So You’re Trapped in a Riot. Now What?
Ferguson and Baltimore showed us everything’s possible when it comes to social unrest. It takes days, even hours from things to go from bad to worse and if we have to learn to protect ourselves and our families. Here’s how…
How to Avoid Getting Trapped In a Riot
The best way to avoid a riot is to stay informed. If you’ve never used the AM/FM radio on your phone, it’s time you learned how. Even better, get a small portable radio as part of your everyday carry kit or your get home bag.
As soon as you hear news that something is happening, you need to be constantly informed with the latest developments. The two typical scenarios are getting home and bugging out and each has their own set of challenges.
Now, what if you’re on foot and you suddenly hear or even see a large group of people heading towards you? The first thing you need to do is turn around and walk briskly. Don’t run unless you have a place to run to and if you know you can make it. If some of them start chasing you but, on the other hand, if you walk, you’re less likely to stand out.
What if You Get Trapped in a riot?
Unless you’re in immediate danger either from tear gas, the police or a nearby fight, you should remove any clothes and accessories that’ll make you stand out. Ear-rights, tie clips, watches – anything that might spark interest into other people. If you’re wearing a hat, you need to remove it and even ditch it because it’ll make you stand out from the crowd. If you’re wearing clothes in bold colors, you’re gonna have to find a way to hide them, maybe by wearing them inside out. Remember, this is not time to make a fashion statement.
Once you took care of this, you need to figure out how you’re gonna get the heck out of there. The most important thing to remember is to never go against the crowd. You need to move in the same direction as them and, possibly at an angle, until you see a way out, maybe on an empty alley or street that’s adjacent to the one you’re on.
If you can’t find means of escape, pay close attention to the buildings around you. Maybe you can find one you can hide into until all rioters leave. Getting in through an open door shouldn’t take you more than a couple of seconds.
What if you’re facing tear gas? Very likely, since the police have no way of knowing if you’re one of the good guys or one of the bag guys. The moment you see a tear gas canister coming your way, you need to run like hell. No need to worry about your running drawing attention because everyone else in your vicinity is going to do the exact same thing.
Tear gas has immediate effects on the human body so make sure you don’t get any inside your eyes, ears or nose. If you do, avoid rubbing the areas even though you’re going to feel an urgent need to do so.
Truth be told, most preppers are in favor of bugging in. Riots aren’t like war or EMPs because there’re more chances things will go back to normal after a while. But what if you’re in the middle of a large city with little or no food and water? In this case, moving out for a few days or weeks during a riot might be your best bet rather than staying inside your apartment and starve to death.
One thing you need to know is that if you plan to leave with your car but run into the protesters, you’re finished. Even if you have a tactical vehicle and they can’t get inside, they can still prevent you from moving on.
You should avoid them at all costs by getting out of the city in the opposite direction from where your bug out retreat is if need be. Even batter, you can do this at around 4 or 5 AM when most of them are probably sleeping. Even so, you need to be extra weary of what’s ahead and use secondary roads if possible.
Should You Bug In or Out in Case of a Riot?
The debate on bugging out versus bugging in is never-ending simply because there is no right answer. It all depends on the circumstances. As I said, riots are less likely to require you to bug out but you have to keep in mind that the possibility of (localized) martial law is always there. Better to bug out and look like a fool than to bug in and become trapped inside your own home.
If you’re going to bug in, you need to make sure you:
- have enough food, water and meds to last you for at least 2-3 weeks,
- have means to keep yourself warm, to cook, to light your house in case of a grid-down situation and to take care of personal hygiene and trash,
- live either in the suburbs or in a neighborhood that’s not likely to get affected by riots
- …and have a way of bugging out at a later time if need be.
If all of these are true for you, then bugging in is indeed a good option.
Author: Dan Sullivan Survival Sullivan