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Civil unrest can quickly turn into violence and riots, as seen in recent news. If you’re caught outside your home during a riot, here are a few tips to help how to stay safe during civil unrest riots.

We will discuss the following points on how to stay safe:

  • Stay aware of surroundings at all times and be prepared to take action if necessary.
  • Keep a distance from any crowds that may be forming and avoid confrontation at all costs.
  • Have a plan in case you need to evacuate and make sure to have enough supplies to last for several days.
  • If possible, try to find shelter indoors or with local authorities until the situation has calmed down by following these simple guidelines.
Group of people gathering for a peaceful protest
A group of protesters peacefully protesting

What Is Civil Unrest?

Civil unrest is a public disturbance caused by a large group of people. It can be anything from protests to full-blown riots, but at the core, it’s an expression of anger or frustration by many people. Unfortunately, they’re becoming increasingly common in our society.

How To Identify When Civil Unrest Is Happening In Your Area

It can be challenging to know when civil unrest is happening, as the signs can be subtle at first. However, there are some important things to watch out for. Developing your situational awareness skills will help you to stay alert of potential dangers.

  • Look for large groups of people gathering in public places, especially protesting or chanting slogans.
  • Be aware of sudden changes in your area’s police presence or security measures.
  • Keep an eye out for any violence or damage to property, and be prepared to take action if necessary.

If you think civil unrest may be happening in your area, try to stay informed with the local news and follow the advice of local authorities. If you value your safety, you will fight the urge to go to the area to take a video.

What To Do If You Are Caught Outside Your Home During A Civil Unrest

There may be people who will gather with others to publicly express their opinions about something that is happening in society. Others may be there looking for nothing more than looting and destroying property, or getting their 15 minutes of fame. What starts out as a peaceful protest can get ugly real quick.

If you do find yourself outside of your home during an impromptu demonstration, there are certain things you can do to stay safe and out of trouble.

  • Get someplace safe: If you are caught in a riot and are in the middle of people; quickly try to get into a store or building and stay away from the windows. Stay out of sight until things calm down.
  • Stay calm: Panicking will only make matters worse. Don’t panic if you can get someplace safe. If you are with police officers or firefighters, follow their directions.
  • Do not resist arrest: Resisting will only escalate and make matters worse. Be sure to always show your and with hands, spread your fingers and follow commands.
  • Watch where you are going: Don’t run into the middle of traffic or walk in front of moving cars while trying to get out of there. If you can, cross the street at a crosswalk or intersection so vehicles can see you coming from a distance.
  • Walk like you are part of the crowd: You may have to act like part of the crowd so as not to attract undue attention. Become the Gray Man (or woman) as you make your way out of the crowd. Keep your phone and keys out of sight so that no one tries to rob you for them if the situation gets worse.
  • If you are in your vehicle: If you’re in a vehicle during a riot, try to drive out of the area as quickly and safely as possible. Don’t stop for pedestrians crossing the street; they may be part of the mob. If a liquid is thrown on your windshield (like raw eggs), don’t be too quick to use your windshield wipers -it can greatly reduce your visibility, making it difficult to drive.
  • Carry your emergency kit: Always have a Get Home Bag in your car. It may become necessary to abandon your vehicle and walk home. If you work in the city, carry a basic emergency kit or keep one at work. Be sure your kit also includes a firs aid kit to manage common injuries. A big bonus is to also have a trauma kit if the situation escalates into an active shooter situation.
Car burning during a protest
You may need to abandon your vehicle during a protest

If You Are Home During A Civil Unrest

Riots and civil unrest may be sudden or pre-planned. In either case, you need to be prepared for emergencies, just like you would for any other disaster.

If you have your basic emergency preps, you should be able to weather a civil unrest. This would include stocking up on emergency supplies, including water, non-perishable food items, extra batteries for flashlights, weather radio, and any necessary medications.

It would be beneficial if you also had a communication plan with friends or family outside the area who can provide updates on conditions so that you can make well-informed decisions about evacuation or sheltering in place.

If You Know Protests Are Being Planned In Your Area

If you know riots are planned in your area, or if a riot breaks out suddenly, it will be best to stay indoors in your home where you have your emergency preps. Your home is your fortress.

Bugging out should only be a last resort if it becomes too dangerous to stay home. If you do have to evacuate, take your bug out bag, emergency binder, and other needed supplies.

stay home note
Stay home and stay safe

In Conclusion

Typically, when a warning of civil unrest is announced, it is best to wait it out where you are. However, if you need to evacuate your area or you are told to leave your home, follow instructions from local authorities or disaster relief organizations to proceed with your evacuation. Remember to plan for yourself, your family members and pets: bring food, water, and other vital supplies with you.

By having your emergency preps in order BEFORE anything occurs, you will have the peace of mind to focus on getting out safely without worrying about what you may have missed.

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Have you ever experienced a civil unrest in your area? Please share your experiences in your comments below.

About Post Author


During the day, Ms. Williams is a compliance officer for a major insurance agency in Florida. In her free time she enjoys the great outdoors and share her passion for the adventures life has to offer. She now shares her passion for Emergency Preparedness, making it simple for everyone to start.
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