Categories
Planning

How to mark yourself “safe” on facebook during an emergency

Share this story

  • Share this on Facebook
  • Share this on Twitter

Share All sharing options for: Facebook launched a dedicated tab for Safety Check

Facebook has made a permanent page for Safety Check, its feature for letting others know that you’re safe during an emergency.

The results are pretty eerie. A promotional photo shows the Safety Check page displaying what’s essentially a news feed of catastrophes — including a collapse, a fire, and a typhoon — and people marking themselves safe. You can even explore disasters “around the world.”

It’s a little unsettling, but Facebook seems to have built it out in recognition of the terrorist attacks and extreme weather events that happen on an unfortunately regular basis.

Facebook recently added the ability for people to make donations and offer help during disasters, so creating a hub where users can go to find all of them makes some amount of sense. Previously, the only way to access Safety Check is if you were first prompted to mark yourself safe.

Still, while the intention might be good, the feature is far from perfect. It sometimes gets activated when there isn’t a real emergency, leading to stressed out friends and relatives prodding you with Safety Check requests.

Even with this update, Safety Check is still pretty buried inside the app. On mobile, you have to go to the far right screen and scroll down until you find the icon, mixed in among dozens of other half-forgotten Facebook features. But its creation means that when the feature does get surfaced during a disaster, users will have a lot more to look through.

Facebook says the new section will be rolling out over “the upcoming weeks,” beginning today.

Eric Ravenscraft has nearly a decade of writing experience in the technology industry. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, PCMag, The Daily Beast, Popular Science, Medium’s OneZero, Android Police, Geek and Sundry, and The Inventory. Prior to joining How-To Geek, Eric spent three years working at Lifehacker. Read more.

Facebook has several useful tools for disasters, including a way to let others know you’re safe, and find out if others are safe, too. You can even connect with people who need or are offering help, or donate to existing fundraisers. If you want to raise money for your own cause, you can set up a fundraiser through Facebook’s Safety Check.

Facebook’s fundraisers let you raise money for people in need after a crisis. So, for example, if your neighbor’s house was damaged during a hurricane, you can set up a fundraiser so the people in your community can pitch in to help get it fixed. Facebook has specific rules for what you are allowed to raise funds for (though crisis relief is firmly in the approved category).

You can read Facebook’s policies for setting up a personal fundraiser here, and we recommend it before you get started. Among other things, it states that Facebook and its third-party payment processor can take up to 6.9% + $0.30 per donation in fees for the money you raise. This also doesn’t cover any taxes you may be obliged to pay, depending on where you live. Before you set up a fundraiser, make sure to take these fees into account so you don’t end up falling short even if you meet your goal.

To get started with your fundraiser, head to Facebook’s Safety Check section here, and then select the disaster or event for which you’re raising money.

On the right side of the page, there’s a sidebar of fundraisers you can donate to. If you’re just looking for a way to contribute to disaster relief and don’t have a specific cause in mind, consider donating to an existing fundraiser rather than creating your own.

To create your own fundraiser, click the “Raise Money” button.

Next, click the “Get Started” button in the window that appears.

Facebook asks whether you’re raising money for a friend or non-profit. We’re going to choose “Friend” for this example.

At the top of the window that appears, search for the name of the friend for whom you want to help raise money.

Give your fundraiser a title, select a category, add a picture, set an end date, and put in a goal amount. Remember, your goal amount should take into account any taxes and fees you’ll end up incurring. You can also add a description to your fundraiser to explain the situation and let people know how you’re going to use the money you raise.

When you’re ready to post your fundraiser, click “Create” at the bottom. After this, your fundraiser page goes public and you can start sharing it.

Share this story

  • Share this on Facebook
  • Share this on Twitter

Share All sharing options for: Facebook launched a dedicated tab for Safety Check

Facebook has made a permanent page for Safety Check, its feature for letting others know that you’re safe during an emergency.

The results are pretty eerie. A promotional photo shows the Safety Check page displaying what’s essentially a news feed of catastrophes — including a collapse, a fire, and a typhoon — and people marking themselves safe. You can even explore disasters “around the world.”

