There have been a number of deadly riots in history. The Draft Riots of 1863 with an estimated 120 people dead, the 1906 Atlanta race riot with an unofficial death toll of 100, and the Tulsa riot of 1921 in which about 300 people died after a white mob attacked an African-American community. The recent Hong Kong protests may not be as horrifying but the fact that there have been violent outbursts should tell you it’s important to prepare for such so you can survive riots.
Riots can happen anytime and anywhere as long as there’s a large group of discontented, frustrated and angry people. The 2019 Hong Kong protest, for one, is the result of the proposed amendment to the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Bill. The amendment will let authorities detain and extradite criminal fugitives to Mainland China and other territories with no extradition agreements, which the protesters fear will give the mainland Chinese jurisdiction over residents and tourists in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong protest has already taken a violent turn. Indonesia is also facing a similar scenario with students protesting a law that reduces the powers of the corruption commission as well as some controversial articles in draft criminal code. Also recently, a riot erupted in a Lesbos migrant camp after a deadly fire.
There are different reasons why riots break out. The best thing you can do to survive riots in case they erupt near you is to take the necessary steps to prepare for such scenarios.
Survive Riots When Outdoors
In Hong Kong, the protesters disrupted airport and train operations. While there were no actual riots, violence still erupted between the anti-riot police and activists. It’s more common, though for protests and riots to take place outdoors, particularly in the streets or in front of government buildings. It’s best to avoid such areas to stay safe.
The key to surviving riots and other SHTF scenarios is not to panic. Stay calm and clear your mind so you can devise a plan on what to do next. You need to figure how to get out of the on-going or developing dire situation.
Get Away and Stay Away
When you’re outside when a riot starts, do your best to get away. Some roads will probably be blocked or occupied by protesters or rioters. You have to think fast and find the safest route away from the violent crowd. Your knowledge of the area will play an important part to your survival. Make sure you study all possible routes and locations if you’re new to a place.
If you are part of the protesting group, you need to be quick on your feet once a riot breaks out. It’s one thing to fight for what you think is right. It’s another to be hurt, or worse, die, during a riot.
Also, it’s best that you stay away if you’re not within the vicinity of a riot. Analyze your situation. If it’s unlikely that the violent mob will reach your location, you can stay put and stay up-to-date. Still, you need to be ready in case you have to bug out.
If the curious cat in you wants to see what’s going on, you can at least stay on the side of the bystanders. Blend in with the peaceful crowd. Whatever you do, don’t go near the violent ones or do what they’re doing.
You can easily be misidentified as a rioter if you’re shouting or throwing stuff. If the rioters are wearing a certain wardrobe and you happen to be wearing the same thing, it’s wise to get away immediately. In Hong Kong, one person was apprehended by the police after he was seen wearing the same color protesters were wearing. In July, a white-clad mob attacked people wearing black and passengers in the Hong Kong subway station.
Pack Your Everyday Carry Kit
Aside from being wary of your surroundings and acting calmly yet quickly at the first sign of trouble, the best way to survive riots is to be prepared. That means you need to have the right survival gear on you at all times. In fact, the best way to whether any emergency is to always have your everyday carry kit.
Survival Sullivan lists down the important qualities of an everyday carry item but there are two main aspects. An EDC item should be small enough to fit your bag, purse or pocket and it should be useful in different emergency situations.
Food and Water
It’s always a good idea to have food and water in your everyday carry kit even if they’re readily available in stores. Always bring a water bottle or a hydration pack to stay hydrated. The water will also be useful in case you’re accidentally pepper-sprayed or tear-gassed by the police.
Invest on a personal water filter so you can quench your thirst even if there’s no clean water around. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, for example, removes 99.99% of unwanted stuff in the dirty water. It’s also really portable and lightweight so it won’t take too much space in your belongings.
Small food items such as trail mix and energy bars will get you through the day, especially if you skip a meal. This will help with your hunger pangs when a riot is keeping you from your favorite restaurant or getting home for a home-cooked meal.
Pocket Knife, Tactical Pen Knife
You need a way to protect yourself from threats. Most states allow people to carry blades as long as they’re three inches or shorter. The 5.5″ long Tactical Pen Knife by Frog & CO hides a 2.5-inch serrated blade under the cap. It also weighs only 1.6 ounces so you barely feel it when in your bag or pocket.
This tactical pen knife is sturdier than your average pen since it’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum so it won’t easily break when you drop it. Most importantly, it’s strong enough to do damage when you have to use it as a weapon.
