Protests are running rampant across the United States right now. Today people are protesting police brutality. Just a few weeks ago it was government shutdowns over coronavirus. Tomorrow it might be something different.
Most protests are peaceful, but emotions always run high at a protest, and it doesn’t take much for a peaceful protest to turn into a riot if something unexpected happens or goes wrong. Then there are just some people who are just intent on causing physical damage. If you live in urban areas where protests are happening, it only makes sense to be prepared if you need to be out on the streets.
Living Near Protests EDC Overview
I’ll start off with the caveat that if it is at all possible for you to avoid being near a riot area, you should do so. Distance equals safety when it comes to dangerous locations. You’re clearly more apt to be injured from rioters when you are in their midst. That being said, I also understand that cities have incredibly large population centers, that most people don’t have a complete bug out location in the middle of nowhere, and that rioters are mobile. What was a safe location from rioters yesterday may not be so tonight.
So if you live or work in a location that is liable to be, or perhaps has already been hit hard by riots, what can you do to keep yourself safe? Within prepping philosophy, the importance of a proper everyday carry (EDC) kit is essential. Are there tools that you can carry into a riot location to help keep yourself from getting injured or killed? Of course.
What to Carry When You Live Near Riots
Following are just 11 items to consider carrying. Your situation make dictate different gear, but this should serve as a start.
#1 – Impact-resistant Sunglasses or Clear Eye Protection
Whether you’re outside in the day or the night, having some form of impact resistant eye-wear is key. Not only does this help protect you from a pepper spray attack, it can also keep spit, dirt, liquids, and other potentially dangerous items and chemicals from finding their way into your eyes.
There’s a reason why in self-defense classes that the eyes are taught as easy targets. A hit to the eyes is debilitating. It’s incredibly hard to fight back or run away when you cannot see. Therefore, protecting your sight is one of the most important things that you can do in such a situation.
#2 – First Aid Supplies
I’ve seen videos of cops being lit on fire, people being pelted with bricks, disabled women sprayed by looters, and people being beat to a pulp. During a riot, you will be incredibly hard pressed to receive professional medical care. Not only are local first responders likely to be already occupied, but you may have a hard time actually reaching their location (or them reaching yours). You don’t need to become an EMT, but make sure you can at least provide some level of first aid to yourself or others should you need it.
This is the same logic as why you should carry a firearm. Carrying a firearm is understanding that ultimately it is you who is responsible for your own safety, and that you are the first line of defense and fastest responder in keeping yourself safe.
The same concept applies to carrying a small first aid kit on one’s person. You can buy a small first aid kit for under ten dollars or you can make one yourself. Burn cream, antibiotic cream, bandages, pain killers, and a tourniquet are all medical supplies that could greatly help you out should you need them, take up little to no space, and weighs virtually nothing.
#3 – Cash
It could be incredibly hard to find somebody who is willing to accept credit card payments in a sustained riot. Cash talks, though. Cash can also be spent in non-traditional areas. Example: a man carrying water bottles up to his apartment. If your city is under curfew, the streets are dangerous, and the water is out. You can’t negotiate for water with a credit card. Cash is also a grid-down currency. If you need goods, and you need them fast, cash will allow you to take advantage of opportunities for purchases that a credit card would not.
#4 – Good Footwear
I understand the desire to wear sandals or flip flops during hot weather, but if you are living in an area that is getting hit hard by riots, wearing footwear is rather foolish.
In a sudden riot situation, you want to be wearing footwear that will allow you to run, and to run fast if need be. You need to wear something that will protect your feet if they should get stepped on, something that won’t fall off your foot or rip should somebody step on the heel, and something that will protect your feet from broken glass, fire, thrown bricks, stomps, and everything else.
#5 – Plastic Water Bottle
If you are forced to run for any period of time, you are going to need water in order to keep yourself from getting lightheaded, dizzy, and making stupid decisions. However, a water bottle can be key for other reasons as well. Should you end up with something in your eye, sprayed with mace, or have a wound that needs to be flushed out, a plastic water bottle can be key.
