Lock and Load: Are You Prepared for Civil Unrest?

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Do you get the feeling that we are right on the verge of chaos?  With the government shutdown, the congressional budget deadline of the 17th, the EBT system under threat, and assorted “drills” that, if history proves to be any guide, could be a loose cover for an upcoming false flag, we could be looking at civil unrest in a matter of days.

These are all situations that we, as individuals, have little control over.

What we CAN control is our response to a crisis.

By planning ahead, we can avoid the fear, panic, and confusion that leads people to rush to the store and clear the shelves like a horde of hungry locusts.  We can stay away from the angry masses, the rioters who will use any excuse to steal, and the hungry people who are determined to feed their kids no matter who stands in their way.

Whether the next few weeks lead to pandemonium due to the welfare strings being cut or some type of martial law, a prepared mindset, a defense plan, and a well-stocked home can help to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.

In her article Anatomy of a Breakdown, Tess Pennington wrote:

“When you take the time to understand how a breakdown behaves and how it progresses, only then can you truly prepare for it.

This glimpse into a systemic breakdown is based on an isolated, limited disaster or event where emergency responders have been deployed. I must emphasize that all bets are off if the event is wide spread, affecting multiple tens of millions of people simultaneously.”

Here are the most vital things that you can do to be prepared for civil unrest.

Get home

In a perfect world, we’d all be home, watching the chaos erupt on TV from the safety of our living rooms.  However, reality says that some of us will be at work, at school, or in the car when unrest occurs.  You need to develop a “get-home” plan for all of the members of your family, based on the most likely places that they will be.

Devise an efficient route for picking up the kids from school.  Be sure that anyone who might be picking up the children already has permission to do so in the school office.

Discuss the plan with older kids – there have been rumors that children could be moved by the schools to a secondary location in the event of a crisis.  Some families have formulated plans for their older kids to leave the school grounds in such an instance and take a designated route home or to another meeting place.

Keep a get-home bag in the trunk of your car in case you have to set out on foot.

Stash some supplies in the bottom of your child’s backpack – water, a snack, any tools that might be useful, and a map.  Be sure your children understand the importance of OPSEC.

Find multiple routes home – map out alternative backroad ways to get home as well as directions if you must go home on foot.

Find hiding places along the way.  If you work or go to school a substantial distance from your home, figure out some places to lay low now, before a crisis situation.  Sometimes staying out of sight is the best way to stay safe.

Avoid groups of people.  It seems that the mob mentality strikes when large groups of people get together.  Often folks who would never ordinarily riot in the streets get swept up by the mass of people who are doing so.

Keep in mind that in many civil disorder situations the authorities are to be avoided every bit as diligently as the angry mobs of looters. Who can forget the scenes of innocent people being pepper sprayed by uniformed thugs in body armor just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Stay home

Once you make your way home or to your bug-out location …. STAY THERE.

By staying home, you are minimizing your risk of being caught in the midst of an angry mob or of sitting in stalled traffic while looters run amok.  In most scenarios you will be far safer at home than you will be in any type of shelter or refuge situation. (Obviously if there is some type of chemical or natural threat in your immediate neighborhood, like a toxic leak, a flood, or a forest fire, the whole situation changes – you must use common sense before hunkering down.)

This is when your preparedness supplies will really pay off. If you are ready for minor medical emergencies and illnesses, a grid down scenario, and a no-comm situation, you will be able to stay safely at home with your family and ride out the crisis in moderate comfort.

Be sure you have a supply of the following:

  • Water
  • Necessary prescription medications
  • Food and an off grid way to cook it
  • Or food that requires no cooking
  • First aid supplies
  • Lighting in the event of a power outage
  • Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
  • A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather
  • Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
  • Survival and first aid manuals (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
  • Alternative communications devices (such as a hand-crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
  • Off-grid entertainment:  arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals

Be prepared to defend your home

Sometimes despite our best intentions, the fight comes to us.  Even though we stay home, something about our place draws the attention of an unsavory person or group.  Defense is two-fold.  Your best defense is avoiding the fight altogether. You want to stay under the radar and not draw attention to yourself.  The extent to which you strive to do this should be based on the severity of the unrest in your area. Some of the following recommendations are not necessary in an everyday grid-down scenario, but could save your life in a more extreme civil unrest scenario.

