How to Survive a Riot…… by Wikihow
Be prepared… If you know an area is ripe for a riot but you can’t avoid traveling there, take some simple precautions to help protect yourself. First, be prepared for the worst; the unexpected can happen at any moment. Crowds are dangerous when they’re in an ugly mood and normally placid people can turn frenzied just by being in the presence of other frenzied people.
Wear dark clothes that minimize the amount of exposed skin (long pants and long-sleeved shirts) when going out. Do not wear clothing that could be interpreted as military or police wear in any way; avoid wearing anything that looks like a uniform.
Carry toothpaste with you. Smear it under your eyes if tear gas is released and you have nothing else available to protect you.
Take a motorcycle helmet with you. If bricks or other large items are being thrown about, at least you protect your vulnerable head.
Think about your possible escape routes and safe havens before anything actually happens. Crossroads are the best because you’ve got at least one road to race off down if rioters go crazy or the police start charging.
Carry small amounts of cash with you in case you need to quickly arrange transportation, pay off looters, or bribe police at a checkpoint.
If you’re traveling abroad, register with your country’s consulate and carry your passport and/or visa with you at all times. Even domestically, have ID and emergency contact information on you in case you are arrested or become unconscious.
Take your telephone, two if possible (one in your pocket and one in a bag). If one is lost or taken, you still have another one.
Look for homes that can serve as “safe houses”. If you can, talk to the owners first.
If you’re a woman and on your period, opt to use pads instead of tampons and make sure you have extras on you. If you get arrested, you don’t want to risk toxic shock syndrome in jail. You might also consider a menstrual cup.
Remain calm…. Riots bring intense emotions boiling to the surface, but if you want to survive one you’d be better off keeping your own emotions in check. Your adrenaline and survival instincts will kick in, but strive to think rationally and pursue safety methodically.
Have sugar candies on hand. Adrenalin will drain you of energy quickly and a sugar hit will help you move out faster.
Avoid confrontation by keeping your head down.
Walk at all times. If you run or move too quickly, you might attract unwanted attention.
Get inside and stay inside… Typically riots occur in the streets or elsewhere outside. Being inside, especially in a large, sturdy structure, can be your best protection to weather the storm such as a basement, sub-basement or sub-sub-basement or an interior doorway to hide from the mob.
Keep doors and windows locked, avoid watching the riot from windows or balconies, and try to move to inside rooms, where the danger of being hit by stones or bullets is minimized.
Try to find at least two possible exits in case you need to evacuate the building in a hurry.
Try to contact police or your country’s consulate to let them know where you are, and be on the lookout for signs of fire. If the building is set on fire get out quickly.
If rioters are targeting the building and gain entry, try to sneak out or hide.
Stay on the sidelines… If you’re caught up in a riot, don’t take sides. Try to look as inconspicuous as possible, and slowly and carefully move to the outside of the mob. Stay close to walls or other protective barriers if possible but try to avoid bottlenecks. These are areas where the crowd can be squashed into a tight place, such as tunnels, pillars, high fences and walls that go on for a long way.
If you’re caught up in a car… stay calm. Remain inside the car unless your car becomes a focus for the riot, in which case it risks being torched, smashed or rolled over. Calmly and swiftly leave it behind and get to safety if that happens.
If you have no alternative but to drive, keep to streets away from the rioting. Avoid all main routes and keep alert for news of where people are.
Don’t stop your car. If you’re lucky enough to have a car that you can drive away from the riot, drive quickly and try not to stop for anything until you’ve reached someplace you know is safe. If people seem to block your escape route; honk your horn, and carefully drive through or around them at a moderate speed, and they should get out of the way.
Driving towards police lines can be interpreted by the police as a preparation to use the car as a weapon against them. Police are trained and prepared to protect themselves against deadly threats meaning that you may be shot at if they think you are going to run them down with a car.
Activists’ fear of cars can be a reality as there have been numerous cases of irate non-participants running down protesters. Any pushing though the crowd should be done with the demeanor of patience, aggression may lead to an attempt to disable your car before it is used as a weapon.