Remember, though, that it’s for emergency purposes only. Avoid confrontations during riots and only use your tactical pen knife when SHTF.
A flashlight is one of the most basic items that should be in your everyday carry kit. Don’t settle for ordinary ones, though. Go for the tactical kind.
The GearLight S1000 LED Tactical Flashlight, which is available on Amazon in packs of two, is ten times brighter than an incandescent lamp. The wide area light beam can reach up to 1,000 feet so you’ll be able to spot a threat from far away.
(Related: Emergency Light Sources You Need To Own)
The GearLight comes with five different light settings, including an SOS mode to signal for help. It’s also water resistant and shockproof. In fact, it’ll withstand a 10-foot drop and being run over by truck.
Aside from your pocket knife, you should also have a multi-tool to use for different emergency purposes. The Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier comes with three blades, screwdrivers, wire cutter/stripper, bottle and can opener, and scissors, saw, and awl, aside from the needle nose pliers, of course.
The pocket-sized multi-tool measures 4 inches long and weighs 9.6 ounces. You can keep it in your pocket, bag, fanny pack, or man purse. You can even wear it on your belt like Batman using its carrying case.
The exceptionally durable stainless steel multifunction pliers is not only for camping or fishing, it can also help you survive riots and other emergency situations.
The pocket-sized multi-tool measures 5.5 inches long and weighs 0.5 pounds. You can keep it in your pocket, bag, fanny pack, or man purse. You can even wear it on your belt like Batman using its carrying case.
The exceptionally durable stainless steel backhand multi-function pliers is not only for camping or fishing, it can also help you survive riots and other emergency situations.
Even if you don’t smoke, you should always have a lighter or any other fire starter. You never know when you need to build fire for survival purposes or to light things up, like a Molotov. Kidding. You’re here to learn how to survive riots not join them.
The Tesla Select Plasma Lighter, made of glossy black zinc alloy, creates a spark of electricity in the dual arc that helps start a fire. It is windproof and weather-resistant so you can basically use it in any condition, a great characteristic of survival gears.
The 2.9-ounce plasma lighter comes with a USB to micro USB charging cord, which you can use to charge on a wall outlet plug or computer. A full charge takes 1.5 to 2 hours and lasts up to 300 sparks.
You won’t be using your emergency whistle to referee between protesters and the police. You’ll need it to survive riots.
The Micro Scream Whistle by Frog and Co, formerly Survival Frog, is 100 decibels of sound power. One blow and you’ll surely get the attention of the police or other people nearby in case you’re in trouble. The piercing sound will also help scare away any threat.
The pealess Micro Scream Whistle is unbelievably lightweight. It weighs only 0.2 ounces and comes in a flat design that makes it easier to shove in your pocket or add to your key chain.
You want your emergency whistle to be extremely durable and reliable so you can depend on it when the going gets tough. The Micro Scream is crafted from high-impact ABS plastic and is weather-resistant. In fact, you can still use it even if there’s too much moisture.
Just remember to use it only when SHTF. You don’t want to garner unwanted attention during riots and potentially become a target of both sides.
Pepper sprays are better self-defense options than pocket knives. They’re not as lethal and can be used from a safe distance.
Sabre 3-in-1 Advanced Compact Pepper Spray is one of the best-selling pepper sprays in the market and for a very good reason. A number of police departments use Sabre pepper sprays in their jobs mainly because of their stopping power and reliability.
Sabre’s 3-in-1 pepper spray not only utilizes its most powerful formula, it also uses tear gas. Plus, Sabre mixed in some UV marking dye to help identify the suspect. Another proof of its reliability is the amount of sprays each unit contain. One Sabre pepper spray can be used for up to 35 times while the rest can offer up to 5 sprays.
Another good thing about Sabre pepper sprays is its reach. Each spray can reach 10 feet, which is a safe enough distance for you to momentarily immobilize the threat and skedaddle out of there.
Sabre pepper sprays are also known for their longevity. Each one lasts for four years, which is twice as long as other brands.
Phone, Charger, Power Bank
Your phone is vital in emergency situations. In fact, it can be considered a multi-function survival tool. Use it to contact your loved ones to inform them of your situation. You can also dial 911 or call the authority for help.
A smartphone also acts as a wallet, flashlight, clock, GPS, compass, camera, and a radio. You can also look up or store important information such as this article on how to survive riots.
Since phones are important to survive riots and other disastrous conditions, you should make sure it has plenty of juice all the time. Keep a charger and power bank in your bag so you can recharge anytime.
