Preparing for civil unrest should be high on your list of priorities, particularly if you currently live in an area that is volatile. While protests can be peaceful, they can also turn violent in the blink of an eye. How will you protect your family if people begin to riot?
Preparing for Civil Unrest Before It Happens
Ideally, you’ll have a plan in mind before you have to deal with this type of situation. This is a good reason to have everything you need in the house so you can bug in if things are getting violent in the streets. However, if you’ve ever seen a riot on television, you know that there is little regard for innocents when people start to get violent.
Dangers come from two main areas in a breakout of civil unrest. First, you have the protestors or rioters themselves. When they get restless, things can go bad very quickly. Windows are smashed, looters take advantage, Molotov cocktails are thrown. If your home is near this type of activity, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to bug in or bug out.
If you choose to stay, you should have a way to barricade your windows and doors, but you’ll also need to be alert in case a fire starts. In this case, you need to have multiple exits from the house or apartment to avoid running right into the crowds. Plan carefully for all eventualities and remember that emergency crews will not be able to get through the riots to reach you if things go badly.
The second danger is from the police. Riot police do not distinguish between innocents caught up in the crowd and those actually causing problems, so you should be careful not to be in the area when the police show up. While your main issue here is that you could be pepper sprayed or arrested, it’s still not a situation you want to get into.
Traveling During Civil Unrest
It’s usually best to stay put when things are going crazy in the streets, but that may not be an option. What if your children are at school and need to be picked up? Or maybe you feel that it is too dangerous to stay put. Whatever your reasons, it may be necessary to travel when there are riots and knowing how to move around is essential.
The first thing you need to do is inform yourself of the current situation. Watch the news, check navigational apps like Waze and Google Maps to find out where the traffic stop points are and plan a secure route for evacuation. You may need to take a more roundabout route to get where you’re going.
You should also be prepared to abandon your vehicle if you need to. It can be engulfed in people or flames in a moment, so be ready to bail quickly. If you are heading to pick up your children and need to pass the unrest zone, it’s usually best to find a better place to go with the kids until things calm down. You don’t want to be traveling back home through the escalating situation.
Escaping a Dangerous Situation
Of course, you might actually be in the middle of a protest when things go south. If you are protesting, it’s not worth being caught up in the violence that can follow. You should always be ready to escape, even in the most peaceful situation, just in case.
Here are a few tips to help you get out if you need to:
- Watch for escalating emotion. Violence doesn’t just erupt in most cases, it starts with anger and yelling, then bursts out. If people are getting too emotional and angry, it’s time to back off.
- Know your enemy. Counter-protests frequently occur and this is when things can really turn sour. You should be aware of any groups that are against your cause and know their banners, so you can avoid being too close if they show up.
- Keep exits in mind. You need to know where the escape routes are and you should be ready to get to them at any point. If you’re on the move, be very aware of your surroundings so you can get to safety at a moment’s notice.
- Lag behind. Not only will bringing up the rear afford you a faster exit if you need it, the position also allows you to keep an eye on the crowd. You’ll be in a better position to gauge the overall mood of the group.
- Plan a reunion point. If you’re marching with other people, especially children, make sure you have a clear meeting point that they can head to if you get separated. This can help avoid panic on all sides. Make sure children know how to reach the spot easily.
Being aware and prepared for civil unrest is the best way to avoid being caught up in something bad. And if you end up surrounded by rioters, you should be able to get out as quickly as possible to avoid injury.
In today’s world, civil unrest is a given, so being prepared for it is the best way to disasterproof your family. What are your plans if things go south in your area?