13 Steps to Prepare for Civil Unrest

It has been over two years since I wrote about the “Perfect Storm of Civil Unrest”.  Looking back, it would be easy to think that perhaps the article was a bit reactionary given current events at the time.  On the other hand, not a whole lot has changed since then.

These are still uneasy times.  The names and faces of the powers that be may be different but the actions are the same.  Normal, ordinary middle class families are still struggling and corporate corruption, hidden agendas, and cover-ups are still commonplace.

13 Steps to Prepared for Civil Unrest

The threat of an Ebola or other pandemic, global economic collapse, severe water shortages, and immigration/border woes simply add to our concern about the future.  Fear, sickness, and deprivation evoke chaos, and as we reach that tipping point, it seems only prudent to prepare for civil unrest, riots, looting, crimes against persons, domestic terrorism, and more.

Today I take another look at the potential for a perfect storm.  In doing so, I have updated and expanded upon the steps we can take now to prepare for civil unrest.

13 Steps to Help You Prepare for Civil Unrest

1. Ensure that your basic preps and backup supplies are in order.  This includes an adequate supply of food, water and sanitation supplies.  Two weeks is a bare minimum.  Three months or more is better.

2. Take stock of your first aid kit and medical supplies including necessary prescription drugs.  Medical supplies, remedies, and prescription drugs will likely be in short supply if there is civil unrest.  For ideas, see the first aid section of this article.

3. Learn homesteading skills and self-sufficiency skills regardless of whether you are living in an apartment, condo, house, or rural homestead.  Read 12 Ways to Homestead in Place for ideas.

4.   Inventory the security features in your home to determine weaknesses that need to be strengthened.  Read A Dozen Home Security and Crime Prevention Tips for the Prepper for tips.

5. Set up a personal self-defense system.  If you own a firearm, apply for a concealed weapons permit, stock up on ammo and practice shooting at the range.  Invest in pepper sprays, bully clubs, sling shots, and other tools that will arm you against the bad guys.

6. Form a community of like minded people that will band  together for protection and safety during times of chaos. This is going to be tough because trust will be an issue when your back is to the wall.  A good book to read for ideas is actually a piece of fiction by James Wesley Rawles, Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse.

7. Stockpile cash in small bills.  In a massive and chaotic riot situation, ATMs and banks are likely to be inaccessible, closed,or inoperable.

8. Accumulate goods for barter.  When the shelves are empty or the stores are closed, you may need to call on others for the supplies you need but did not anticipate.  Have something to barter.  Spirits (including beer, wine and good old Jack Daniels) are always good choices as as are candles, batteries, food, sanitation supplies, and first aid items are good to have an hand for barter as are fresh eggs and home grown garden vegetables.  See 40 Items to Barter in a Post-Collapse World.

9. Don’t forget about children, the elderly and pets.  In a riot or lock down, they may become fearful and panicked.  Stow away some amusements and comfort items for them as well.

10. Invest in a reference library of books, manuals, and survival guides.  Don’t forget to include fiction as well as non-fiction plus reading materials suitable for a variety of different ages.

11. Acquire communication equipment so that you can keep in touch with family members and the outside world.  This may include an emergency radio, a shortwave scanner, a HAM radio or something else.  You gear will do you no good it you do not know how to use it.  If it is too complicated, create a cheat sheet or find something simpler to use. Practice often!

12. Develop a family emergency plan so that everyone knows what to do and where to meet in the event the worst happens. See Survival Basics: 10 Steps for Preparing a Family Emergency Plan.

13. Keep a level head and your mouth shut.  If, during times of unrest, you are pulled into a police net, the first thing you should do is call a lawyer.  Be courteous and polite and do not resist.

Print out the following and keep it in your wallet and in your car along with your registration:


1. First, ask to call your lawyer.
2. Be courteous; do not resist.
3. Do not consent to search or entry.
4. Do not talk about anything; do not admit OR DENY anything.
5. Ask if you are free to go. If you are, GO.