Keep all the doors and windows locked.  Secure sliding doors with a metal bar.  Consider installing decorative gridwork over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.

Put dark plastic over the windows. (Heavy duty garbage bags work well.)  If it’s safe to do so, go outside and check to see if any light escapes from the windows. If your home is the only one on the block that is well-lit, it is a beacon to others.

Don’t answer the door.  Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.

Keep cooking smells to a minimum.  If everyone else in the neighborhood is hungry, the meat on your grill will draw people like moths to a flame.

Remember that first responders may be tied up.  If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself.  Also keep in mind, as mentioned earlier in the article – the cops are not always your friends in these situations.

If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family.

Many preppers stockpile weapons and ammunition for just such an event.  When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation.  Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force.

Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members.

Plan an escape route.  If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety.


Every civil unrest scenario is different.  You must make a personal plan based on your environment, your neighbors, and the type of situation that triggered the unrest.  By thinking ahead, you’ve already increased your family’s chances at surviving unscathed.

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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Another excellent article, Daisy. I already have such plans in place. I’m ready and willing to defend my home and my preps. it looks like we dodged the bullet on the default, but there are still all of those drills coming up in Nov., especially the Grid Ex; that’s the one to really watch, I believe. The EBT “glitch” last weekend was only a breath away from being SHTF. USDA has supposedly ordered the states to suspend payments to the EBTs on Nov. 1 until further notice. Let’s see what happens with that. Some of the EBT users have already been on Twitter threatening riots if the EBTs fail again. They damned well better avoid my place if they want to live.

  • Daisy, what do you hear about the currency reset? I heard the G20 folks “invited” all the central bank heads to attend part of the meeting.

  • pretty good advice. but i have no idea what “OPSEC” is. did a google but what that showed me was military security type stuff and something to do with security for IP’s.

    • Hi Echo ~

      OPSEC is an acronym that a lot of preppers use and it was taken from the military security meaning. It simply means that you should maintain your privacy regarding your preps and that you should focus on security. It’s advisable that no one outside of your immediate family know what preparedness items and food you keep on your property.

      ~ Daisy

      • Just for further clarification, the term OPSEC is short for operational security, essentially meaning that complete security and secrecy should surround an operation and all of the individual components of said operation from early planning all the way through the completion of the op.

  • I would add one more thing, do not be afraid to ignore the authorities (NOT antagonize, though). I remember being in Houston for Hurricane Rita, at the airport (just left NOLA and heading to a new home and job) when we were being told by the authorities (police and airport staff) that all flights were cancelled and if we didn’t leave, we would be arrested. Many complied and went to a county shelter. I stayed and ignored the warning. Two things I knew, the local pilots called off to prep their families, a police and other emergency workers were doing the same. Long story sort, the airlines flew pilots in to fly the airplanes out, and if you stayed at the airport, you were able to fly out and find a way to eventually get to where you needed to be.

    • I lived in the Houston area during Rita. Not in the city, thank goodness, but out in the county. Husband was out of town and I made it home from work. The road going home was clear as I was going toward the storm, but the other side was complete grid lock.
      From the entrance to my subdivision to the next intersection was about three miles. It took some people 3-4 hours to travel that distance.
      Husband flew home the night before the storm was to hit. Took him several hours to make it home from the airport and it was only about a 25 miles drive.
      We had no way to get away from the storm by then as everything was completely stalled.
      Rode the storm out in our “safe room” An interior room without windows. Only a glancing blow from the storm, not full blown as had been predicted.
      This illustrates the need to be prepared, especially if you are traveling.
      We don’t live in a large urban area anymore and this disaster, plus what we saw during Katrina helped convince us to move away for retirement.
      I still keep a “get home bag” in our cars.

