How Can You Prepare For Civil Unrest?

Civil unrest and how to deal in that situation

While you might think you won’t ever find yourself in a situation of civil unrest, how can you be sure?

With all the tension and stress in the world, these occurrences are happening more regularly. Civil unrest can involve looting, demonstrations, and violent riots.

How can civil unrest be dangerous to you? While you might not participate in such activities, you can find yourself in situations of violence. 

Civil unrest involves mass disobedience that authorities battle to control. Things can get out of hand very fast, putting resources you rely on such as food and power at risk.

That’s why you have to stay on top of things and prepare for the worst. 

How To Predict Civil Unrest 

How To Predict Civil Unrest

There are ways in which you can predict civil unrest. By keeping a close eye on what’s happening around you, you can see it coming before it takes you by surprise.

  1. Watch the news. It’s important to stay informed about things. If there’s a bit of disruption or looting in the city, this could escalate into serious unrest so you want to know about it. It’s especially alarming if you see that one specific type of issue is coming up a lot in the news.
  2. Check social media. Be aware of fake news, which runs rampant on social media. It’s better to follow accounts related to local government and emergency services, as these will give you information you can trust. 
  3. Talk to others. It’s good to gauge how other people in your neighborhood and social circle are feeling. If you can sense worry and concern, this should make you a bit more concerned. It’s also useful to see what other people are planning in case the worst-case scenario does happen. 

Should You Bug In Or Bug Out?

There are basically two ways in which you can approach civil unrest.

One is to shelter in place and the other is to grab your belongings and leave the city. Let’s explore these two options in greater detail so you can see how to prepare for them.

Sheltering In Place

Staying home and ensuring you have everything you need is a good idea because it’s convenient – you already have shelter and you don’t have to drive anywhere.

It’s also worth considering that you might not always be able to leave your home and bug out, such as if the unrest has made the authorities enforce a lockdown situation or it’s just too dangerous to leave.

If you’ve chosen to shelter in place, you will need the following essentials. 

Food and water

food and water supply

It’s often recommended that you stock up on a three-day supply of water and food for every member of your household. That said, it helps to have even more than this because you might not know how long you’ll have to shelter in place.

The shops might not stock food and water, so you want to ensure you’ve stocked up on these items ahead of any shortages.

Buy bottled water and non-perishable food. It’s also wise to buy a water filter in case you will have to source your own water.

How much water is enough? You need a gallon of water per day for one person. This is enough for you to drink, cook with, and clean items with. Make sure your pets all get a gallon of water daily, too. 


Power outages can occur during civil unrest, so you want to ensure that you’ll still be able to have power. For electricity alternatives, use solar-powered lights and candles, as well as flashlights.

Headlamps also work well to give you more light. Make sure you stock up on extra flashlight batteries!

Having portable chargers for your devices is useful so that they won’t run out of juice too quickly. In addition, a portable emergency radio is essential as it will provide you with real-time weather alerts and reports, as well as public emergency alert system information.

You can find radios that are powered by solar panels, rechargeable batteries, or hand-crank generators so you don’t have to rely on a wall power adapter. 

A gas stove will also come to the rescue if the power’s out and you want a hot meal. As a Plan C, you should stock up on matches, fire lighters, and charcoal so that you can cook food on the fire if required.

Medication & Hygiene Items

medication and hygiene

If you have any chronic medical conditions, it’s always useful to try to get a bit of extra stock of your medication in case there are medicine shortages.

Civil unrest can cause looting of shops and pharmacies, which could be dangerous if you have a serious health condition.

Chronic medication aside, it’s important to have OTC medication and medical items that could come in handy if you get sick. These include painkillers, cough syrup, antihistamines, plasters, bandages, tweezers, thermometers, and a first aid kit.

You should also stock up on hygiene items, such as toilet paper rolls, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, laundry detergent, soap, face wash, and other skincare items. 

What If You Have To Seal A Room? 

If there are contaminants in the outside air, you will have to seal up a room in the home and shelter in place there with your family members and pets.

Here’s what to know about sealing a room safely.

  • You will have to seal up windows and doors so that outside air can’t enter. You can do this with newspapers and wet towels. These are useful to increase your protection if you don’t have heavy plastic and duct tape that you can use instead. 
  • You will have to turn off any air conditioners and fans that circulate the air. Also, close the fireplace damper. 
  • You will have to ensure you have all your emergency and food supplies, medical kits, and emergency radios in the room with you.
  • The room you choose to shelter in should have few or ideally no windows and be connected to a bathroom. 
  • If you’ve heard that there’s a danger of an explosion, you must close all window blinds, curtains, or shades. 
  • Some chemicals tend to sink, so if you’re sealing a room because of the risk of chemical contamination you should try to choose a room that’s above ground level. 
See also  LED Flashlights, and AA and AAA Rechargeable Batteries.

What If You’re Bugging Out Instead? 

leaving home

You might have to leave your home if the civil unrest gets worse, provided that it’s safe for you to do so.

