How to Survive a Riot & Live to Tell About

Posted: November 28, 2014 in All Others, SHTF Preparedness, Survival and Skills
Tags: , , , , ,

With what is occurring all over the world, each and every one of us need to be aware of not only basic wilderness skills but also urban survival skills. Perhaps the most important group of skills to know is “How to Survive a Riot”.

How to Survive a Riot & Live to Tell About It!

Picture yourself in a large metropolitan area, having lunch with a couple of old friends, when all of the sudden, a breaking news flash comes on the TV showing a reporter at a protest not far from the restaurant you’re at. As you and your friends are eating you notice that the crowd is growing larger and more restless. The restaurant is becoming tense and quite, several patrons are leaving without finishing their meal. Suddenly the manager comes out, and announces that the restaurant is now closed and that everyone should leave. The TV is now showing the police in riot gear, the protesters have begun closing the distance between them and the cops. As you are leaving the restaurant, you see on the TV the first volley of teargas being thrown into the crowd. You step outside and hear the rioters moving in your direction fast, trying to escape the teargas and police. Your car is parked in the direction that rioters are now coming from. Cut off from your only means of escape, what do you do now?

Caught in Riot

The decision you make in this situation may either save your life or get you killed. There are several things you could do, but what should you do? Let’s take a look at something’s that you should to do that could mean the difference between life and death.

Keep your head – First and foremost stay calm and assess the situation and the environment around you. When you are stressed your adrenaline will begin to flow through your circulatory system and the flight or fight response will begin to kick in. You want to use this to your advantage, not let it control you. Take a couple of deep breaths and try to think rationally. You need to develop a survival strategy that will carry you through until you can safety move out of the area.

Avoid getting involved – Once you have developed an immediate survival strategy, keep your wits up and begin to execute that strategy. Keep your head down, try to look as inconspicuous as possible while maintaining your situational awareness. Try to become more aware of your surroundings, looking for the safest direction to move that will afford you an opportunity to escape the situation safely. Don’t create a commotion or draw attention to yourself.

Move away – Look for a plausible escape route away from the riot. A route that you can safely reach and one that will take you in another direction from the moving crowd. If there is no escape route that will away from the riot, look for shelter. Move toward the edge of the crowd if possible and try not to become a point of attention or lose your footing.

Curl up

Curl up into a ball to protect yourself.

Remember, if the crowd is trying to escape law enforcement, they will be moving fast and erratic. The crowd will be unconcerned about anything else other than escaping the threat of law enforcement. If you go down, you will likely be on the wrong end of a trampling. If you do go down, curl up in to a tight ball and protect you head and face. This way you will be protecting your vital organs.

Go with the flow – If you find yourself caught up in the moving crowd of rioters, move with the flow of people and watch where you are stepping until you reach an escape point such as a doorway, ally or something that can provide you some sort of shelter. Avoid jumping into dumpsters. Most dumpsters are on wheels and may be moved by the crowd and set on fire. Try to stay in the perimeter of the crowd. Stay close to protective barriers such as walls and fences, however avoid bottleneck areas such as planters, closed walkways and any other structure that may be a choke point where you are liable to be smashed into.

Seek shelter – Once you arrive at a point where you can separate yourself from the crowd, make your move with a purpose, but do not run. If you move into a doorway, stay there until the crowd and law enforcement passes. If teargas is deployed, try to use a make-shift filter to protect your airway. Once law enforcement passes, make your way back to your car and leave the area. If you are detained by law enforcement, tell them the truth about what happened and provide them any sort of work ID or any other written document in reference why you are at this location. You may also want to show them where your car is parked and the where the restaurant or your office is located. Chances are they will let you go.

Detained by law enforcement.

Detained by law enforcement.

If you make your way into a building, move towards the back of the building. Avoid any windows or doors facing the direction of the crowd. If possible lock the door behind you and find the rear exit if the building has one. If the building does have a back door, when it is safe to do so leave the area and make your way back to your car or office. If the building does not have a back door, stay inside the building until the danger has passed. Once peace has been restored to the area, leave the building and make your way to a safer area.


Detained by law enforcement.

Detained by law enforcement.

Remember, if you do get detained by the police, cooperate with them and answer all their questions truthfully. More than likely you will not be arrested and will be released as soon the area clears.

Riots and protest can be very scary. If you maintain your head and remember the basics of any survival situation, you will be able to survive and live to tell the tale.


  1. Jim says:

    Very good article: in bad neighborhoods, etc. avoid eye contact in general and keep moving. Don’t
    give a reason for a “negative” to seek response. It’s worked for me for decades-learn to become
    streetwise. JW


  2. Omega Tactical and Survival says:

    Reblogged this on Omega Tactical and Survival and commented:
    Great article from Backyard Prepper US.
    The best thing is avoid getting stuck in a mob if you have notice , but if you do follow these tips to successfully make it to safety.


  3. PrepNow says:

    Great reminders on how to avoid and evade riot situations!

    Also remember that there are usually 3 types of individuals involved in riots: rioters, profiteers, and victims. Obviously, the first two are the ones to avoid/evade. Rioters will burn and destroy while the profiteers come to pilfer and loot.

    When your evading a riot DO NOT look like a victim. Move swift but sure, look sure of yourself with a determined look on your face, with your eyes moving from side to side and your head up.

    DO NOT get cornered. Dead ends, alleyways and such may be death traps.


  4. Prepper Farm says:

    Great advice. I hope I never need to use it. I’ve never heard of a riot in the place I live, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever visit another city and find myself in an unforeseen situation like this.


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