Use the social media to alert you as to where to stay away from. Just as the rioters have started using social media and texting to alert one another where to go, you can flip this on its head and ask people to help you know where to stay away from. Messages informing you of which streets and areas are currently being targeted provide you with instantaneous warnings of where to avoid.
Avoid being hit by riot control chemicals or weapons. Police may deploy riot control agents (tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, for example) to disperse a crowd. These weapons and chemicals can cause severe pain, respiratory distress, and blindness. Try to stay away from the front lines of a riot, and learn to recognize the signs that a riot control agent has been used and how to handle exposure.
Avoid wearing oil based moisturizer or sunscreen as chemicals cling to these on your skin. Remove with detergent-free soap before going near the riot.
Wear glasses rather than contact lenses; tear gas behind contact lenses is unimaginable pain. Swimming goggles can protect eyes, or a gas mask.
Put wet bandannas in a plastic bag and carry these for your mouth. Wrap them around your mouth if tear gas is released. They need constant replacement as they will keep soaking up the gas.
Wear vinyl or latex gloves to protect your hands from pepper spray; the nerve endings will make them feel like agony if sprayed.
Carry spare clothes to change if you’re hit by chemicals or a water cannon. Put them in a plastic bag for protection.
Avoid rubbing your hands or fingers into eyes, nose, mouth etc. after a chemical attack. Stay calm.
Never hang around when bullets, gas and cannons are being deployed. These riot control agents can kill if they hit you in the wrong way and even if they don’t, they can maim and hurt you horrendously. If you’re so hurt that you fall down and cannot get up again, you also risk being trampled by the fleeing and terrified crowd.
Move away from the riot. The more time you spend in the midst of a riot, the greater your chance of being injured or killed. That said, in most circumstances it’s better to move out of a riot slowly.
If you run, you will draw attention to yourself, so it’s usually best to walk.
It can also be dangerous to move against a crowd, so go with the flow until you are able to escape into a doorway or up a side street or alley.
It may also be advantageous to stay with the crowd until you are certain you can safely escape because it will help you remain inconspicuous and improve your odds of survival if shots are fired.
Think of crowd movement like currents in the ocean. In a large riot, the crowd in the middle will be moving faster than the people on the perimeters. As such, if you find yourself in the middle, you should not try to move in a different direction, but follow the flow and slowly make your way to the outside. This requires patience in order to work properly.
Avoid major roads. Major roads, squares, and other high traffic areas are likely to be crowded with rioters. If possible, stick to less-traveled side streets to avoid the mobs.
Avoid public transportation. Buses, subways, and trains will likely be out of service, and stations and depots will probably be packed with people. Even if you succeed in getting on a train or bus, rioters may stop it or be taking rides on it themselves. Subway stations are particularly bad places to be, both because they are generally difficult to escape and because riot control agents are generally heavier than air and may drift down into subway stations and accumulate there.
Get to a safe place, and stay put. Choose a safe haven carefully. Sometimes it can be as close as your hotel room, but other times you’ll need to get out of the country entirely. If you’re abroad, you will generally want to head to your country’s embassy or the airport. Try to contact the embassy before going there, however, to let them know you’re coming and to find out if it is safe to go there. If a mob is gathered outside, embassy staff may be able to direct you to a safer place. In any case, just try to put as much distance as possible between yourself and the riot.
Homemade decontamination spray
If you know you have to go out into the rioting crowd, try to make this spray before leaving. This recipe is taken from Rosie Garthwaite’s book How to avoid being killed in a war zone. However, this spray does only work when being confronted with agents such as CS and CN. The decontamination spray does NOT work when you have been exposed to OC, also known as “Pepper Spray”.
Find some antacid. Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Gaviscon, Eno, Milk of Magnesia, Alka-Seltzer are all suitable or use bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).
Dilute with water.
Add to a spray bottle that you can easily carry.
Spray on eyes, nose and skin if you are attacked by chemicals. The spray will help to neutralize the attack.
If you have been exposed to OC (“Pepper Spray”) rinse your eyes with as much fresh water as possible. Also wash your mouth, nose and any other part of your body that had contact to OC. However, do not drink the water after flushing your mouth!