      • I forgot about the driving and the mess (and failure) that contra-flow traffic is. I had to battle that kind of traffic for a hurricane in NOLA (before Katrina, but forgot name). I think after 12 hours or so, I made it to Baton Rouge. I also stopped at a rest stop during that time as nothing was moving. During Katrina, my girlfriend who had sense, made the call that “we” would be leaving early. Best decision ever. Either leave early or hunker down. I buddy who rode out Katrina thought people were parking their cars on the CCC, only to realize that it was just traffic that was going no where fast.

        I did leave the Gulf Coast, and while not opposing to moving back, I would never live in a large city there, as I have similar concerns and experiences as you.

  • In addition to the GridEx and the potential EBT shutdown, I just read on WND that Chase Bank is limiting business account transactions starting Mid November. Whether this is r/t GridEx or the potential govt shutdown, I’m not sure. But all of this news combined has kickstarted me to up my gameplan. I am also potentially facing imminent job loss, so luckily, I have stores to rely on, but there are still things I need to purchase and put in place before this happens….

    • I think capital controls will be necessary (for the rulers) as our finances get worse and worse. When you have to borrow from the Japanese to pay the Chinese, you know you’re in trouble. The bad part is that the Chinese (and rest of the world) are realizing that the value in US debt is not really there.

  • Have you all noticed the advertisement for the movie “American Blackout” on National Geographic? So strange that it is being played just two weeks prior to GridEx.

    • Yes I have, and can’t wait to see NatGeo’s spin on this. ANY enlightenment that gets people thinking and hopefully preparing is good. Wish a movie were made out of “One Second After” or “Lights Out”. Have heard “The 5th Sacred Thing” by Starhawk (movie) is in the making!

  • Daisy, I love your articles and comments on other sites. Keep up the good work! Something I might add in the off-grid entertainment part: education. I kept or re-bought earlier versions of all of my 101 books; if need be my young adult children WILL walk out of it with an AA, at least:) Good reading material is a MUST for us, plus a good stash of various guitar strings. Man alive….I hope s doesn’t hit the fan…we’ve been waiting and watching for this since the 90’s….scratching our heads and wondering just how many more strategies can TPTB trot out to delay an inevitable?!? What do you think? I think privatizing SS will be a last-ditch effort to fleece Americans and prop up the market.

    • I was thinking the opposite, nationalizing 401k plans and creating a national retirement plan in hopes of being able to kick the can down the road a little more. It occurred in a couple of European countries (Hungary??).

  • Great article Daisy! Thank you!

    Women should also add a pair of sensible walking shoes and socks to their BOB or car truck. You never know when you might need them. Having to walk a long distance in high heels would be very uncomfortable and slow you down.

    KY Mom

  • Riots are coming soon. There will be blood in the streets. I do believe this will end in BO declaring martial law, just what he wanted to do all along. Total control, and killing anyone who raises their heads in rebellion against “anointed one”.

  • All sound advice.

    I like your idea of heavy, dark plastic over windows. Doing this on the inside also helps to prevent shattered glass from flying should your home come under siege, or simply if it’s target with rocks or debris thrown by passing vandals.

  • Save big dog or cat food bags to make sandbags to stack below your windows and anywhere else you need to have some protection from incoming rounds. Just remember that sandbags are heavy and you need to keep the load reasonable for your floor joists. But for the windows of the shooting lanes for your watches nothing beats a good 12 -20 inches of cheap sandbags to stop even a large caliber round.

  • Has anyone considered installing back flow valves on their sewer pipes? It occurred to me that living in a suburb (or anywhere else without a septic tank) can be a nightmare, in the event of a grid down scenario. Once the power goes off on pumping stations, all sewage reverts back to source. Yuck.

    I don’t read much detail about it in survival posts – and what little I can glean from online research, it could be a real problem – that would destroy your hunker-down efforts.

    So far I find two options.
    1) installing a back flow valve (way BEFORE the SHTF and costly)
    2) installing a temporary inflatable device – which restricts in and out flow. Determining when that is needed may be tricky.

    All the preps in the world won’t help if sewer back flow occurs and trashes the inside of the home with sewage. Even if you don’t flush – your neighbors will…and it will be a sh!t highway. And I thought I had sanitation all figured out. oopsie.

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