Let us put politics aside for a moment. The newest crisis in the United States, which over the last four years has become a hotbed of divisive issues, is George Floyd. As a company that helps individuals and families understand their survival and disaster readiness needs we try not to enter the political agenda arena. Though I want to talk about the protests, civil unrest, and resulting dangers from these things, I do not want to create a debate about the situation itself.
At West Survival Gear, our goal is to help you navigate through these problems, not to help you choose your moral stance or even help guide you on what side to choose. We want to deal with the physical realities, and to help keep you safe, protected, and ultimately alive. To this, though we are using these protests at a catalyst for providing this information, we want you to know that we have no official stance.
When it comes to civil unrest it is easy to watch from a distance, but what about for those who are in the thick of it? As you may or may not have read some looting and arson took place at a Target location. What if this target location were your local grocery store, or was the place you shop in your neighborhood. You suddenly have a problem, or worse, a list of problems.
Let us walk through these quickly. First, you may lose access to some of the basic needs you have. Second, you now have to travel outside of your neighborhood to get them, which in itself may become a risky proposition. Traveling through areas with unrest can be dangerous, and could result in your injury, or the injury of others while trying to protect yourself. Finally, your home may be at risk. During times of civil unrest anger and feeling often win out over rationality, and this sometimes results in private businesses and homes becoming the target of the ire that developer.
So what can you? Here is a short bulleted list, for your home, your family, and your business, to ensure you are prepared for these types of situations.
First, are you sheltering at home? If so, this first list is for you:
- Is your home secure?
Remember to lock doors and windows, and if you typically have things in the front of your home that are easy to damage, temporarily consider bringing them inside. If the back of your home is accessible, consider the same for anything you may have out there.
- If someone entered your home how would you diffuse the situation?
At West Survival Gear we advocate an approach of de-escalation. We believe lives are valuable and try to encourage people to end cycles of hate and violence by thinking through encounters before they happen. Depending on the type of unrest, and your position, consider what your options are before you have to resort to violence to resolve a situation. With that being said, do not be afraid to defend your home or your family if it becomes necessary.
- Are you prepared in the event of broken windows, arson, or government-related actions (tear gas, forced entry, etc)?
Sometimes the perpetrators of problems can inadvertently cause collateral damage. This could mean fires, broken windows, and other damage to your property. Make certain you are ready to address these issues. Have a fire extinguisher handy, and access to water and a hose to ensure you are safe. If possible keep some pieces of plywood to cover windows if they are broken, or if you fear they will get broken them, cover them before it happens.
An important point here is also that government entities such as Police, Fire, or Military may also become a part of the problem. sometimes tear gas is employed, and it may drift into your neighborhood and make it difficult to go outside. Ensure you have a well-sealed home in these cases so you are not trapped inside and suffering. This means closing doors and windows, and potentially turning off air conditioning systems that draw air from the outside, at least temporarily.
- Know where your insurance policies are, and what the cover and do not cover.
If you have renters or homeowner’s insurance policy learn what it covers and what it does not cover, and how you make a claim. Recovering from these situations financially can often be as difficult as living through them.
If you are a part of the unrest, as a protestor, or anti-protestor here are some suggestions on how to stay safe.
- Keep your own mace.
It does not matter what side of a protest or civil unrest you fall on, protecting yourself is important. Keeping mace on you can help keep you safe if a situation turns ugly.
- Understand your legal rights.
We advocate to NOT resist police overreaching. This can be dangerous for any individual, and more dangerous for some individuals. In the United States when the government overreaches you have legal protections. Understand them, and learn how to use them to your advantage. If the government or a government agent is overreaching, know what you should and should not do and what is within your legal rights.
- Know your route out.
May protests and a great deal of civil unrest starts peacefully. Then someone shoots a rubber bullet, or fires out tear gas, and things turn ugly quickly. Know your best route out of a situation, and where you can position yourself safely to avoid these things. Do not get stuck inside of bottleneck areas, or be positioned where your escape routes are easily cut off.
We hope these tips help you get more prepared for these type of situations in the future, and look forward to serving you the best we can.