It’s a little unsettling, but Facebook seems to have built it out in recognition of the terrorist attacks and extreme weather events that happen on an unfortunately regular basis.

Facebook recently added the ability for people to make donations and offer help during disasters, so creating a hub where users can go to find all of them makes some amount of sense. Previously, the only way to access Safety Check is if you were first prompted to mark yourself safe.

Still, while the intention might be good, the feature is far from perfect. It sometimes gets activated when there isn’t a real emergency, leading to stressed out friends and relatives prodding you with Safety Check requests.

Even with this update, Safety Check is still pretty buried inside the app. On mobile, you have to go to the far right screen and scroll down until you find the icon, mixed in among dozens of other half-forgotten Facebook features. But its creation means that when the feature does get surfaced during a disaster, users will have a lot more to look through.

Facebook says the new section will be rolling out over “the upcoming weeks,” beginning today.

Three days of food and water isn’t enough. Enlist a digital first aid kit to help you weather the next natural disaster.

Josh Rotter is a editor for Download.com. Outside of crafting copy, Josh enjoys viewing classic films, attending live music events, taking marathon walks, and preparing Cordon Bleu-caliber cuisine.

Wildfire and hurricane season are here. If disaster strikes, you’ll fare better if you’re prepared . It’s important to have essentials on hand like drinking water, nonperishable food, battery-powered flashlights and phone chargers or power banks.

What’s on your phone may be just as valuable . Check out the top apps to help you before, during and after the next emergency — whether it’s a hurricane, earthquake, wildfire or flooding . Many of these Android and iOS apps work both online and off, for help during power outages or a loss of cell service.

What to do before an emergency

1. Weather Underground

Weather Underground (Android, iOS) is a crowdsourced information app that brings hyperlocal weather forecasts to your smartphone. You’ll also find photos, interactive radar data and satellite maps.

2. Hurricane Hound

As its name implies, Hurricane Hound (Android) lets you track active hurricanes using US radar and weather satellite data.

3. Natural Disaster Monitor

Easily monitor tropical cyclones, tsunamis, floods and more as color-coded icons, differentiated by threat level, in a list or Google Maps backdrop with Natural Disaster Monitor (Android).

Natural Disaster Monitor

4. MyRadar Weather Radar

MyRadar Weather Radar (Android, iOS) provides you with timely and accurate data on approaching storms, courtesy of high-res animated weather radars and 11 different overlay graphics, including a current satellite image of cloud cover. You can also enable severe weather watches and warnings via push notifications, so you’re alerted about impending thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornados.

MyRadar Weather Radar

5. First Aid: American Red Cross

Get invaluable, life-saving tips and instructions to help you and others survive everyday emergencies and natural disasters — such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes — with the First Aid: American Red Cross (Android, iOS) app. American Red Cross also has a slew of apps to help you during specific disasters, including Tornado (Android, iOS), Flood (Android, iOS) and Hurricane (Android, iOS).

American Red Cross

6. Disaster Alert

Get notified about upcoming hurricanes, tropical cyclones, tsunamis, as well as floods, storms and wildfires, so you’re not taken by surprise with Disaster Alert (Android, iOS).

7. ICE Medical Standard

ICE Medical Standard (Android, iOS) puts your vital health info and emergency medical contacts on your lock screen, so first responders can see it all immediately, whether you’re dazed, confused or unconscious.

Ice Medical Standard

What to do during an emergency

8. SirenGPS

Dialing 911 from a mobile phone doesn’t bring instant aid, because dispatchers need some location info to find you. SirenGPS (Android, iOS) puts them at the touch of one big red button. If your community subscribes to Siren 911, nearby first responders will receive your location and profile (emergency contacts, medical history, allergies and current medications, which you put into the app), improving your chance of being rescued in time.

9. Zello Walkie Talkie

Zello Walkie Talkie (Android, iOS) may have made the news and topped the App Store during recent hurricanes when word spread that volunteers were using it to coordinate rescue efforts. But the push-to-talk wide-range communication app is useful in more temperate times as well.