The ACLU also has a printable card you can download and keep with you: What To Do If You’re Stopped By Police.  For more information, you can also download the booklet Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement.

A Word About Civil Unrest

As you read through this list, keep in mind that according to Army field manual FM 3-19.15:

“In these modern times, demonstrations, civil unrest, public disorder, and riots happen for a number of reasons.

Some of these reasons are economic hardships, social injustices, ethnic differences (leading to oppression), objections to world organizations or certain governments, political grievances, and terrorist acts. An event can be triggered by a single cause or a  combination of causes.”

If nothing else, this should give you something to think about as you adapt your preparedness efforts to survive civil unrest.

The Final Word

How close are we to a perfect storm of civil unrest?   If you had asked that question two years ago, I would have said “soon”.  Now my answer is more vague as the maladies of our society have become the new normal.  I won’t go so far as to say we have been coerced into this new normalcy but rather that we have already learned to adapt.

If and when the tipping point comes, there will be chaos. Our hope, as preppers, is that we will ride it out to safety.  As to when this will happen or if it will happen?  That is anyone’s guess.

That said, although people in cities and urban areas will bear the brunt of the first wave, rural communities and remote locations will not be immune.  Over time, mobs will migrate outward in search of food, supplies and just about anything else they can get their hands on in a collapsed society.

The writing is on the wall in plain sight for those that want to see it.  And for those that care not to look?  When the SHTF don’t come knocking on my door because there will be no one there to answer.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to some of the items related to today’s article.

Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse:  As hordes of refugees and looters pour out of the cities following the collapse of society, a small group of friends living in the Midwest make their way to a safe-haven ranch in northern Idaho. The journey requires all their skill and training since communication, commerce, transportation and law enforcement have all disappeared.  I am learning a lot from this book, especially about firearms.  A must read.

Kaito Voyager V1 Dynamo and Solar Radio: I prefer this smaller, more basic Kaito because it is simple to use.  Also available at Amazon.

Uniden Handheld Scanner – Black (BC75XLT):  A hand scanner with ham band for less than $100. Very portable. This one runs on 2 AA alkaline or rechargeable batteries that can be be recharged while in the scanner.

Pofung UV-5R Ham Two Way Radio: Redundancy is the name of the game.  I also have two of these inexpensive HAM radios.  Keep in mind that if you are just planning to listen, you do not need a license (I am still working on mine).  The price is right.  Also consider the NAGOYA Antenna for BAOFENG UV-5R  and the USB Programming Cable for Baofeng UV-5R UV-3R+. Note: the Pofung was formerly known as the Baofeng UV-5R).

Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: You NEED this book if you care about defending your homestead. In addition, Without Rule of Law: Advanced Skills to Help You SurviveFEMA Faceoff: Truth as an Urban Legend will teach you skills to get through the most dire survival circumstances.

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: This is a great knife that is currently priced at about $8.603 with free shipping.  Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller at Amazon in both the camping and hunting knives categories.  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Note:  the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and save a couple of bucks.


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  1. Well said… and still timely. Thank you for your efforts to help others be prepared and to help alleviate FEAR.

    An additional suggestion might also be to try to have your place “staged for show” with only an appearance of a common everyday existence… while also having the most of your survival stuff concealed for only you to “know”.

    By doing that, whether you are at home or not to greet the expected desperate folks who are breaking your door down for your water, food, etc… you will know that you still have all YOUR stash hidden in or outside your home after they take your “show” stuff. What’s more, that will likely alleviate the need for gunfire or physical confrontation… and the desperate looters will again be desperately be on their way.

    In the first couple of weeks of chaos… it might be a good idea to keep a low profile and keep the lights and the BBQ aroma to a minimum.

  2. Hey, I wanted to vote for you but I’m not smart enough to maneuver through all the stuff required to check your name. Sorry, someone needs to simplify this immediately. Also cudos on your 13 points. The concealed carry permit has already saved my life once. Keep up the good work and thanks.