The Anker Powercore 21000 Power Bank deserves a spot in your everyday carry kit. It features the PowerIQ and VintageBoost technologies that allow high-speed charging, which is important if you’re in a hurry to call for help.
The Anker Powercore also boasts of a huge 21000 mAh battery, which holds enough power to last seven days. To put it in a different perspective, each full charge of the Powercore can charge an iPhone 8 around seven times.
First Aid Kit
Since riots entail certain levels of violence, the possibility of you or someone near getting hurt is high. Always have a small first aid kit in your person. If you have a vehicle, there should also be a first aid kit aside from other supplies and survival items.
Lifeline’s First Aid in a Bottle is literally a first aid kit in a water bottle. It’s perfect for your everyday carry kit since you get a 26-ounce BPA-free wide mouth water bottle, which you can obviously use to keep water, and a bunch of first aid essentials.
The kit includes a pair of scissors, tweezers, different kinds of bandages and sterile gauze pads, alcohol prep pads, antiseptic towelettes, hand wipes, tissue and sting relief pads. You’ll also get an adhesive tape, emergency whistle, reusable zip lock bag, and a first aid guide, which you should read thoroughly before the need for the kit arises.
Bioscarf Air Filter Scarf
We’ve seen a number of riots where fire is involved. You have people throwing Molotov cocktails and setting garbage cans and cars on fire. And when there’s fire, there’s smoke. Plus, both rioters and anti-riot police sometimes use smoke grenades.
You can stay away from the fire but the smoke has a mind of its own. Protect yourself, especially your lungs, from inhaling deadly smoke by wearing a Bioscarf Air Filter Scarf.
The FDA certified scarf has a built in reusable and washable N95 air filter that can keep 99.75% of airborne pollutants like smoke, pollution, germs, and pollen out of your system.
The fashion forward and environment-friendly air mask is made of 100% polyester derived from recycled PVC and PET water bottles. Despite being made out of these materials, the Bioscarf is extremely soft and very warm.
Other EDC Items to Help You Survive Riots
Always have enough cash on you. You’ll need it in case you have to pay someone to get you out of such a dangerous situation. You should also have the proper identification, important medical information, and emergency contact numbers in your wallet. These will prove vital in case you’re hurt.
Survive Riots When At An Event
Riots are quite common in sports, especially soccer and hockey. Some fans are a little too passionate that they get violent after a loss. A frustrated crowd needs just one crazed fan to light the fuse and turn them into an angry mob.
And when their favorite team wins the championship, the celebrations can get a little too wild. Some overeager fans tend to express their delight in the wrong ways. A riot may break out when this happens.
Avoid Huge Crowds of Spectators
To survive riots in sporting events and other similar gatherings, you need to be prepared for such scenario. First of all, rethink your decision to watch the game live. If you really fear for your safety, you could be better of watching from home, a pub or a place that offers public but has a smaller crowd.
Know the Area
If you’re watching live, there are steps to take to ensure you’ll survive riots. Familiarize yourself with the area before entering the venue. Start with the routes you can take to and from the venue. While you’re at it, look for the best parking spaces, if you’re bringing a car. Choose a spot that’s far enough from a possible riot.
Take Note of the Exits
Make sure you know all the exit points and the paths leading to them. Look for areas where you can hide in case you can’t reach the exits in time. Be wary of fire extinguishers, as well, if they’re displayed in the venue.
Survive A Stampede
In case of a stampede, you must keep moving diagonally following the flow of the crowd. If you stop, the chances of you getting knocked down and trampled is far greater. It’s important to move diagonally and get to the edge of the crowd so you won’t get stuck at choke points or bottlenecks.
Also, you need to keep your arms up at chest level so you can push off and create space between you and the person in front. This will keep you from getting crushed and unable to breathe. Get a more detailed guide on surviving stampedes from Art of Manliness.
The tips above barely discuss everything one needs to know and do to survive riots. Do your due diligence and learn everything you can so you won’t find yourself on the beating end of a police baton or being chased down by an unruly mob. Follow Gentleman Pirate Club for more tips on how to survive riots, calamities, and other emergencies.
Just a disclaimer – We have partnered with these companies because we use their products and/or proudly trust and endorse them – so we do receive a commission if you make a purchase or sign up for services. Often, we are able to negotiate special discounts and/or bonuses, which we will pass on to you via our links. We often get short notice on sale items available for 24-48 hours as we will pass these savings onto you.