If you feel that your home and family are in danger, or the situation is intensifying, it’s a good idea to go somewhere else. The most important first step is to have your bug out vehicle ready. It should have a tank full of gas.

Get into the habit of filling your boot with a safety kit, such as spare tires, emergency supplies, and repair tools if your car breaks down so that it’s ready to go should you need it. 

Here are some other important tips to help you bug out successfully.

Choose A Second Location

The location where you’re going should be planned in advance, so that you know exactly where to go in the event of a civil unrest emergency.

Plan your route in case you’ll need it, both on digital and paper maps, and plan alternative routes in case your first choice won’t be viable, such as if roads are blocked or damaged.

Try To Be Invisible

be invisible in the crowd

When leaving the city, you’ll ideally take your car but if it happens that walking is your only option you want to prepare for that by trying to make yourself as invisible as possible.

Wear dark clothing and keep your head down, especially if you find yourself caught in large crowds or mobs. If you’re with other people, you want to carefully move out of the crowd one at a time so you’re not noticed or targeted. 

Find Shelter 

Having a tent will be essential if you’re bugging out in the outdoors. You will need to have shelter from the sun, wind, and cold air at night.

You should also find a way to sleep off the ground so that you will be protected against the cold ground temperature, as well as insects and other critters. A ground tarp will come in useful.

You should set up your tent on level ground, preferably close to a tree that offers shelter and protection from the elements. If you own a truck, you will benefit from the convenience of a truck tent.

Make sure that you have a water source nearby, even if you have brought water supplies with you.

Bring Your BOB (Bug Out Bag)

bug out bag for leaving town

You will need to carry a backpack if you’re bugging out of the city.

This backpack should have all the essential items you need, but if you’re going to be bugging out for a longer period of time you’ll have to pack your car with all the essentials we previously outlined: communication items and devices, food, water, medication and medical kits, hygiene items, and power alternatives.

Honestly, it’s always a good idea to have duplicate items so that you can store the most important ones in your backpack in case you have to leave in a hurry or you can’t take your car with you.

Extra Items That Will Help You Bug Out

  • Freeze-dried food packets. You can buy these in packs or kits that provide you with enough food for several days. They’re also easy to carry in a backpack and save space.
  • Water filters. If you’re going to need water from a natural source, a water filter is a must.
  • Sleeping bags and clothes for sleeping. Dress warmly at night and wear long-sleeved tops and long pants so that you protect yourself from bugs and mosquitoes.
  • Survival tools. You might end up having to catch and kill your own food, so a fishing kit and other hunting gear are important. A survival knife, such as a machete, will also help. You will boost your survival skills by having various other extra items handy. These include paracord, pliers, signal mirror, and zip ties.
  • Fire-starting kit. Make sure you have matches, a lighter, and flint in case you have to start your own fires for warmth. 
  • Toolkits. You should have a multi-tool. This will help you in a variety of ways, such as if you need to cut something in the wild.
  • Cooking items. Don’t forget to bring your own pots so you can make your own food and boil water.
  • Copies of important documents. After leaving home, you won’t have access to your important documents if you need them. Make sure you’ve brought copies of your identification documents and driver’s license. 

What About Self-Defense Items?

prepare BoB

Whether you’re bugging in or out, you will need to consider self-defense items. During civil unrest, many people are unsettled and scared – some will be downright dangerous.

Therefore, you might consider having some self-defense items in your backpack. These can include pepper spray, stun guns, or even more serious weapons, such as guns and knives.

However, note that guns and knives are dangerous to have as they can be found and stolen, or even used against you. It’s also important to learn how to properly use these weapons otherwise you won’t be able to properly or safely protect yourself and your family.

Related Questions 

Should you travel alone or in a group?

You might think there’s safety in a larger group of people, and there can be. However, make sure you align yourself with people you can trust.

How can you stay positive during civil unrest?

While it’s normal to feel anxious and stressed, it’s important to focus on your wellbeing. Practice positive affirmations and try to do things that help you feel positive, no matter how small. 


If you find yourself in the middle of civil unrest, you’ll have to choose if you’re going to shelter in place at home or bug out of the city.

In this article, we’ve outlined both options, looking at how to do them so that you can get out of dangerous situations and stay safe.


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3 thoughts on “How Can You Prepare For Civil Unrest?”

  1. Step 1 – NEVER live in a city.
    Step 2 – NEVER vote Democrat/Liberal/Marxist.
    Step 3 – Watch Conservative News not Deep-State Propaganda channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, PMS-DNC, CNN, PBS).

  2. How would you bug out from an island? Specifically, Long Island NY, the largest island in the USA. Ninety something miles long and less than 30 miles at its widest. Bridges at the south west end are the only connections to the mainland. There are two ferries, which are of no importance in a mass evacuation of almost three million people. Boating across the 20 mile wide Long Island Sound (weather permitting) will only achieve being on the Connecticut shore on foot, which seems to be the only alternative to sheltering in place.

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