  3. Hi Quiet Prepper. One of the most important issues ( to me anyway ) is giving yourself away by BBQ or a cooking fire even if it’s just to boil water. That will be the cattle call for the Zombies after three days of no food even in a semi rural area where I am. I have a coleman stove and plenty of propane bottles to last a couple of months provided that I’m only needing to boil enough water for a good hot meal. Even then I’ll probably use the thermos method of cooking hot food in it so no cooking smells waft around the neighborhood.

    I don’t know what the average age of my fellow preppers is on this site would be but I’m old enough to clearly recall the 1968 riots when MLK got assasinated. I was 7 years old and my dad worked at a BP refinery in Lima OH. We lived just a couple miles from the city center which was ablaze from the rioters. Shootings, stabbings and looting was rampant and the NG came rolling up with their shiny new M 16’s and posted pickets at every couple of blocks and my Dad had to get a special pass through the checkpoints because he worked in critical industry.

    Even at 7 years of age I knew there was something awfully wrong. Why would people burn down their own homes I wondered. Why are the armed troops here? And for G-d’s sake, why do I got to be inside the house at 5 pm?

    I don’t remember being afraid but I do remember seeing a couple of shot guns and handguns and rifle scattered through out the house. My mom was an avid hunter as a kid and she could shoot the balls off a squirrel at 30 yards so maybe that was why I felt safe!

    Anyway, whatever the trigger mechanism is for temporary or longterm SHTF I hope I’m ready for any civil unrest.


    Snake Plisken

    1. Right on, Snake Plisken!

      Your recollections should help others who are on the fence as to whether or not they should take preparedness seriously or not. That is why Backdoorsurvival is so important and timely for folks to learn and pick & choose what THEY should be doing… ahead of any SHTF extravaganza that may suddenly appear. Who knows, they might even be so impressed with the merits of being prepared… that they are able to encourage their extended families, friends, and neighbors to do so, too.

      All said and done, the ultimate preparedness and survival tool is to be able to think… keep your balance… and to not lose your cool to FEAR.

      Enjoy life in the meantime, regardless of the perpetual lies, deceptions, and fear-mongering being splattered on us.

  4. You could leverage all of the above by simply moving to Wyoming, where no permit is required to carry any way you want. In particular, Cody, where there are more guns than people, and it quite routine to see someone walking around with one on their hip, but no badge or uniform in sight. When the SHTF, and the rest of the United States becomes a giant concentration camp, our CLEOs will take care of the riffraff with the help of ad hoc posses and common law grand juries.

  5. Bill, if your addressing my previous post i do appreciate what you are saying. I really do. I grew up in S AZ and I suspect the people of Wyoming are the types of persons I would fit in with although I’ve only driven through your beautiful state.

    No, at my age ( a youthful 52 YRO) I’ve built a really super home on 1.4 acres, have bountiful gardens and wonderful neighbors and will not give up what I’ve built over the last 15 years. I will fight to the death to protect what i’ve got sweat equity and hard earned cash into. At my age I do have the capability of knowledge and life experience to be smart enough to handle most situations but understand I’m not without blind spots in my prepping. I’ll stick here my friend even if it’s to my detriment.

    Now that’s a rancher/farmer mentality isn’t it? 🙂

    Best, Snake Plisken

  6. The part about the police is golden. Getting locked up during a collapse or even a disaster could be deadly. Jail is the last place I want to be in with a collapsing government growing more tyrannical

  7. This is the comment at the Amazon web site. What is wrong with this radio? What feedback have you received?

    Design: UV-5RA

    More Stubborn Case, More Rich and Enhanced Features
    Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-480MHz; 25KHz/12.5KHz Switchable
    128 Channels 50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS; Channel Step: 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/25KHz
    Dual-Band Display, Dual Frequency Display, Dual-Standby; A/B band independent operation
    Comes with all necessary accessories, backed up by 12 Months Seller Warranty

    Item Under Review

    While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it’s described here. (Thanks for the tip!)

    We’re working to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

    1. Thank you for alerting me to this. There is nothing wrong with the radio that I know of. What has happened is that Baofeng has been acquired/rebranded as Pofung and my guess is that is what is shipping; thus a mis-match.

