All over the world there are people who want to protest to get their point across. Many times, upheaval can occur with little or no warning and nowhere is immune. A riot can happen anytime, even when a peaceful demonstration is taking place. When you attend a rally or social event with your family it can be difficult to get everyone out safely, but with these tips you’ll have the upper hand.
Come prepared. If you know you’ll likely be facing a riot, bring a few safeguards.
- Water, to drink — and to flush eyes if pepper spray or riot control gases get involved.
- A bandana to keep in your backpack or purse. This can give some protection from riot control gas.
- Wear clothes that don’t expose skin if at all possible.
Have a plan in place. Before going to an event or protest where there is a high likelihood of turmoil, map out an escape route. Where can you all meet should you get lost in the shuffle? Make sure it’s a decent distance away from the original location. Stick to it and if anyone is missing 30 minutes after the riot starts, call for help.
Stay calm. If a riot or fight breaks out with multiple people, stay calm. Don’t freak out and panic and start running toward an exit. This could trigger others to do the same and trampling could occur. The weight of force from several scared and angry people can contribute to injury. Think clearly and walk slowly and calmly to the exit while still blending in, so as not to cause a scene. Remember that riot guns or other firearms could be used by rioters or security forces, so identify places you can shelter if shooting starts.
Keep loved ones close. If your family is with you, try not to get separated. One way is by locking hands, to prevent them from getting lost in the crowd. Tell family members not to take sides nor fight back against anyone involved in the riot.
During riots and unrest, people don’t think rationally. This could quickly turn deadly for your loved ones if a radical protester and his friends decide to overpower your family or come after one individual. Don’t confront an angry rioter and, if you’re approached, just agree with them to avoid conflict.
Blend in with the crowd. If you get to a meet-up or march and you suddenly see a protesting group in yellow start beating people up or overpowering a smaller crowd, get rid of your yellow hat. The same goes for your entourage. You and your family don’t want to be associated with either side of a fight, because this makes you a target.
No one wants to get involved in a violent riot, but the truth is these things happen. At seminars, speaking engagements and rallies, innocent people are vulnerable. Keep your family safe by remembering these tips and sticking together.
Have you ever been in or near a riot? If so, reply to your email and share your story. We would love to hear from you!
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