You never know what will cause a civilized society to turn violent. The events that bring out peoples barbaric nature often boil over and turn into violent civil unrest with little or no warning. In recent days the Ferguson Riots proved that all it takes is the shooting death of a single individual. In times of unrest even normally safe areas can become targets of home invasions, looting and general disturbances.
If you are away from home in a foreign country at the time of unrest it is wise to contact your closest embassy, and if staying in a hotel it is best to remain there. Find a fortified structure on the grounds and barricade the entrances and exits with whatever you can. Create improvised weapons if needed to protect yourself and stay updated on the developing situation. If you are not well versed on the reason of conflict you are best to stay ambiguous on the issue and not take sides. Most importantly don’t get caught out in the open surrounded by a mob.
Sometimes we would like to turn off the television and radio and simply bunker down and wait for everything to blow over, but often times unrest can last much longer than anticipated and you can be left with dwindling supplies in a dangerous place with violence and unrest all around you.
It is important to keep up to date on the current issues facing your area, social media is the official tool of organization for rioters and activists, so figure out who the key players are and follow the developments in order to know where they are, what they are up to, and what their mindset is like.
You can place no trust and reliability on law enforcement such as police, national guard and the military in helping civilian folk like you. Their priorities will always be to control the crowds and do damage control, thus hope placed in the assistance of them is misplaced. You must look after yourself and your family first before all else.
It goes without saying but stay out of the crowds, they are unpredictable, dumb and aggressive, even if they may have positive motives at first. Crowds become easily agitated and often end up committing crimes such as looting and vandalism in the areas of gathering, however in more radical situations people gather and form destructive gangs, causing mayhem with little concern for safety. If you do find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time then it is best to try to blend in and avoid being singled out, even if you do not agree with the motives or actions of the people. Pretend to be an extra on a film set, adding to the scene but receiving no attention.
Fortifying your home or shelter is important in protecting the occupants. You should gather any tools that can be used for self defense and establish a group plan for dealing with threats. Doors and windows should be reinforced from within with whatever you have on hand, heavy dressers, wood planks, sheet metal etc. Gather any fire extinguishers you may have around in order to react to fire bombings which is a common tactic used amongst rioters. Knowing where medical supplies around the house are is vital in case of emergency, where getting to a hospital or receiving emergency services support may take an extended amount of time or be out of the question entirely. Depending on the situation and considering your social status within the community, it may be more beneficial to let your presence be known versus staying inconspicuous and quiet. Many groups will only target unoccupied residences, so in establishing your presence you can drive off potential attack. It is advised that you stay away from windows and remain fortified in a single entrance room within the structure.
Be aware of what’s going on and how close it it to you. You may decide it’s time to bug out and get to a safe location. Know where that location is and if the route may be cut off. The worse thing to be doing is to leave and get stuck out in the open. Remember your life is more important than your property. You can always get more stuff just focus on staying safe.
If you find yourself in need of supplies always carry a cell phone or radio for communication along with small amounts of cash for purchases and some form of unnoticeable defense like a concealed handgun, switchblade, keys, small cans of pepper spray or other aerosol cans. Carry ID at all times and be aware of your surroundings. Trust in your fight or flight instinct and have simple plans in place if things go wrong for both you and your family.