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Riot Safety

As violent protests across the U.S. leave fear and destruction in their wake, we all have important questions to consider. What would we do if a riot erupted near us? How would we protect ourselves and our families? How would we keep our homes or our businesses safe? Advance planning is the answer. Crisis planning is essential for individuals, families, and business owners of all sizes. Every household and business – however small or large – should have a plan in place covering a range of emergencies, from civil unrest to fires, severe weather, natural disasters, pandemics, violent acts, and other potential risks.

While some events are unpredictable, there are often indications that spell danger, such as general civil unrest, announcements of protests or public gatherings, and pending legal decisions on controversial matters. Know what is going on in your community. Follow local news and social media so you recognize warning signs. Then implement your crisis plan right away – not after the situation becomes dangerous or threatening.

Following are examples of precautions that might be part of a comprehensive crisis plan.

  • Install shutters/bars or keep supplies to temporarily board up uncovered windows
  • Fence or gate open areas to secure outdoor property
  • Remove ladders or other means of accessing roof
  • Install exterior cameras to deter looters and vandals
  • Consider perimeter protection (eg, permanent walls/gates or temporary barricades)
  • Make shelter-in-place plans (at a business) or identify a secure room/space (at home)
  • Assemble emergency kit of necessities
  • Investigate what insurance does/does not cover and review limits
  • Arrange for security company to provide security officers trained in emergency response
  • Make arrangements to re-locate business temporarily (if possible)
  • Plan where you and your family will stay if you leave home
  • Practice emergency response plans with household members and employees
  • Educate your family and/or employees about staying safe in riot situations:
    • Don’t drive into the midst of rioting or protesting activity – retreat immediately and drive away as quickly as possible.
    • If on foot, stay to the perimeter of the activity, out of range of flying objects, and leave the area as soon as possible. Be “the gray man” – the person who blends into the shadows and does not attract attention.
    • Always call for law enforcement help if you need it; response may be delayed but do not assume help is not available
    • Trust trained law enforcement and/or security officers to defend you. Avoid taking matters – or weapons – into your own hands.

Trying to figure out what to do in the midst of a crisis is a recipe for disaster. Make crisis planning a priority now to stay safe later, if the unexpected happens.

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