What to Do When
Riots can be as dangerous and as unpredictable as a natural disaster. They result in thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in property damage each year. Here are some steps to help protect yourself, should you get caught in the middle of a “community unrest” situation.
- Be aware – pay attention to events happening in your community or a city you might be visiting. Avoid riot-prone areas. Any crowd can become dangerous if the general mood becomes angry or hysteric. Know where you are in the community and be aware of escape routes; have several of them. Look for crossroads. This will give you an alternate route to take away from protestors or riot police. Always carry some cash in case you need to arrange another form of transportation or purchase food or drinks. You do not want to be considered a looter.
- Stay Calm – keep your emotions in check and don’t get caught up in the “mob mentality.” Avoid confrontations, keep your head down but be looking for an escape route, keep moving at a steady pace. Move to a place you can get inside away from the mayhem. Keep away from windows when inside, lock doors and windows, and look for a couple of exits in case you need them.
- Keep Companions Close – lock elbows, hold children in your arms, and keep up a reassuring dialog. Your focus should be getting away from the danger.
- Don’t Get Involved – your goal should be to keep as low a profile as possible and continue to move away from the center of action. If you are in the middle of a crowd, move toward the outside calmly and slowly.
- Drive Appropriately – stay in your car and remain calm, lock your doors, driving carefully but with intent. Should your vehicle become a target, get out and leave it behind. Otherwise, sound your horn and drive carefully around or through a group. Give them time to get out of the way. DO NOT drive toward a police line. They consider vehicles a deadly weapon and may react accordingly.
- Avoid Heavy Traffic areas – know alternate routes to get you over, around, or through a crowed area. Safety is the major issue here, not necessarily the quickest way home.
- Maintain Maneuverability – if a mob or the police rush your way, step sideways or move diagonally between groups rather than trying to out-run them.
- Communication – cell phone channels may be unavailable in the event of a major event. Resort to text messages. Look for phone booths; often they will have priority over other land lines when a system overloads.
- Carry a Flashlight – people often panic in the dark. Light a path and you can see where to go.
- Avoid Public Transportation – buses and taxis can become a target you don’t want to be trapped inside. Metro trains may be shut down and the stations can be full of people, waiting for another spark of hysteria to incite violence.
- Be Bold – act like you know what you’re doing and where you are going. Move and speak with confidence. Use an authoritarian, but not hostile, voice and people will listen. Most of all, think clearly about escape.
Billie Nicholson, editor
Additional articles in this month’s issue:
Prepper Camp™ Recap
What’s in Your Every Day Carry Kit?
How’s Your Battery
Emergency Medical Assessment
10 things You’ll Regret Not Having Enough of When the SHTF by Elise Xavier,
Waste Not … Want Not… Making Apple Cider Vinegar