Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Guns.com.

Your “mindset” is the foundational part of your plan and will help you dictate and prioritize the steps you take in its formation. You have to decide who (notice I said “who” not “what”) you are willing to protect, how far you are willing to go to protect them and how best to go about it. You have to be clear on your mission so you can train in the skills you will need to succeed in it. Once you hear that “bump in the night” your chance to plan is over, it’s time to act and I guarantee you that you will act according to your plan. So if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.

So what considerations are needed to build a solid home defense mindset? It’s best to start with your goals, we need to keep those we love safe at home, so we put plans in place to address the most likely dangers we could face there. If you are protecting against home invasion you need to construct a well thought out and thoroughly rehearsed defense plan. Part of that plan has to be your state and local laws regarding self-defense. These laws vary, sometimes drastically, from state to state so be sure to do your homework.

Your family has to be not just aware of but well drilled in their individual parts of the plan. Everyone should know what they are going to do and why they are doing it before the plan is in motion. For example, if you have children someone needs to get to them quickly while someone else calls the police. In my house I’ve had the most training (though my wife is pretty formidable as well) so it’s my job to get down the hall past the kids room to cover the entrance to the hallway while my wife brings the kids to our bed room and calls 911. My kids are still too young to be an active part of the plan but once they are old enough they will be responsible for their own piece of it.

Because speed will be a necessity, firearms should be staged safely but ready to handle and phones need to be accessible to contact law enforcement. Whatever your defensive tools are, they should be in a place that allows you to get to them quickly even if you are still half asleep.

Firearm storage is a contentious issue in the gun community, and there are many great options out there. But again, think through what your mission dictates and choose accordingly. Remember, part of being a responsible gun owner is safely storing or staging your guns. Just leaving your gun on the nightstand may not be the best choice, especially if you have young kids in the house.

My personal recommendation is to contact the awesome folks at Tactical Walls. They provide practical and stylish storage options that will integrate well with any home defense plan. But whatever storage option you go with, make sure it works for your plan to provide safe but also fast firearm access.

Everyone’s plan will look a bit different, but they should all have similar components, and your plan doesn’t end there. If you want to keep your family safe, fire extinguishers should be charged and ready in the kitchen, first aid kits need to be stocked and easy to get to. It’s a big list, but with a clear and well thought out goal and a well-rehearsed plan, home safety and defense is very achievable.

It’s all in your mind

Finally let’s talk about the fight after the fight. If you are forced to defend yourself and your family by employing force, there will be some sort of legal, mental and social fallout. Talk about the realities of violence with your family and research together what will happen after a use of force event. If you can afford it, I would suggest some type of insurance to cover lawful use of force. Also, you need to get right with yourself on use of force based on your own ethical and moral values.

Making sure all of these things are in place before you find yourself in a use of force situation will help you act quickly and decisively, as well as help prepare you for everything that comes after. Overall, having a good defensive mindset means being honest and objective. We would all love to live in a world where nothing in this article was a necessity, but unfortunately we do not. However, there is no reason to give in to fear or become overwhelmed! If you have a solid plan in place that can deal with the realistic dangers you may face, you have nothing to be afraid of.

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