Angry mobs: Here’s how you can survive RIOTS and civil unrest
By Zoey Sky // Apr 07, 2021

No matter how peaceful things seem in your neighborhood, an angry mob can cause a riot any time of the day and any day of the week.


Even if you're out running errands, what seems like a peaceful protest across the street can turn into a riot when people with different beliefs and the authorities clash. If you're caught in a riot or civil unrest, read the tips below to ensure your safety. (h/t to

Watch out for the signs of civil unrest

While you can't predict something with 100 percent accuracy, knowing what to look out for can give you a head start before riots break out in your city.

Below is a possible sequence of events that culminates with a riot.

  • Perceived outrage occurs.
  • People react and sincerely protest the issue.
  • Troublemakers will sometimes infiltrate protesters to incite violence.
  • The people causing the protests will say they didn't do anything too serious.
  • Others react to the cause of the outrage and join the protest.
  • Mob mentality occurs. Also called herd mentality, mob mentality refers to when people are influenced by their peers to act a certain way based purely on emotions instead of logic. People affected by mob mentality can "make different decisions than they would have individually."
  • Things get violent and the police and military are called in.
  • Riots cause destruction and innocent people are endangered.
  • Cops may act preemptively, suspending rule of law.

If you get stuck in the chaos, you have to defend yourself because you'll be on your own.

What to do when SHTF

Once you understand the signs of imminent civil unrest, plan ahead.

Gather your loved ones

When SHTF, make sure everyone can get home safely if they're at school or at work. In a worst-case scenario, your family should have a way of safely reaching a safer secondary location.

  • Plan how you're going to pick up the kids from school and make sure anyone getting your kids already has permission to do so at the school office.
  • Find multiple routes home.
  • Find safe places so you can hide if you need to lay low.
  • Stay away from large crowds.
  • Know when to abandon your plan to get home. If the situation is too dangerous, hide somewhere safe.

Stay away from protesting crowd

The best thing to do during civil unrest is to avoid large groups of protesters, which can quickly turn into violent rioters. If you live in a small town or remote area, it might be safer to bug in or stay at home.

But if you live in the city, you might have to choose between staying at home or heading to your bug-out location.

Don't wait too long before deciding because you might miss your window of opportunity to leave safely before SHTF. You could be stuck in traffic or attacked by rioters as you try to leave your home. (Related: Prepper psychology: Coping mechanisms that will help you survive stressful situations.)

Staying at home means you can minimize your risk of being stuck in the middle of an angry mob or being stuck in a traffic jam amid looters. Use your common sense when deciding if you're going to bug in or bug out.

Keep a low profile

If your neighborhood is under siege, you'll be safer if you stay at home. Don't leave the house unless it's absolutely necessary.

  • Lock all the doors and windows and fortify sliding doors with a metal bar.
  • If you have a door with a large window, install decorative gridwork so it's hard to break the glass and unlock the door.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Don't open the door to strangers.
  • Stay in one room so you know where everyone is.

Preparing before SHTF

Before disaster strikes, prep and make sure your loved ones know what to do if they're stuck somewhere during a riot.

Stock up on supplies before SHTF

Check your stockpile regularly. Make sure you have enough food to last your whole family if you have to bug in for several days or weeks.

Review this checklist to get your preps in order.

  • Refill your pantry with staples such as beans, baking ingredients, canned food, rice, seasonings and spices, tea and coffee and other foods with a long shelf life.
  • Stock up on enough water for drinking, cleaning and other tasks.
  • Prepare an emergency fund.
  • Have enough cleaning supplies, toiletries, garbage bags and pet supplies.
  • Restock your supply of candles, matches and lighters.
  • Have flashlights and spare batteries or wind-up flashlights for each family member.
  • Charge all electronics and phones.
  • Fill up your gas tank and park your car in the garage.
  • Beef up your home security and fortify your home.
  • Stock up on board games, books and toys to keep young children occupied.
  • Keep your first aid kits fully stocked.
  • Get enough prescription medications to last several weeks if you have family members with health conditions.

Learn how to defend yourself and your property

If someone finds out that you're a prepper, they might target your home to steal your supplies. You might also be attacked by rioters who just want to wreak havoc.

Regardless of why you're being attacked, you should choose a weapon for self-defense and learn how to use it when SHTF. Keep your chosen weapon within reach so you can fight back if your family gets attacked during a riot in your area.

Practice with your gun and never neglect gun safety, especially if there are children at home.

Don't get complacent just because you live in a quiet neighborhood. Whatever your political beliefs, when a riot starts people who are out for blood won't care who you voted for.

Learn how to spot the signs of civil unrest and focus on how to survive when SHTF so you can protect your loved ones.

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