Zello Walkie Talkie

10. Kinetic Global (previously LifeLine Response)

For a subscription fee of $5 per month to Kinetic Global (Android, iOS), you’ll get a more immediate emergency response (based on GPS information and cell-tower triangulation) than if you called 911 and had to explain where you were.

11. Noonlight

Noonlight offers emergency help with the press and release of a button in the Noonlight (Android, iOS) app. Basic features like that panic button are free, but there are also subscription offers of $5 or $10 for even more safety tools. With Noonlight’s latest update, for $10 per month, riders and drivers of cars, bikes and scooters will also get automatic crash detection and response. Just activate the Noonlight app on your smartphone, and you are covered. Noonlight will soon launch a driver score feature to give users feedback on their driving safety.

12. Pet First Aid

Animals are people, too, especially cats and dogs. So get first-aid steps for over 25 common pet situations via text, video and images, or locate your nearest emergency vet hospital in the Pet First Aid (Android, iOS) app.

13. Emergency: Alerts

Track the places you care about with real-time disaster alerts or monitor loved ones with in-app messaging in the Emergency (Android, iOS) app.

14. Find My Family, Friends & Phone

Life360’s Find My Family, Friends, Phone (Android, iOS) uses GPS location data to inform you where your registered friends and family are in real time.

What to do after an emergency

15. Facebook

Facebook (Android, iOS) may be a source of fake news , but it’s a great way to notify you that your loved ones are safe, courtesy of the Safety Check feature. Make sure to mark yourself as safe as soon as you are.

16. FEMA

You’ve survived the disaster, but now what? The FEMA (Android, iOS) app, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ensures that you find local relief centers to access key services, shelter and more.

This article was co-authored by Saul Jaeger, MS. Saul Jaeger is a Police Officer and Captain of the Mountain View, California Police Department (MVPD). Saul has over 17 years of experience as a patrol officer, field training officer, traffic officer, detective, hostage negotiator, and as the traffic unit’s sergeant and Public Information Officer for the MVPD. At the MVPD, in addition to commanding the Field Operations Division, Saul has also led the Communications Center (dispatch) and the Crisis Negotiation Team. He earned an MS in Emergency Services Management from the California State University, Long Beach in 2008 and a BS in Administration of Justice from the University of Phoenix in 2006. He also earned a Corporate Innovation LEAD Certificate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 2018.

There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 112,470 times.

Bad things can and do happen and the world can sometimes seem like a very scary and dangerous place. Fortunately there are some precautions you can take to reduce your risks. While nothing can completely protect you from every danger, there are some simple steps that you can take to avoid potential dangers or to deal with them when they happen.

Having an evacuation map is not just a good idea, it’s required by law to meet most local fire codes. And there are a number of keys and best practices for making a proper evacuation map …

1. Keep it Simple

This is a case where less detail is better. The faster and easier that someone can look at your map and find out what they need to know, the better. Calm thinking goes out the window during a crisis, and the goal here is to save lives, so only the important elements need to be displayed.

For the map to provide instant clarity during a disasterous event, use simple black and white lines to show the architectural layout (walls, doors, etc). Highlight important elements on the map (exit points, fire extinguisher locations, etc) in color. These important elements should be shown using both a simple graphic and a text label.

2. Elements to Show on Your Evacuation Map

  • The basic layout of the property including walls and doors. Show the outside of the property as well because you need to indicate a marshal or congregation area for people to go to in the event of an emergency.
  • The starting point. This is the location of the map (and therefore the person reading it). Make a large red dot and label it “You Are Here”.
  • The compass. Show a basic compass in the corner of the map indicating the direction of North with the letter “N”.
  • Exit points. Highlight the exterior doors and label them as “Exit” on your map. These exit points need to be clear and accessible at all times. They also should not be locked in a way that requires a key to open them when exiting.
  • The marshal area. This is the place where evacuees should meet. It should be a safe distance away from the building to provide adequate protection from fire and any onsite hazards such as chemicals or explosive materials. Draw the marshal area on your map using a red circle and label it “Marshal Area”.
  • Fire extinguishers. Use a small fire extinguisher icon and the label “Fire Extinguisher” to show the location of all the extinguishers on your map. If there’s a firefighting station on the property, show that as well and label it “Fire Station”.
  • First aid kits and stations. Use a blue cross and the appropriate labels to show the location of first aid kits and first aid rooms.
  • Other important elements. You can also show certain things such as eyewash stations, stairways that lead out of the building, and other safety stations that might be specific to your industry or business.

