Skip to main content

How to Stay Safe During a Riot

Whether it's a political protest gone wrong or a home team celebration that's gotten out of hand, protect yourself from a volatile crowd with these riot survival guidelines.


  • Step 1: Never remain in the crowd waiting for the riot to pass. Remain calm and trust your instincts to guide you out of the situation as quickly as possible.
  • Step 2: Be informed of events in the news, including marches, protests, and rallies that may erupt into violence. Avoiding troubled areas is the best riot preparedness plan.
  • FACT: L.A. fans rioted when the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship in 2000, 2009, and 2010.
  • Step 3: Seek fresh air and the highest ground possible if tear gas has been released. Remove your clothing, wash your entire body with soap and water, and get medical care as quickly as possible if you have been exposed to tear gas.
  • TIP: When inside, stay clear of windows and doors, which rioters may shatter or try to break down.
  • Step 4: Don't rely on the police for protection during a riot. Officers on the scene are busy trying to get things under control and may mistake you for one of the rioters.
  • Step 5: Don't go near mass transit, like buses or trains, which are easily incapacitated by rioters. Subways are particularly dangerous, as they are hard to escape from and not where you want to be if the police decide to use tear gas.
  • Step 6: Go inside a public building that is open, if possible. Stay inside until the rioters have passed, and then head for a safe area.
  • Step 7: Walk away from the rioters, sticking to well-lit areas. Hail a cab if you can and instruct the driver to avoid major roads and intersections, which may be blocked by crowds.

Popular Categories