Riots, Looting and Civil Unrest – How to Stay Safe

Whether it is an isolated incident like Hurricane Katrina wreaking havoc on New Orleans, or a natural disaster or terror attack creating widespread panic, or an economic collapse resulting in rioting and looting, many respected experts believe that civil unrest could be in our future. Without even considering what precipitates it, it is a good idea to have an understanding of what could happen and how to keep yourself and your family safe.

The Safest Place To Be During Civil Unrest

The majority of deaths and injuries happen to people who are out on the streets – whether they are there to fight, loot or just stand in line for food or water. Rule Number One therefore, is stay off the streets and prepare yourself and your family so there is no need to venture outside the safety of your home.

Typically the only reason that a law-abiding citizen would have for going out during a time of civil unrest is if they needed food or water, in case the utilities were interrupted. Therefore, if you have food and water supplies in your home, you can stay where it is safest – inside.

If the power grid is shut off, most municipalities have only enough backup generator power to keep the water pressure up for 3 days. After that, or perhaps much sooner, you will be out of water. However, there is still plenty of drinkable water left in your home even after your faucet stops working. Your water heater alone holds 40 or more gallons of water that can be drained, and by opening the faucet in the highest part of the house you can drain the water remaining in the pipes out of the lowest faucet in the house long after water pressure is lost. If you’ve had the foresight to store drinking water in thick plastic bottles (like juice bottles or soda bottles), you can last even longer. A gallon per day per person will suffice for drinking and cooking.

With respect to food, everyone should store up at least a few weeks of extra non-perishables in their pantry. If you store what you normally eat and rotate it on the shelves, you will never lose money throwing food away, but you will have the peace of mind knowing that you will not have to risk injury or death by going out onto dangerous streets.

The Most Dangerous Place to Be During Civil Unrest

Making the decision to “bug-out” or leave your home is a very big decision. As soon as you leave your home, you become a refugee, and bad things happen to many refugees. If you leave a moment too late, you could run out of gas on a highway that is bumper to bumper and backed up for many miles.

If you do absolutely have to leave, the best time to have worked out what to take with you is well ahead of time – when you are not panicked. Generally you’ll want to take a box with your important papers, blankets, extra clothes, toiletries and food and water. Don’t forget a can opener. If you have time, it is a good idea to turn off the water.

The Moral of the Story

None of the preparations discussed here will cost you extra money. However, if you look at how the refugees fared in Hurricane Katrina, hoping and waiting for government help, you will see that preparations can save your family a whole lot during an emergency. Be wise and be prepared, and you will not regret it.

For the specific plans about being prepared, you can go to a ‘nuts and bolts’ regular guy Prepper YouTube channel at

Mike Kuykendall is an expert in Emergency Preparedness, Disaster Planning and Urban Survival affiliated with Survive2Day. His articles are featured at, and is a contributor to the book “When the Last Bubble Bursts: Survival Without the Tinfoil Hat.

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