3. Display the Maps in High Traffic Areas

For an evacuation map to be useful, it has to be visible. Display it on a bare wall in easy view of the surrounding area. If you have multiple maps, make a different map for each diplay location with a unique “You Are Here” element.

It’s also a good idea to orient each map (turn it) in a way that makes sense to the display location so users can quickly see where they are and how to exit. The best way to understand this is, if you’re facing the map and you remove it from the wall and lay it flat, the elements to the left of you will be to the left of your location marked on the map.

4. Tools for Creating Your Map

The easiest way to create an evacuation map is to use simple pen and paper. If you do this, use fine-tipped markers for the colored elements. You can also use the drawing tools in a program like Microsoft Word or a drawing program like Photoshop.

An ordinary picture frame will do for displaying your maps, and you can get “frameless” picture frames at any stationary store that look clean and professional.

In day to day life the thought of an emergency exit plan may never cross our minds. From our places of work to our homes, we don’t think we will be the ones caught in the midst of an emergency. The unfortunate reality, however, is that emergency situations are much more common than we think.

We may be diligent in checking the batteries of our smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors, but beyond that, how much thought do we put into emergency evacuation plans? When an emergency strikes though, you want to have a clear plan to exit the buildings as quickly and safely as possible. Emergency egress may not be in your day to day thoughts, but being prepared can make a potentially lifesaving difference in a dire situation.

Have a Clear Evacuation Plan

Although there is no way to predict when an emergency will occur, or what will happen, having an emergency egress plan can help to ensure all occupants can exit the building quickly and safely.

An emergency evacuation plan can protect the lives of occupants and should include considerations for persons of all abilities. Create an emergency evacuation plan that includes more than one way out of the building, in the event an emergency exit becomes blocked. Ensure to educate occupants of the evacuation plan, and post emergency egress signage around the building. Ensure the evacuation path is clearly marked with luminous egress path markings, so occupants can quickly find their way to the exit discharge.

Keep the Exit Path Clear

Keeping litter, clutter and debris out of the way in an emergency egress pathway is critical, as providing a clear exit pathway will speed up egress times, allowing occupants to safely exit the building.

In cases where obstructions cannot be moved, such as standpipes, ensure to clearly mark these obstacles so occupants can avoid injury during an emergency egress. A luminous egress path marking object is ideal, as it will keep the obstacle visible in all lighting conditions, alerting occupants of the potential hazard.

Adequate Emergency Lighting

In the event of an emergency it is likely the building will lose power, leaving occupants, and emergency responders, in the dark, during what is an already stressful event. In order for a safe emergency egress to occur, there must be sufficient emergency egress lighting along the exit pathway.

Luminous egress path markings are required by international building, fire and life safety codes in high-rise buildings to ensure the egress path remains well lit. Luminous egress path markings must be installed in several key areas of the egress pathway, including step-edges, handrails, exit doors and around the perimeter and any obstructions. Because they rely only on surrounding light sources to gain a charge, luminous egress path markings are a fail-safe, non-powered emergency lighting system you can rely on.

Only Gather the Essentials

When emergency strikes you may only have a few minutes to safely exit the building. In these stressful moments it is critical to exit the building and not spending time collecting belongings. If at home, ensure pets and children come with you as you exit the building.

Remember, possessions can be replaced so getting yourself out of the building quickly and safely is the priority.

Clearly Mark the Exit Doors

In order to guide occupants to the exit discharge, all exit doors must be clearly marked. Final exit doors should always remain unobstructed and undecorated. Additionally, any doors along the exit path way that could be mistaken for exit doors, should be labeled as “not an exit” to clearly communicate egress instructions.