What I would do is poke a small hole in the middle of the twist on cap (a knife and multi-tool will help). You will then be able to squeeze the bottle and direct a small stream of water directly to where you need it to go. It’s actually flushing your eyes versus dumping water in your eyes. You won’t waste as much water this way, and you’ll have far better results getting debris out of your eyes using this method.
#6 – A Simple Knife
There are innumerable reasons to carry a knife every day. You don’t need a Buckmaster 184 survival knife, but a fixed blade is best. I’d recommend something simple and small that can be quickly drawn and easily accessed in a hectic situation. My SOG Gambit is an example. It’s a low-cost full tang knife with a 2.58″ fixed blade and measures 7.28″ in total length. It’s discreet and handles in both forward and reverse grip.
#7 – Concealed Pistol and at Least One Extra Mag
If you’re quite literally going to be living in a war zone, it only makes sense to carry some advanced form of personal protection. Odds are, if you’re reading SHTF blog, this one is going to be a no-brainer. But this list would not be complete without the addition of a pistol of some sort on your person. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of those who conceal carry though probably don’t carry an extra mag with them. You should. Invest in a belt held magazine holder that you can cover with your shirt.
Accuracy under stress and attack diminishes exponentially. Not having the ammo that you need in a life or death situation sucks. Carry at least one extra magazine. Your kids may wish you had should you not show up back at home.
#8 – Pepper Spray
As today’s protests have continued, news articles indicate shoppers are buying up pepper spray like crazy. For good reason! This is another item that takes up next to no room, and can easily save your life. If you’re not properly trained with a handgun, it’s also a wiser choice. A small canister of Sabre Max Police Strength pepper spray is cheap and can fit on a keychain.
Pepper spray is also better than a handgun if you end up in a situation where you’re not ready to use lethal force but need to halt an attacker (e.g. somebody throwing water bottles at you), pepper spray can easily disable the attacker while allowing you time to escape. Just make sure that you have quick and easy access to it, and you know how far it can spray as well.
#9 – Powerbar or Similar Snack
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like going several hours without food. A PowerBar is absolutely disgusting and unpleasant to eat, but they’re tough as nails and last a long time. You can throw these into the bottom of a bag and forget about them, and they’ll be there when you’re ready. A PowerBar can be the glucose and protein that your brain needs in order to make wise and well-informed decisions after several hours without fuel.
#10 – A Map on a Small Piece of Paper
I do quite a bit of travel and have had to draw myself several quick little maps as a result. I don’t like to have to rely on a phone to travel, and a small 3×5 notecard or piece of computer paper folded up real small can easily contain a quick, hand-drawn map of your general location that can help to save your life in a riot situation. It takes me all of two minutes to draw these little maps, so this isn’t an inconvenience.
Obviously, it’s best to KNOW the geography of your current location, but the ideal doesn’t always happen, and should you end up having to travel to a location that you’re not as well-versed in, then this map could truly save your life. Distance from rioters is one of the best ways to ensure your safety, but you don’t want to necessarily just run off blindly in one direction. Doing so could very easily end up with your taking a stroll through the ghetto.
#11 – A Multi-tool
Urban location are where multi-tools truly shine. I always carry one, and it has been something I’ve turned to many times throughout each week. Not all multi-tools are created equal, but I don’t think that you have to invest over a hundred dollars to make sure that you get a quality piece of gear. I carry a $20 Kobalt that I got on sale at Lowe’s several years ago, and it rocks.
Just make sure there are certain tools on your multi-tool, specifically: needle nose pliers, wire cutters, and a Phillips head and flathead screwdriver. Obviously there are a lot of other potential tools that a multi-tool can have, but those four are the only ones that I turn to on a regular basis.
Protest EDC Conclusion
If you carried a bag on your person at all times you could most certainly carry much more gear than this, but I wanted to keep this as slim downed of a list as possible. Carrying a bag could make you a target in such a situation, and what you have on your person is easier to conceal. Further, the more gear you have the less likely you are to actually carry it on a regular basis, leaving you with nothing if you’re without it when everything goes downhill.
This is most certainly not an incredibly heavy, awkward, or bulky kit to carry on your person in an urban riot environment either. As long as you’re wearing pants with a pockets and a belt, you should easily be able to carry the above tools on your person at all times.
Stay safe out there everyone!