Riot Survival

( – Riots are an all too common threat in our day and age; from worker strikes to political protests, large gatherings of angry people can devolve into mob violence in the blink of an eye. So, what can you do to survive if you’re caught in the midst of such a chaotic environment? Read on to find out.

When Anger Turns to Violence

People seem to revert back to their most primal state in these situations, throwing anything they can find at whatever target happens to catch their eye. From rocks and garbage all the way down to human waste, nothing is too disgusting to be used as an impromptu weapon.

Fighting is common here, and though it’s usually directed toward law enforcement violence often breaks out within the crowd too. On top of that, it’s entirely possible to be trampled by the moving horde.

What to Look For

The first way to survive a riot is simply to avoid it. By knowing what to look for, it’s possible to identify the issue before it gets out of hand, allowing you time to get out.

If you’re near a protest, watch out for opposing sides getting close to one another. The closer they get, the more likely someone is to instigate a fight. Watch the body language in the crowd as well; fist-shaking, finger-pointing, yelling, and threatening postures are indicators of a situation turning bad. If you see people looking for weapons or beginning to push against barricades, it’s time to leave.

Defend Yourself

So this is it, you missed the warning signs, and now you’re among the mob as violence breaks out. First and foremost, stay standing. If you get knocked down, chances are the mob will run right over you and no one will stop to help.

The next important step is to avoid fighting. Agree with whatever those around you are screaming about, even if it goes against your personal beliefs. If someone punches you, try to get away through the crowd rather than standing your ground. You do not want to end up on the wrong side of the mob’s anger.

Finally, try to find something, – anything – you can use as a shield. A trash can lid, a folded up cardboard box, whatever you can scrounge up that will protect your head from flying debris.

Get Out

If you’re caught up in the riot you need to get out ASAP. The safest place to be is far from the event. Try to work your way out by moving sideways through the crowd, not against it.

If you’re with a friend or relative, link arms at the elbow to avoid losing anyone in the swarming mass of people. Children should be carried, as they’re at greater risk of being swept away in the sea of bodies. Make your way to the edge of the crowd, then hot-foot it out as quickly as possible.

If your car is in the danger zone, leave it there — under no circumstances should you try to drive through the mob. Not only will you become a larger target, but you could injure someone and face a lawsuit after the fact.

Avoid sheltering in nearby buildings. These may not be the best places to hide, as vandalism, looting and arson are all regular features of riots. If you take refuge in a store that ends up getting looted, you’re in as much danger as you were in the crowd.

Lastly, move away from the police. This may seem counterintuitive, as we are trained to seek out law enforcement to protect us. Riots are a different situation though — officers are targets for the horde.

In short, here is a list of things to do to survive a riot:

  • Watch for signs of violence
  • Defend yourself
  • Find something to use as a shield
  • Avoid fights
  • Get out ASAP — moving sideways through the crowd
  • Do not drive through the mob
  • Stay out of buildings that could become targets
  • Avoid the police line

Stay calm, follow these rules, and get out to see another sunrise.

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