Of the many events that can spark a situation that requires prepping, none are as unpredictable and volatile as civil disorder. That is why having a list that helps you prepare for civil unrest is such an important step to take in the modern world.
Ensuring the safety of your family is the priority. The safety of your home comes second when it comes to how you prepare for civil unrest. It’s impossible to know from what direction trouble will come because so much of it is fueled by a mob mentality. But the key is making sure you are ready no matter what form the trouble takes.
What Does “Civil Unrest” Mean?
A strict definition of civil unrest or civil disorder comes from federal law: “Any public disturbance involving acts of violence by assemblages of three or more persons, which causes an immediate danger of or results in damage or injury to the property or person of any other individual.”
Plenty of situations can spark civil unrest. In the summer of 2020, it involved protests against law enforcement. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, prohibits the government from interfering with people’s right to peacefully assemble and “petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.” But those protests can sometimes evolve into something far removed from “peaceful assembly,” which is what happened that summer.
Other causes include natural disasters, reactions to court decisions, reactions to new laws, or the results of a presidential election. The bottom line is that people in large groups often become governed by emotions, and unchecked emotions can lead to civil unrest.
Ideas to Prep for Civil Unrest
By its very nature, civil unrest is unpredictable. However, some people live in places more likely to experience unrest. They especially should prepare for civil unrest. But it’s not a bad idea to prepare no matter where you live. These tips can get you started on the right path.
Watch For Signs of Potential Riots
It’s not like people get an alert on their phone letting them know that in three days, civil unrest will strike their neighborhood. But there are things to keep an eye on. For example, an upcoming court decision (such as in the Rodney King case) or a big political moment (such as the certification of an election.)
Of course, events such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, grid down scenarios and financial collapses offer little warning. That’s why preparation is key.
Meet the Basic Needs
As with any type of prepping, start with meeting basic needs. These include food, water, and basic first aid. Also, always prepare for the loss of power by storing plenty of batteries and flashlights. Other items to consider for packing in a bug out bag should you have to leave your home:
- A dependable knife
- Maps of the local area
- Durable clothing
- Bedding (sleeping bag, small tent)
- Hand sanitizers and wipes
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper
Establish Rally Points
You will want to pick places where you can meet with friends and family in case they (or you) are forced to leave their homes. Make sure these rendezvous or rally points are far from congested areas, easily accessible and unlikely targets for rioters. These include relatives’ homes, public parks and churches.
Agree on Evacuation Routes
As with rally points, every family member (as well as friends and family who do not live in your home) should know the best evacuation routes from the area. Getting out is always the priority if things really go off the rails and authorities lose the ability to contain the situation. Have at least three options. Avoid major highways or well-traveled surface roads.
Protecting Your Home
When it comes to preparing your home for riots, there are several measures to take that will reduce the chance of becoming a victim of a raging mob. They include the following.
- Fencing. Placing a fence around your property provides protection that doesn’t depend on a functioning power grid.
- Security. If the power stays on, having security cameras mounted around your home can deter rioters.
- Dogs. Dogs are one the best deterrents against thieves, and they can also convince rioters to leave your home alone.
- Keep watch. If you have plenty of people in the house, make sure to keep watch around different areas of your property and have clear lines of sight.
Plan on the worst case scenario, which includes losing cell phone towers or the ability to recharge phones. Fortunately, there are many choices for communication, including short-range devices, HAM Radio and CB Radio.
Keeping these ideas in mind can help you develop a solid plan to prepare for civil unrest. The hope for every prepper is that none of it is ever required. But given the state of the world, it’s better to have a plan in place than fly by the seat of your pants when trouble hits.