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22 Tips To Stay Safe In A Crowd Or Riot



Feature | People Gathering During Sunset | Tips To Stay Safe In A Crowd Or Riot

Stay safe in a crowd with these preventive measures and safety precautions so you can protect yourself before, during, and after a stampede or riot!

In this article:

  1. Research About the Venue of the Event
  2. Be Prepared
  3. Remain Calm
  4. Pay Attention to Your Intuition and Feelings
  5. Move On
  6. Avoid Confrontation
  7. Go with the Flow
  8. Stick to the Edge of the Crowd
  9. Always Carry Around a Small Amount of Cash
  10. Always Have Your Gear on You
  11. Prepare for an Attack
  12. Avoid Bottleneck Areas
  13. Avoid Law Enforcement
  14. Get Upwind or Escape to Higher Ground
  15. Watch Your Step
  16. Keep Your Loved Ones Close
  17. Arrange a Meeting Place
  18. Avoid Heavily Congested Areas
  19. Deterring Pickpockets
  20. Blend In
  21. Don’t Run from the Crowd
  22. Seek Shelter

Stay Safe: Know What to Do When a Riot Breaks Out

1. Research About the Venue of the Event

This may be the best preventive measure you can practice because awareness of your surroundings makes you alert. Memorize the entrance and exit points, emergency evacuation protocols, parking areas, and other facilities in reference to where you will be sitting.

2. Be Prepared

Why wait until you find yourself in an unlikely situation? It is best to be prepared at all times so if it does happen, you will know what to do. Always remember, prevention is better than cure.

3. Remain Calm

Group of People | Tips To Stay Safe In A Crowd Or Riot
For sure, your adrenaline will fly right off the roof, but keeping your emotions in check, even if those around are frantic, should be your main priority. It will take tons of effort to remain composed and bring yourself to a safer place, but a steady nerve will keep you secure and safe.

4. Pay Attention to Your Intuition and Feelings

If you choose to be in such a crowd, you need to follow your intuition and feelings when it comes to the mood of the crowd. Staying safe is quite parallel to alertness, and you’ll definitely feel it when things start to go south.

5. Move On

As fast as you can, leave the area when protesters start to become unstable. So if there’s a need to sprint, do it by all means.

You don’t want to get caught up with a huge crowd running at the same time as you.

6. Avoid Confrontation

While looking for a safe exit, you should keep your head down. While you’re at it, chances are, you’ll get pushed or hit, but don’t retaliate and just keep on going.

7. Go with the Flow

Man in jacket walking in the street | Tips To Stay Safe In A Crowd Or Riot
The objective is to be able to get away from the crowd the fastest way with as little harm as possible. Even if it leads you the opposite way of where you intend to go, just go.

As soon as you’re out of harm’s way, then you can proceed to the next safety measure.

8. Stick to the Edge of the Crowd

It is much safer to stay in this part of the crowd and away from the leaders or agitators. This way, you’ll have walls to cling on and with a bit of luck, you may just come across an alley you can escape to.

9. Always Carry Around a Small Amount of Cash

You’ll never know when you might need cash, so always have a few bucks with you to help you stay safe. Purchase a basic need for survival, arranging for quick transportation, and paying off looters are the basic examples of when cash might come in handy.

10. Always Have Your Gear on You

Handgun, knife, and flashlight on the wooden table | Tips To Stay Safe In A Crowd Or Riot
If you really need to leave your house, it’s better to leave packed with a gun, a knife, or a tactical pen. If you’re the type who can’t pull the trigger though, a pepper spray may be just for you.

11. Prepare for an Attack

Crowd behavior in a riot is extremely complex, but pulling out a gun or a knife should always be your last resort. You don’t want your weapon to be used against you, and it could easily be the case.

However, if it’s a matter of survival, it is vital that you use it to your advantage by creating space as a means to escape. If you fail to do so at exactly the right moment, the results could be fatal.

RELATED: Stay Prepared With This DIY Riot Mask

12. Avoid Bottleneck Areas

These areas where a lot of people will try to squeeze through a small opening. Once chaos strikes, it will be a death trap for those caught in it.

13. Avoid Law Enforcement

The common riot police do not know if you’re one of the violent ones nor do they care. The further you are from them, the better it is for you from taking the full impact of their response.

14. Get Upwind or Escape to Higher Ground

Worst case scenario, the riot police throws in tear gas. If this does happen, going uphill or a building rooftop is advised since tear gas stays low to the ground.

15. Watch Your Step

With the sea of people around you, it is easy to trip and fall, and you can be trampled amidst the chaos of a stampede or a riot. For that, you may suffer from fatal injuries and that is something you don’t want to happen.

16. Keep Your Loved Ones Close

When you’re with loved ones, their safety is first priority so stick together and lock elbows or grip your hands together while moving towards a safe location.

17. Arrange a Meeting Place

Signage in the Street | Tips To Stay Safe In A Crowd Or Riot
No matter how hard you try to hold on to each other in a heavy crowd, the chances of getting separated are high. That’s why you should agree on a meeting place beforehand.