      I am going to change the link but like I said, I do not believe there is anything wrong. Mine works fine subject to operator error LOL.

  8. I would recommend a better knife than one costing $ 8.63. Below is information from United States Rescue and Special Operations Group. Note I am NOT a member of there group. However, I do like to take advice from experts in the field. Included is information about knives. I have had good luck online from the knifecenter.com and http://www.bladehq.com. Both have good prices and good service.

    United States Rescue and Special Operations Group

    The following are custom production and common production blades that we carry on a daily basis. The upper end blades on the list can be abused and stand up to the wrath of God. There are some in the lower end that will produce just because they are cheap and you don’t care about them. When you don’t care about a piece of gear it just seems to last forever. That isn’t the best mindset to have but it still seems to be true. Then there are lower end blades that should NOT be abused but do a fine job when kept in their prescribed parameters of use.

    Fixed Blade Knives

    They are tough basic designed blades that are built from great steel. Their fixed blades are tops on our list, Trailmaster, SRK, Recon Scout and Recon Tanto.

    the entire line of blades are “good steel.”

    good steel, good designs.

    their combo kits are worth more than a mention. They are built to be real lightweight and with fine steel. Their designs are classic as well as innovative. If you do a lot of field dressing of wild game these blades are top self. We use them a lot.

    the new stainless USMC style blade and the Warthog.

    probably the best hollow handles on the market.

    for the money they can’t be beat, the Bowie has been a great blade for us.

    Utility Tools
    The most carried multi-tools or pocket survival tools that our cadre use are the LEATHERMAN series. The SUPER TOOL 200 is a stout tool, with full sized tools that are commendable.

    Folders and Back-ups
    The top of the list of folders is the AL MAR SERE 2000 because it is tough and versatile. Ready for the field or to be used as a defensive blade. Also on the list of folders is the entire BENCHMADE line. The AFCK and Mini AFCK being two of the best. The 154 CM and or ATS-34 blades stay sharp and are rugged. We stay generally with the straight edge blade for field use. Serrations are great but tough to use when whittling a trap trigger. The handles are tough and the cross-lock a must. The BLADE TECH Professional Hunter is an awesome all around folder. BUCK has a few, from Odyssey to Lightings to 760 Summits to Approaches in ATS-34. Again for the cost they hold their own for skinning game and light duty.
    Grab an E-Z Lap diamond stone to attach to all of your blades sheaths or shove it in your pocket and you are ready to deal.

  9. I have not seen a great deal said on prepper sites about air pollution eg: rotting garbage, sewerage, decompositing flesh, toxic smoke from fires etc. Any advice? Rodents, insects, thoughts? This is a great article, THANK YOU 🙂 The point about BBQs is well said. I’ve often thought smells are overlooked.

    1. Hello Aussie Mum,

      Those are good questions and when things have gone bad and there is no more government services, then we must find a way to address these issues.

      On the air pollution and toxic smoke issue, if you can avoid these areas then do so otherwise, a gas mask or some other way to cover your nose and mouth will have to be found.

      On the garbage issue, you will have to separate what can be burnt, what can be composted, and what can be salvaged. Anything that doesn’t fall into these categories will have to be buried.

      On the sewage and decomposing flesh issues, these will have to be buried.
      Burning or cremation would use up too much valuable fuel.
      When burying sewage and decomposing bodies, have it at least 100 yards away from your water source or you will poison your drinking water supply.

      On the rodent and insect issue, cleanliness is key to keeping these critters away.
      Clear away any clutter that is close to the house.
      Keep leaves from piling up too close to your home, trim back any bushes that are too close to your home, remove anything that might attract these critters.

      Of course if you have chickens you will want to attract insects so your birds will have a treat but of course you would want to do that away from your home.
      I use an old piece of plywood laying on the ground, after a few days the bugs will gather under there and all you have to do is flip it over and the birds will do the rest.

      Hope this helps

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