’ll suddenly feel the cold barrel of a gun at their temples.
      Therefore, it is so very important for us to understand that safety is our personal responsibility! Interrogate the safety tips you come across, question their logic or think to examine the motives or qualifications of the individual sharing the safety tip. Is this safety tip worth applying when traveling to and from work? Would this safety tip be viable to apply while I’m at home alone late at night?

  8. Deez

    March 15, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    I would add a 10th. To reinforce your door, install a third hinge between the upper and lower one. You’d be surprised how much that strengthens the door if/when someone decided they want in badly.
    Great tips. O one more for #2. Install and second peephole about mid level for those children or someone in a wheelchair —they need to know who’s at the door too.

    • Norm James

      March 18, 2014 at 8:10 AM

      Door protection :
      I put 2 barn like hinges on both sides of the doors in my bedroom and front door.
      I slide a 2X4 into the hinges .This is in addition to the regular door lock and an additional dead bolt.
      This give me plenty of time to get my gun .
      On the back sliding door I have a metal drop down bar and an additional mop handle on the bottom track. They can still get in by smashing the window but that makes allot of noise . BANG

  9. Sagebrush queen

    March 15, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Good stuff! I have another one to add. Or maybe two.
    I go to a window off to the side and peep out to see who’s there. I simply don’t answer if I don’t know them and/or their vehicle has no identifying logos.
    And I would never have a door like the ne shown n the photo. Those windows not only provide no privacy to screen you callers, those side windows offer thieves too perfect an opportunity to break in if no one answers the door. Break one out, reach in and turn the knob.

    • Flame

      March 17, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      When I first bought this house, the back door had 15 small panes in it. I’d installed a deadbolt that locked with a key inside as well as out–now outlawed in this nanny state and impossible to find. Somebody broke a pane next to the doorknob and tried to get in but failed. Then I replaced the door with a solid one but I needed light, so I have an 18×24″ window in it. Everyone said it was dangerous — until I took a rubber mallet and hit the window. It’s 1/4″ Lexan! It cost a lot and tends to scratch a bit, but no one has ever broken it, and the cost is probably much less than my losses would have been had it been glass. I replaced the door a 2nd time and moved the Lexan from old door to new.

    • richard1941

      March 24, 2014 at 5:14 PM

      I use two-sided deadbolts and keep them locked at all times. Nobody goes through without a key, not in, and not out. Not even if they gain access to the interior. Burglars gaining access by breaking the upstairs glass window must leave the same way; they can’t open the doors without breaking something else, making noise, and attracting attention. At least it makes the successful burglar feel uncomfortable and imposes an inconvenience and a slowdown.

  10. jim

    March 16, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    In the first picture they show side lights on either side of the front door. They look nice But they also weaken the structural integrity of the front door. I have metal door frames & metal doors not thin wooden ones that any 16 year old can splinter. Do Not stand in front of the door when opening up the door. At the moment someone hears the unlocking sound they usually shove the door knocking you down on your back & that’s not a good thing. The best thing is don’t open the door if your unsure ! ! !

  11. Cliff

    March 17, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    This may involve changing a lot of doors, but well worth it…Carry a 12 g. pump shotgun with five shells in it to the door; fire one shell into the bottom of the door about two feet up from bottom, fire second shell into left side of door, fire a third shell about three feet from the top of the door, fire fourth shell about middle ways up and about one foot from right side of door, and fire fifth shell straight into the middle of the door. If person is still at your door, throw shotgun through window and RUN LIKE HELL!

  12. BeverlyEvershed

    March 31, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Great. with people they way they are today we need something like this

  13. trish

    April 4, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    I have been looking for “j” hooks to slide a 2 x 4 in after I had a home invasion on a Sunday morning but have had no luck. IAnything to increase reaction time would help. @ Norm James, I would love to know where you got your “barn” hinges.

    • Scott

      May 11, 2014 at 6:44 PM

      Trish, if you still haven’t found the hooks, try a local welding shop. Tell them what you want to do, and they can fabricate them for you.

  14. Marie

    April 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    You’re so right about going with your gut! Years ago, after dinner someone knocked on my door… and for unexplained reasons I had a bad vibe about it. Instead of flinging the door open as usual, I called out, “Who is it?” and there was an exclamation of surprise from a deep-voiced guy outside, who apparently just turned around and left.

    Feeling partly foolish, I called the cops. Half the force showed up–turned out there was a rapist making the rounds, counting on women to fling open the door without checking first. Thank You, God!!!

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  18. Tommy

    May 10, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    As I approach the door I place my foot firmly (toes curled back) against the bottom of the door, BEFORE I look out the peephole. This keeps me from getting hit in the face with the door should someone decide to kick it in when I put my eye to it. Speaking of that, peepholes work BOTH WAYS. Have a flap, piece of tape or something over the inside, so THEY can’t see inside. Only open the door if you’re positive it is safe. Better to send someone away scratching their head, then risk a home invasion. Let someone else help the guy who ran out of gas, needs to borrow your phone, etc. Also be aware that they do employ WOMEN to get you to let your guard down and open up.

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  21. Dan

    February 27, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    If you do not know the person at the door ALWAYS answer with a portable phone to your ear. They will not know if your talking to someone or not. If the plan is a forced entry you could be telling the person on the line to call the police as soon as they start to enter. This is a factor they would have to consider since your already on the phone.

  22. matrix639

    March 21, 2015 at 1:36 AM

    Chain lock??? Puleeze. Comes with 3/4″ screws that you can easily rip out by shouldering the door. False security.

    Instead, get the pole that braces into a bracket drilled into the floor. And use long screws into the joists.

    While you are at it, replace screws on locks & hinges with 2-1/2″-3″ screws. And that is a solid core door, right?

    If you have glass around it as shown (bad idea), you need a dead bolt that is keyed on both sides. Keep a key in the lock when at home for emergency escape.

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  24. oldjon

    May 28, 2015 at 11:39 AM

    The door chain is not keeping any one out, and will get many apartment (esp. sec. 8)renters a violation of lease notice if manager SEES or notices it used. Best thing to do, is the “bottom of door” kick down lock. You can crack door open just a peek and set it,and leave it off at other times just to please the building mgr. who wants to be able to use their Master key to check if you are dead or whatever. Many do need help of course, but opening doors to strangers is more of a threat .

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  26. Darla

    June 1, 2015 at 4:12 AM

    My neighbors had the chain lock installed and the also the peephole. But the thieves managed to break in even when their kids were around. We got our home inspected by one of our family friend who’s cool at stuff like this, following which we installed a home alarm monitoring service from Protection Plus of Toronto. But when it comes to safety in answering the door, I agree all these points are relevant.

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  28. ew

    January 28, 2016 at 9:17 PM

    Yes they have women & children check if someone is home for a breakin. If no one answers door i guess they call their ‘people’ to come on with the truck? Happened to me. I opened the door & it shocked the woman. I live in the country & my car was in garage so appeared no one was home. She asked for directions to Wal-Mart!! O please! Won’t happen again! I now have a huge Rottie in the yard & a very nosy & loud Chihuahua that likes to stay by the door. My 38 is always beside my chair & with me wherever I am. I have used it too. Someone decided to walk across my yard toward door. When little dog heard it & barked I opened door quickly & fired just above their head. They went face down in grass to say their car broke down. I called help for them but they waited by down by mailbox. I wouldn’t have fired if they had rang doorbell. I wouldn’t have opened door either but talked thru door.

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