18. Avoid Heavily Congested Areas

If you happen to break away from a crowd, chances are, you might come across other groups of rioters.

19. Deterring Pickpockets

Bring only what you need because you don’t want these unnecessary items in your way come riot or stampede. They can even cause you harm, too.

Women should have their purse run along the front of their bodies with one hand on it. Men also should have wallets or cell phones in their front pockets.

20. Blend In

Make sure you don’t stand out in the crowd. Otherwise, you might as well paint a bullseye sign on your back and one way to do that is to wear muted colors.

21. Don’t Run from the Crowd

Just act like them until you find an opportunity to slowly break away once you get to the outermost part of the mob.

22. Seek Shelter

Man in the Basement | Tips To Stay Safe In A Crowd Or Riot
Securing oneself in a self-contained building or one with a basement can be a good move to steer clear of the full force of a riot. Always remember that a crowd of protesters can kick off in a peaceful manner.

However, the longer it continues, it will definitely attract a variety of participants and as the numbers continue to rise, emotions will run high. Thus, the greater the chances of a full-scale riot.


Watch this video by DrBones NurseAmy to get more tips on how to stay safe during a protest or riot:

If you happen to be caught in the middle of civil unrest or a sea of people at an event, to be safe, make sure you apply these tips for staying safe in a crowd or riot.

Chances are, you and your loved ones may get out of it. Maybe not unscathed, but alive and breathing.

Have you been stuck in this predicament before? Share your experience in the comments section below!

Up Next: 13 Top Survival Skills | Learn Now, Survive Later

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 23, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Terry W Smith

    February 24, 2018 at 4:03 PM

    good basic common sense tips …. glad you put them out ….

  2. Robert V

    February 24, 2018 at 5:59 PM

    Item #13 when, I am in a 3rd world country, I go a different direction, when I see the police.

  3. Anonymous

    February 24, 2018 at 6:08 PM

    As a trained combat medic and civilian Paramedic,I learned to always be prepared. I assess every environment that I enter and plan multiple escape routes. When I am working,I always try to not let anybody,get between me and one of multiple exits. People need to remain cognizant,at all times and highly alert of what is going on around them. There were times,when my martial arts training,helped me to escape,without causing detrimental harm. That was all due to my preparedness,alertness and ability to remain calm. GREAT ARTICLE.

  4. Joel W

    February 24, 2018 at 6:43 PM

    Acknowledging that sometimes an ‘incident’ might be entirely unavoidable, might want to add just stay away from certain events that are known to get ugly, ie political rallies. Always overflowing with useful idiots, agents provocateur and other various bad actors as well as people who just look for any reason to riot. Plus your presence at rallies is guaranteed federal surveillance.

  5. Biagio

    February 24, 2018 at 8:17 PM

    Wear shoes that will stay on if you have to move fast…leave sandals and flip flops at home

  6. Carl Thomas

    February 24, 2018 at 9:45 PM

    My best unsolicited advice is stay away from large gatherings; I.E. concerts, protests etc. People=Trouble in these tumultuous times. Some of the photo’s supplied with this article boggle my mind in terms of seeing thousands of people packed like sardines, shoulder to shoulder. Not too bright to me in terms of engaging in such potentially risky behavior. This is a great article for those that get caught up in such a situation unwittingly, but if you have choice then the best bet is to stay away. Protests accomplish nothing. It’s far better for a thousand people to write snail mail letters to their Congressional representative or to peacefully protest outside their offices to pressure them to enact legislation for change etc. Politicians don’t like the the light of public opinion shining upon them personally.

    • Matrix

      March 5, 2018 at 10:33 AM

      Yes. Rule #1 is don’t be there on the X.

  7. Anonymous

    February 25, 2018 at 3:36 AM

    The tips are well thought of and should prove really useful.

  8. Toivo

    February 25, 2018 at 5:21 AM

    In a restaurant, sit where you can see the door.

  9. Clergylady

    February 26, 2018 at 10:49 PM

    Good advice. I prefere to avoid crowds and even cities. But I have been in too many big cities to miss one today. If I wanted to see a concert or big game… I’d watch tv. Don’t even do a lot of that…

  10. Michael Sanchez

    February 27, 2018 at 3:48 PM


  11. Anonymous

    March 2, 2018 at 1:17 PM

    Awesome info, also right on the money. But as you know not everybody has common sense. Like don’t go in the first place.

  12. femvet

    March 11, 2018 at 9:40 PM

    Be where you can see the action, be ready to move swiftly, don’t go to places that are crowed. In a restaurant keep your back covered, keep sight of the door and another exit point. When on the road, don’t take the same routes to commmonly traveled places and to your home. The article was really good for a crowd event. There are the daily things that people have to be prepared for, too.

  13. Camille Devaux

    October 3, 2018 at 8:01 PM

    It makes a lot of sense that you would want to not run away. This way you do not draw any unnecessary attention to yourself or anyone else. My friend would love knowing this since she was talking about police tactical helmets the other day.

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