Thousands of people are killed in riots every year all over the world and getting caught up in an angry group of protestors can be scary and dangerous. If you have walked into a riot and you can’t run away, remembering these five tips could protect you from serious harm:
ASSESS THE SITUATION
Take a good look at what is happening and ask yourself – in what ways is this situation escalating, how are people behaving, and where is the nearest escape route? Once you’ve established a way out, take it. Move quickly but calmly away from the crowd.
Dangerous situations cause intense emotions. You may feel scared, angry, or hysterical. These feelings could make you act irrationally. It is important to remain calm at all times. Look down, move in a chosen direction, and focus on staying safe and getting out of the way of danger.
GO WITH THE FLOW
If you can’t get away immediately, ‘blend in’ and walk in the same direction as the crowd until you get to its edge and calmly make your way out. Don’t move against the crowd as you might get blocked, pushed, or even attacked. If you fear you might fall down, stick your elbows out so that you are ’carried’ by the crowd. If you do fall down, curl into a ball, protecting your face, ears and internal organs. This will help you avoid damage.
DO NOT GET INVOLVED
Do not challenge or fight with any of members of the crowd – mob mentality can lead quickly lead to violence. This is not the time for a debate; just remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.
Also, remember that if police are on the scene, they may not understand that you are not part of the mob and might treat you as a threat. Don’t rush towards them or copy the crowd’s reactions to them. Rather, remain calm and keep walking until you are in the clear.
If you have loved ones with you, it is important that you stay together and help each other. Grip hands or lock elbows to avoid being separated. If you have a small child with you, hold them tightly in your arms so that they do not fall and are not trampled. Reassure each other, make a plan to get to safety, and stick to the plan.
So, if you find yourself stuck in the middle of an angry mob, remember – stay calm, move to safety, do not get involved. Once free, check social media or the news to see where the mob is moving and the safest place to be until the turmoil has passed.