During Civil Unrest, Are You Prepared for Riots and Looting?


People photographing a fire

It is easy to feel detached from the events of civil unrest that have been happening around us lately. The multi-day riots in Ferguson, the night of terror in Milwaukee, and protests in Baltimore must have been terrifying for the normal, non-rioters that live there, but we probably didn’t feel a fraction of it. Only when civil unrest comes to your doors step will you be able to understand, but will you know what to do?

Know the Signs

When society is about to break down, it follows a distinct pattern. Believe it or not, you can actually track this pattern to know if things are about to go south in your area. So how does civil unrest start?

  • An outrage occurs.
  • People react to it on social media, spreading its reach.
  • Protest occurs.
  • Perpetrators of the outrage try to quiet protests, more protestors join.
  • Mob mentality spreads and reason wanes.
  • Rioting and looting ensues.

That is how civil unrest starts, and typically it continues when the police and military come to suppress it. Eventually they will succeed, but law enforcement officials acting pre-emptively out of fear often causes things to get worse before they get better.

Preparing for Riots

Riots can happen anywhere and at any time. Think of your city as being built on gun powder. All it takes is that one spark to ignite a city. One bad shooting, one lapse in judgement, or one unpopular decision and your city can get sucked up in a whirlpool of chaos. When that happens, there are three major steps to take, each with their own preparations to do beforehand.

  • Get Home
  • Stay Home
  • Protect Your Home

Get Home

Chaos can happen any time. Ideally, you would be sitting on the couch watching TV, but it can also happen when you are stuck in traffic or picking up groceries. No matter where you are when it happens, your first steps needs to be to gets yourself home. Being stuck in the middle of a riot without knowing what is going on at your house is the stuff of nightmares.

They key to being able to get home during times of civil unrest is knowing your areas. If you know your neighborhood or your city, you will be able to learn where rioting hotspots are and find alternate routes to get you home quickly and safely.

In the case that your car is disabled for some reason, a good prepper will also have a get-home bag in their trunk. Similar to a bug-out bag, a get-home bag will be lightweight and filled with supplies to get you home safely. This should include a little food for energy, water, running shoes, a blanket or jacket, and a map in case of a cell phone blackout.

Stay Home

If you don’t have a good bug-out place that you can get to, the best thing you can do it to stay home. This way you can also protect your property and you don’t have to risk being caught in the middle of a mob. If you are prepared for natural disasters, then you are mostly prepared to withstand civil unrest providing a mob doesn’t come to your doorstep.

This survival checklist includes:

  • Water (Bottled and water drawn in case the power goes off)
  • Food (A well-stocked pantry will be fine)
  • Essential Prescriptions (Enough for a month)
  • First Aid Kit
  • A Hand-Crank Radio or other Alternate Communication Device (So you can know when it is over)

These are just the barebones essentials that you will need during civil unrest. The longer it lasts, the more items you will need.

Protect Your Home

Unfortunately, once mob mentality takes over, rioters tend to look unfavorably upon those that they perceive to have more than them. If rioters come to your neighborhood, they are likely not going to let you hunker down quietly if you have a particularly nice-looking house. For the most part, you want to stay under the radar and not draw any attention, but when a mob shows up in front of your house, sometimes you have no choice.

Here are some tips to make your house less of a target:

  • Keep doors and windows locked – This is an obvious one. You may want to invest in door bars or consider decorative grid work over larger windows to make them more difficult to smash and climb in.
  • Keep curtains closed – Don’t make it easy for anyone to know exactly how many people are inside your house. At night, you may also want to keep the lights to a minimum. While typically indoor and outdoor lights scare of burglars, but a big angry mob that wants to hurt people and take things by force is not a burglar.
  • Don’t answer the door – You would be surprised how many home invasions start with a knock. While we imagine civil unrest as a big mob, it can also be a few people taking advantage of the chaos.
  • Keep pets in – You may have a big vicious-looking dog, but it is also your weakness and people know it. Keep your pets inside and let their barking be intimidation enough.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you prep your home to be difficult to get into, there is one major worry of rioting that you can’t avoid – fire. Fire is a popular weapon of cowards when rioting. Even if they want to loot your stuff, they aren’t afraid of burning it if they can’t get in. With no 911 to come to your rescue, you have to know how to handle it. For small fires, having several fire extinguishers in your home¬†can be enough to fight it, but you should also have fire ladder, an escape plan, and bug-out bags ready to go.

If you need to be ready to get home, stay home, and protect your home during times of civil unrest or just want to get off the crazy grid entirely, we can help. Get our Survival Guide and Checklist Book Free here.


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