Exit doors should be marked with large, visible letters stating “exit” as well as door hardware markings, door frame markings and the emergency exit symbol. It is important only final exit doors have these markings as to not confuse occupants during emergency egress.

Although it may not cross our minds daily, being prepared for an emergency situation can make a vital difference in occupant safety. Luminous egress path markings ensure the exit pathway remains visible and easily followed in all lighting conditions, enhancing egress speeds.

Ecoglo has been proudly providing the nation with industry-leading, code compliant luminous egress path markings for over 20 years. Our wide range of path markings products ensure you can build a completely custom, code compliant solution for your building. From luminescent exit signs to non-slip step-edge markings, rely on Ecoglo for the visibly better solution in egress markings!

Ecoglo is an industry leader in providing durable, long-lasting and highly efficient luminous egress products. Our company prides ourselves on exceptional customer service.

Many unexpected things can happen during your winter adventure, including disasters such as snow slides. Make sure you are prepared for these scenarios. Here are some tips you need to know on how to survive an avalanche!

Preparing for the Unexpected: Learning How to Survive an Avalanche

How to Prepare for an Avalanche

1. Take an Avalanche Survival Class

Attending an avalanche survival workshop might not be the fun activity you’ve been waiting for in your ski trip, but it’s definitely a life-saving affair. Learning the basics and must-haves will save you from an icy tight spot!

If you can’t fit a physical class into your schedule, you can opt for webinars and other online lessons. There are also tons of helpful tutorials on the Internet to help you get started.

2. Read Up

Aside from virtual training, reading books on how to survive an avalanche can supply you with all the information you need. Some destinations offer pamphlets and brochures for tourists, so make sure to read up!

When you are reading, look for tips on what to bring, what to expect, and what to do during these emergency situations. Researching about the do’s and don’ts should be your top priority.

3. Prepare an Emergency Bag

You may have sufficient food, adequate water, and a first aid kit—but those supplies aren’t enough to keep you going if you want to make it out alive from an avalanche.

The most important thing you need to have in your emergency gear is a beacon transceiver. This will help you call for help in the event that you get buried into an avalanche.

A shovel will also come in handy for digging out snow, as well as trekking poles to mark your trails. You might be burdened with a heavy bag, but that’s definitely better than rummaging through nothing!

4. Check the Forecast

Before you head out on any trip, make it a habit to always check the forecast. Being able to know ahead of time can help you reschedule your plans to a much safer date.

Forecasts can sometimes turn out to be wrong since they are not 100% accurate. Nevertheless, they’re good indicators for securing your safety so you won’t end up being caught in a snowstorm.

5. Observe Your Surroundings

Checking your surroundings is one of the best precautions to follow in learning how to survive an avalanche. Looking around can guide you toward safer routes and sturdy shelter.

If you see any signs of a previous or recent avalanche, it is strongly recommended to get yourself out of harm’s way and postpone the skiing.

How to Recover from an Avalanche

6. Flee to the Sides of the Avalanche

Escaping is your body’s automatic response against imminent danger, but you need to be alert on where you are running off to. It may be difficult to outrun an avalanche, so avoid moving in a straight line.

Instead, flee to the sides to prevent getting yourself buried into the snow. You can also go uphill or jump toward a slope.

7. Reach and Grab

Got yourself caught by the snow slide? Keep an eye out and reach for something big and sturdy, like a tree or a boulder. Major avalanches might crush these along the way, but smaller ones can spare you some to hold on to.

Regardless, grab whatever you can to help you slow down. Your goal is to be rooted to one spot and avoid getting dragged all the way.

8. Keep One Arm Up

In the event that you can no longer reach or grab, your best bet is to keep at least one arm up as you slide down. This will help your friends to pull you up or a rescue team to find you among the snow pile.

During these cases, wearing eye-catching gloves will save your life. The reflective variety can also be very useful during nighttime or if it’s dark out.

