There are a number of reasons why riots ensue and this may include government protests because of poverty, unemployment, or discrimination, as well as conflicts between different groups or religions. There are also instances wherein these unfortunate scenarios occur because of unfavorable sporting event outcomes.
More often than not, the violence leads to harm and injuries among the individuals involved or caught in the middle, as well as damage to public or private properties. If you find yourself in the middle of a brewing riot, below are some of the tips on how you will be able to defend and protect yourself:
Think of an Escape Route
The first thing that you need to do when you are caught up in a riot is to think of an escape route to get away from the scene as soon as possible. You will only be able to accomplish this if you stay calm and alert because once you panic, your mind will be clouded. Your goal is to be able to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.
If you cannot immediately walk away, make sure not to attract any attention to yourself by trying to stay as close as possible to walls or other barriers and keeping off areas where people tend to squeeze through. Keep your head bowed down to avoid any confrontation.
Should you be with the company of another person, grip hands or lock elbows because there is a greater chance for you to be alright if you stick together.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind when you find yourself in a riot is to walk away calmly, rather than run frantically. Running or even moving too quickly may just garner unwanted attention from police. Work out your way to the edge of the crowd because the last thing that you would want is to be identified during the protest, or be accused of being a protester when you were just passing by.
Nevertheless, in case you are arrested by the authorities in body armor, make sure to go along peacefully rather than resisting the arrest. In doing so, you will reduce the risk of any bodily harm or injury even if the police or military implements maximum tolerance.
Rest assured that you will be given the opportunity to explain your side as well as what you are doing in the high-risk area.
At the first chance that you get, try to seek refuge in a nearby indoor structure and stay put until the crowd disperses. While waiting for this opportunity, stay clear of glass shop fronts and make sure to move along with the flow of foot traffic rather than against it.
The reason behind this is that there is a greater chance for you to get pushed or blocked, or even stampeded if you try to go against the traffic. Continue moving with the crowd, working your way towards the edge, until you spot a safe building, an alley, or a doorway. If you live somewhere near, try to get at home as fast as you can.
Additional Safety Precautions
- Come up with a security plan with your family
In case you have the ability to identify high-risk riot areas, try your best to avoid them. But if this is really not possible, make sure to talk with your family about how you will be able to keep each other safe.
Consider the use of emergency apps where you can find established and predetermined safe meeting places with a notification feature that marks family members safe.
- Prepare an emergency kit
If you live in a high-risk area, make sure to always have an emergency kit prepared. This should include your basic necessities such as some food and water, a change of clothes, as well as a first aid kit. Your first aid kit should have basic medical supplies, as well as prescription medications.
Store all of these in a bag that you can easily grab and carry in case you need to get away immediately.
- Stash some cash and fill your pantry
The last thing that you want to do when a riot occurs anywhere near your area is to go out. Upon hearing any news of the possibility of protests or rallies that can lead to violent circumstances, make sure that you prepare accordingly. Stash up with some cash beforehand because there is a great chance that banks and ATMs may be closed.
In parallel to this, try to fill up on your pantry supplies because there might be a chance that even grocery stores are closed while the unfortunate event ensues.
- What to do if you are trapped in your car
In case you are trapped in your car during a riot, make sure not to drive through the crowd. Rather, reverse and drive away if you can. In case you have no opportunity to do so, park your car, get out of it, and lock it. Leave it and go to the nearest indoor structure.
However, if there is no time for you to do this, just stop your car and turn the engine off. Lock your doors and keep calm, making sure that you do not display any signs of hostility to prevent the police from coming your way.
You need to be alert and calm even if you are caught up in the middle of a violent protest or group clash. Being alert and calm will allow you to think of an escape route that will drive you away from the scene as soon as possible. Make sure to walk away because running may just attract unwanted attention to yourself, with either group involved in the riot thinking that you are not their ally. As much as possible, find a way to get into an indoor structure where you can be safe. To avoid being caught up in these unfortunate events, make sure to keep yourself informed by listening to local news.
Keep abreast of the areas which are targeted by crowds or protesters such that you will have the opportunity to avoid them.