The sad truth is that peaceful, well-intended demonstrations are increasingly turning violent. This, in turn, makes predicting potential civil unrest almost impossible. Fortunately, most demonstrations rarely if ever, devolve into chaos.
However, the unpredictability of even well-meaning demonstrations makes them dangerous. Therefore, before participating in, or traveling near such an event, it is best that you take a few precautions. Doing so will help keep you safe and alive.
Improve Your Situational Awareness - Stay Informed
Maintaining effective situational awareness will help keep you safe. A great road to improving your situational awareness is through information.
So, take a look at the local news on a regular basis. Keep an eye out for stories about possible demonstrations, or anticipated problems in areas you may be going.
If you're traveling to unfamiliar areas set up keyword email feeds focused on the area, town, or city. They'll alert you with an email when a news story containing your keyword is published.
Next, listen to what people are talking about. Are they ticked off and fired up to cause trouble?
What about their body language? Do you get the impression they are preparing for a fight?
Is your gut telling you there is going to be trouble? If so, listen to it!
Pre-Plan Your Actions
Have an idea in your brain of what you will do if something happens. By thinking ahead, and considering potential scenarios along with possible responses, you will be ahead of the game if something happens.
Plan your egress routes out of the area ahead of time. Know safe havens such as a hospital, public buildings, etc.
Ensure you have money for transportation should you be separated from your car. Set up pre-designated meeting points in the event you lose your family or friends.
Think about the situation and find ways to avoid it. When you do, you'll be better prepared for all possibilities.
During the Actual Civil Unrest
Let's face it when a riot happens; the police have their hands full. So, then mindset that they ARE going to help you isn't guaranteed.
Chances are the police already have their hands full. Plus, you never know; running towards the police during a riot may not be the best decision. After all, it may not be that easy for them to tell you apart from the knuckleheads. If not, who knows, you could end up on the wrong end of a police officer operated riot stick.
Likewise, going against the protesters may catch you a beating as well. Instead, try to blend in while working your way towards a safe location. Blending in does not mean doing stupid things such as confronting the police. It means you become the gray man, don't draw attention to yourself and work your way out of the area.
As in any bad situation, one of the keys to your safety is to remain calm. This is not a time to become emotional. It's a time for confident decision making, followed by swift action based upon those decisions. You will also need to remain observant and adaptable to the developing situation.
Never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about how to prepare for civil unrest, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared,
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