9. Swim Up

Did you know that swimming is a vital skill in knowing how to survive an avalanche? Once you are deep into the snow, you need to prevent yourself from being trapped any further.

“Swimming up” will get you to the top of the avalanche, where it is much more safe. You can try other aggressive motions with your arms and feet, as long as they can lead you to the surface.

10. Make Room to Breathe

The last thing you want to happen to you during this situation is to run out of air to breathe. Asphyxiation is known to be one of the most common causes of avalanche-related deaths, so do your best to stay alert.

Moments before you get buried, keep one arm up and use the other one to cup a hand over your mouth. Once you are underground, move that hand around to create some space. This will give you enough room to allow airflow until help arrives.

You can also do the avalanche spit trick; just continue spitting until you have a pocket of air to breathe. More importantly, your spit can help you determine which way is up and down by gravity and the direction it follows.

11. Remain Calm

It’s natural to panic, but it’s also the worst thing you can do during such an emergency. Work on your breathing and give yourself enough time to calm your nerves. Being calm while responding quickly is the key to keeping yourself alive!

Planning your winter getaway is a lot more fun when you know you are fully prepared for the worst case scenarios. Learning how to survive an avalanche is one of the most important things you need to know before you head out, so make sure to get yourself trained and informed.

Calling all preppers, craftsmen, bushmasters, outdoorsmen and all around skilled people, Survival Life needs YOU! Click here if you want to write for us.

Don’t forget to stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

Do you have any other tips on how to survive an avalanche? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Emergency survival skills include being able to find food and water in a disaster situation. These skills are essential for staying healthy and alive. You should also be familiar with the animals and plants that thrive in your area. Prepare a list of the different plants and animals, and mark them with identification marks. While many plants and animals are edible, you should avoid eating anything that you do not know. Luckily, you can hunt for animal meat or catch fish for your own food.

Building shelter is one of the most important disaster survival skills that will allow you to stay safe and informed. You should memorize the broadcast frequency of the town in which you live. Keeping yourself warm is essential for long-term survival, and you can also keep yourself and others warm by using a radio. If you’re in a remote area, you should consider purchasing a radio with a battery backup so you don’t have to worry about running out of electricity.

Another important skill in emergency survival is knowing how to boil water. Even if you don’t have a source of clean water, you can still collect morning dew and boil it for your family. If you don’t have access to electricity or running water, you’ll need to make your own. There are also chemicals that you can use to make water safe for consumption. It’s best to collect the water you need in advance of the disaster and store it in a waterproof container.

Lastly, be sure to have a first aid kit and manual in your home or cabin. You can practice these skills on your own if you have the time. It is also important to learn how to make a fire for warmth, ward off predators, and cook food. During a disaster, making a fire is very difficult, especially if there is little food or water. It’s also very important to know how to make a fire in rainy weather, because damp and overcast weather can limit the ability to build a fire.

Besides a first aid kit, you should also learn how to use a firearm. You should also be familiar with the basics of self-defense so you can defend yourself from attackers. You can use your own pistol or revolver to protect yourself. The best way to learn how to shoot a firearm is to practice it before an emergency. It’s always better to learn how to make a plan before an emergency so that you don’t have to worry about getting injured or being attacked.

Lastly, you should learn how to make a fire. A fire is a key survival skill. It not only keeps you warm, but it can also be used to signal rescuers. Listed below are 8 types of fire that you should know and practice in your home. So, you should also learn how to make a fire. And remember to keep the fire safe, because this is the best way to survive an emergency.

Aside from being able to use a fire extinguisher, you should also know how to make a face mask. A face mask is a good emergency survival skill, and it can be easily made with household materials. It is important to remember that a disaster can be very dangerous. And you’ll need to stay safe to survive. During this time, you will need to know how to protect yourself. And you can do this by learning how to cook without a stove.

When the time comes to seek help, you can make use of basic survival skills. You should keep a calm and level attitude. And you should practice using a signal. This will help you attract rescuers and alert your community. A fire will also make it possible to boil water and dry clothing. It will also give you psychological support. The most basic emergency survival skill is learning how to build a shelter. It is a very useful skill, and you should master it before you have a disaster.

