Safety During Protests

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Be Prepared

  • Get familiar with your area.
  • Think about possible escape routes and safe havens. Crossroads are good because you have more than one direction to move.
  • Make sure you know several routes for getting home from work.
  • Carry small amounts of cash in case you need to quickly arrange transportation or fill basic needs.

Remain Calm

  • Riots and protests bring intense emotions boiling to the surface. Keep your emotions in check.
  • Avoid confrontation by keeping your head down.
  • Walk at all times. Running may attract unwanted attention.


Though it may seem dramatic, an angry mob can be just as dangerous and unpredictable as just about any natural disaster. Riots and protests erupt from a number of racial, religious, economic, political, or social causes that cannot be predetermined. If you find yourself in the middle of a protest, you may not be able to run away immediately, but you can take some measures to protect yourself from harm.

Keep Loved Ones Close

  • If you’re not alone, grip the hands or lock elbows with all people who are with you.
  • Children should be carried so they don’t get trampled.
  • Sticking together with your loved ones is your first priority. The second priority is moving away from the protests.
  • Reassure your loved ones that you have strength in numbers and will be fine if you stick together.

Don’t Get Involved

  • If you’re caught in a riot or protest, the last thing you want to do is try to take sides, help out, or stand out.
  • Stand out as little as possible as you move away from the protests or riot.
  • Stay close to walls or other barriers but avoid bottlenecks or any areas where a lot of people are moving through a narrow space

Drive appropriately if you’re in a car

  • Unless your car is the focus for an angry mob, you should stay in the car and continue driving calmly.
  • Keep to streets that are clear of riots. Don’t attempt to drive through a protest or riot.
  • Avoid main roads that are more likely to be occupied by protesters.
  • If someone tries to block your car, honk your car horn and keep driving until he moves out of the way. This doesn’t mean you should hit the person.
  • Drive at moderate speed so they have time to back off.
  • Keep going unless you absolutely can’t.
  • Be firm in your driving, but not aggressive.

Move Away From the Riot as Calmly as Possible

  • If you’re on foot, you should move away by going with the flow of foot traffic, not against it.
  • If you go against the traffic, you may be stampeded, get pushed or blocked.
  • If you think you may fall down in a big crowd and get trampled, use your elbows to push down on the crowd so that it carries you.
  • Don’t “run for your life” – move calmly and relatively slowly.
  • Continue to move with the crowd until you can escape into a safer area.

Avoid Heavy-Traffic Areas

  • Avoid areas that are most likely to be crowded. Stay off the beaten path.
  • Avoid major roads. Major roads, shopping centers, intersections and other high traffic areas are likely to be crowded with rioters and protesters.
  • Avoid public transportation.

Move to a Safe Enclosed Area

  • You can protect yourself just by moving inside a sturdy building. Being in a any safe building is safer than being out on the streets.
  • Lock the doors and windows and stay away from them. Watching the riot from the windows will increase your chances of getting hurt.
  • Move to rooms that do not lead directly outside to avoid getting hit by stones, bullets or other objects.
  • Look out for fire.

Stay Informed

  • Use social media and local radio or TV for alerts. Social media may provide information very quickly, although not as accurately.
  • Remember that staying informed can help you know what areas should be avoided.

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