How to survive a riot

This is 2020.

Part or dealing with, and surviving this year, requires a lot of planning and forethought. In just a few days we went from our normal lives to businesses being shut down. And with that, came conflict. Conflict has grown to panic, and from panic comes protests and riots.

There is no sane person who would be against peaceful protests, as protected by the 1st Amendment. Riots, on the other hand, demonstrate people’s disregard for persons and property.

What if?

What if you find yourself in a situation? Let’s go over some possible situations:

At Home

  • Doors and windows should be reinforced from the inside so they do not draw attention. Have multiple working deadbolts and jam bars on all outer doors even if you currently live in a “good neighborhood”
  • Use regular window locks with screw in bolt locks, and have swing down bars that can be shifted into place if needed
  • Try to create hallways or dead ends where you have a shooting advantage if one or more people enters your home
  • Know all ways and paths to get out of the house in secret; and arrange a meet-up point with other family members
  • Keep a chimney damper made from very heavy metal that can withstand at least 300 pounds standing on it without being forced open. You should also have a metal support rod to lock under the damper in case rioters try to get in through the chimney

Before you leave the house

  • Keep abreast of current news if you are in a volatile area
  • If you hear that a protest/riot is taking place, avoid the area or stay in your hotel/motel until you are sure that it’s safe to go out
  • Before you go out, establish where the protetsts/riots has taken place, and if possible avoid the area. Take along and consult a map so that you will know where you are at all times
  • If you come across a protest/riot, don’t become inquisitive, just leave the area and find another route to your intended destination
  • Should you need to go to an area which experiences a lot of protest/riot, try not to go alone. Where possible take someone with you and operate as a team looking out for each other. Keep close and maintain visual contact. Let someone know that is outside of the area of your route and destination
  • Avoid any place where police or security force action is in progress


If you suspect a riot is in its infancy, do not wait around to see what happens and execute your evacuation plans as soon as possible.  Until then take these precautions:

  • Keep family and pets in the house, make sure everyone that can handle a weapon is armed and ready
  • Lock, bolt, and barricade all windows and doors
  • Set up your defensive fields of fire, but do not engage until you know the intentions of the rioters. Some may simply break some windows, hurl rocks, or beat on your doors and then leave. This is not a good reason to panic, scream, or open fire and give yourself away
  • Rioters are extremely unpredictable. There is no way to tell if they are looking for material goods or for human plunder (example to rape, murder, or brutalize.) In order to reduce the risk of falling victim to the latter, everybody must stay away from the windows, turn off lights, and be as quite as possible
  • Make your property look and feel like there is nobody home. If the rioters are intent on stealing material items, at least you will have the advantage of surprise when they enter what seems like an empty house, and wind up with bullets flying in their direction
  • If someone knocks on the door do not answer. No matter who they claim to be, or who you think they are, that person could be a hostage or decoy being used to gain entrance to your home
  • Once rioters enter, and are neutralized, make quick repairs to the damaged doors and windows

Walking into a protest

If you find yourself caught up in a protest or riot keep to the edge of the crowd where it is safest. Try not to be identified as one of the demonstrators by keeping well away from the leaders/agitators.

  • If you are swept along in the crush, create a space for yourself by grasping your wrists and bracing your elbows away from your sides; bend over slightly – this should allow you breathing room
  • If pushed to the ground, try to get against a wall and roll yourself into a tight ball and cover your head with your hands until the crowd passes
  • Remember to keep calm – the crowd should sweep past in a short space of time
  • If shooting breaks out, drop to the ground and cover your head and neck, and lie as flat as you can
  • At the first opportunity break away and seek refuge in a nearby building, or find a suitable doorway or alley and stay there until the crowd passes
  • When leaving the fringe of the demonstration just walk away – don’t run as this will draw attention to you
  • In the event that you are arrested by the police/military, do not resist. Go along peacefully
  • If you are caught up in the crowd, stay clear of glass shop fronts, stay on your feet and move with the flow

Walking into a riot

  • Be prepared
  • Remain calm
  • Avoid eye contact with other people
  • Stay near the fringes so you can bolt or escape as soon as possible
  • Don’t fight with rioters unless you have no choice!
  • Keep your loved ones close
  • Don’t get involved
  • Drive appropriately if you’re in a car
  • Move away from the riot as calmly as possible
  • Avoid heavy-traffic areas
  • Move to a safe enclosed area
  • Stay informed
  • Remove all “white collar” accessories (earrings, tie clips, watches, rings, ties, etc.)
  • Move in the same rough direction as the crowd and at the same speed
  • Mimic chants, attitude, general demeanor

Driving into a protest/riot

  • If you find yourself in the path of a crowd, turn down the nearest side road, reverse or turn around and drive away calmly
  • Find an alternate route home – avoid main roads and instead take side streets
  • If you cannot drive away, park the car, lock it and leave it, taking shelter in a side street or doorway
  • Lock your windows and doors.
  • Watch out for pedestrians – there may be a lot of people milling around or trying to stop traffic.
  • Always keeps your gas tank at least half full – you don’t want to have to stop for gas at the worst possible moment.
  • Have extra food and water in the car, along with a survival kit.
  • Leave as soon as you can or you may get caught in a traffic nightmare.
  • If you don’t have time for this, stop and turn the engine off. Lock the doors and remain calm. Be sure not to show hostility or anger

Carry what you need

Part of prepardness is knowing what to have on hand before something happens.

  • A folding knife with pocket clip
  • Pistol (Optional, but if you get cornered only a gun will furnish the range, repeatability and shock factor to repulse a crowd of crazed rioters.)
  • Backpack
  • Sunglasses (Choose a pair with impact and shatter resistance. Helps protect your eyes from mayhem and also for blending into masked mob.)
  • Pepper spray
  • Flashlight (your phone may already have one, but save it to have a back-up)
  • Cash (Cash can buy you a favor when you need it desperately.)
  • Paracord
  • Mylar blanket (also useful for signaling “victim” to authorities)
  • Portable AM/FM emergency radio or equivalent app.
  • Survival manuals loaded on phone
  • Bandana (multipurpose, can be used as improvised gas/dust mask or to temporarily blend with mob.)

Of course, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. But if you can even get home with the minimal amounts of scrapes, cuts, and bruising, you will be better off than the alternative.

Stay safe.