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The possibility of getting caught in the middle of a violent riot while walking home from work or while going to the supermarket has long stopped looking like a fantasy scenario. As I wrote here last week, Americans are starting to realise they’re being abused by the government. And they’re getting angry.
Now, it’s not difficult to imagine what happens when millions of people are turning against their government. You’ve already seen the precedent all across Europe and during the Arab Spring. So if you’re imagining Americans will follow another pattern and start a flower-power revolution, trying to change the system with love and peace… you’d be wrong. There will be riots, there will be violence and social chaos all throughout the country. And you and your family could very well get caught in the middle of an angry mob while doing your daily business. Would you know how to protect yourselves? How to avoid getting hurt or even killed? How to look as unsuspicious as possible?
If you don’t have an escape-any-riot plan yet, here’s something to get you started:
Riot Rule #1: Stay calm
This is the #1 rule in any emergency situation, but when it comes to riots, this is not just a crucial measure in your survival strategy, but a way to stay away from the police, as well. If you panic and start running chaotically, you’ll most likely draw the attention of police officers and might get arrested.
Keeping calm and walking, instead of running will make you look like an innocent man who just happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time. If you also look around all confused, it will be as clear as it gets that you’re not trying to cause any trouble. In fact, you might even get some help to get out of there quickly.
Riot Rule #2: Stick together
If you’re with your family or friends, don’t go separate ways. Stick together, hold hands at all times and check to see if you’re all alright from time to time.
The first thing you should do when you’re caught in the middle of a riot is grab the hands of whoever you’re with and tell them to stay close to you, no matter what. Even if you see someone hurt on the street and you want to go help them, don’t let go of the others. Take them with you and make sure no one gets too far away from the group while you’re lending a helping hand.
Riot Rule #3: Look for an exit
Try to walk out of the mob, but don’t rush. Go with the flow, walk slowly and don’t attract attention while moving towards your exit.
Warning: Don’t walk in the opposite direction as everyone else. People might be running from something dangerous, such as tear gas or a fire.
It’s best to walk to your left or to your right and keep going, while slowly moving forward. Let people pass you by and keep to your road, but keep an eye to what’s happening around you, as well. If you have the slightest suspicion that you’re heading for danger, change your trajectory or slow down.
It may seem like a good idea to go towards a cop and ask for help, but keep in mind cops are usually targets during riots. Angry mobs tend to focus their anger on any authority figure in their way and cops are the easiest target there.
Riot Rule #4: Try to get inside FAST
Once you get out of the “core”, get indoors as fast as possible. Riots happen on the street, so getting inside should keep you out of danger.
• Don’t forget to lock all your doors and windows and then stay safely away from them.
• Turn down or turn off the lights and stay in your bedroom, with your door locked.
• Watch TV or listen to the radio to take the “pulse” of events.
• If you hear something going on right outside your home, call the police. Don’t go out to see what’s happening unless you’re armed (and even so, try to avoid confronting the angry mob)
Riot Rule #5: Stay away from chemicals and weapons
If you see police officers anywhere around you, you should expect riot control agents such as tear gas, rubber bullets or water cannons.
• Try your best to stay away from these chemicals and weapons, as they may cause you blindness, respiratory problems, bruises, wounds and, of course, lots of pain.
• If you feel any strange smell, cover your nose and mouth with your t-shirt and protect your eyes with your hand. Don’t breathe in deeply, just take a few superficial breaths when needed.
• DO NOT touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands!
• If they’re shooting rubber bullets in your direction, don’t start running, as you might get hurt badly. Protect your head with your arms and turn your back at the bullets. Let the police see you’re defensive and not trying to attack back.
• Try to move upwind or get to high ground. The gas will stay low to the ground, so you’ve got more chances of breathing in some fresh air (or at least avoid being poisoned with chemicals).
I said it before and I say it again: I hope you’ll never ever have to use this info. But if you do get caught in a violent mob, I hope these tips will help you save yourself or someone you love. Stay safe!
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