The first step is to identify a safe location where you can get water. You can use a nearby creek or pond to fill a water container. Small ponds are safer and contain more water. During a disaster, it’s important to make sure you have plenty of water. Then, you should prepare for your family’s daily meals and snacks. While it is not essential to prepare the food in advance, it is important to know how to cook.

It wasn’t so long ago that a violent riot was an unusual event, something that happened, perhaps, following a sports championship game or a particularly contentious jury decision. Increasingly, though, they are frequent occurrences. As a result, civil unrest safety has become a significant concern of many.

Civil unrest, whether it’s a group of citizens legally expressing their opinion or an all-out riot, is something to learn about and prepare for, especially if you live in an area where they have become more likely or even commonplace. They’re also referred to as civil disturbances.

Often, gatherings of angry people can erupt into violence completely out of the blue, but usually, there are plenty of warning signs before a group reaches that point. The problem is, that you never know what the final trigger will be.

These 15 tips in four categories will help you stay safe, especially if you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Table of contents

  • 15 Civil Unrest Safety Strategies
    • What to Do Before: Stay Informed
    • What to Do During: Your Safety is YOUR Responsibility
    • How to Get Out: Reaching Safety
    • What to Do RIGHT NOW: Develop Habits
  • Conclusion

15 Civil Unrest Safety Strategies

Safety strategies for civil disturbances are simple to learn and implement when necessary.

What to Do Before: Stay Informed

1. Stay informed of local events and international headlines. You can’t afford to ignore what is happening. Twitter is often the best source for up-to-the-minute news. Follow national and local news sources for this information.

2. If you find out about a rabble-rousing group, you can get on their email list and/or follow them on Twitter and Facebook. They will usually publicize their activities, giving you a heads up of where to NOT be.

READ MORE: Three moms share their stories of preparing for civil unrest.

What to Do During: Your Safety is YOUR Responsibility

3. Fact: The larger the group of people, the lower the overall IQ. They will not be thinking rationally about their actions or possible consequences. They also have the cloak of anonymity. This is a scary combination.

4. Establish a meet-up location in case you’re separated. The movement of a mob is chaotic, powerful, and unpredictable. Despite your best efforts, your group may get broken up. As soon as you realize the danger (if not before), pick a place to regroup should that happen.

5. Don’t assume that you will be singled out for protection by Law Enforcement Officers. They will almost certainly have their hands full already. Civil unrest safety is your responsibility.

6. Don’t expect sympathy just because you are caught in the middle – even if your kids are with you, even if you’re handicapped.

7. Blend in, if you can, until you can get out. If they’re wearing shemaghs, you wear a shemagh. If they’re carrying a sign, you carry a sign. Whatever they’re chanting, you chant. If they look angry, you look angry. Blend in just long enough to work your way to the edge of the crowd and then leave.

How to Get Out: Reaching Safety

8. If you are of the “wrong” nationality or race, get out quickly. Don’t wait. Even a peaceful demonstration can become violent and your appearance can, and probably will make you a target.

9. If you can’t get out, take cover, hide, but be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones. If they can’t see you, they can’t hurt you.

10. If in the middle of a mob, work your way to the outer edges and make your escape. By the way, if you typically wear uncomfortable shoes, or at least shoes that would hinder a quick getaway, you might just want to re-think that as a habit or always have a good pair of closed-toed shoes in your vehicle or workplace.

11. Do not get caught against a wall or fence. You’ll be trapped and possibly injured or killed.

12. Take cover, and stay indoors as long as possible. Mobs of people that become a riot are by their very nature unpredictable and generally speaking, indoors will be safer than outside. However, if you hear breaking glass or smell smoke, you can probably assume your location is no longer safe.

What to Do RIGHT NOW: Develop Habits

13. Get in the habit of EDC: Everyday Carry. These are items you automatically put in your pockets when you leave the house, along with your keys and wallets. Depending on whether or not you want to carry a purse, you may have to adjust your wardrobe. Think escape first, defense second.

Civil unrest safety has more to do with awareness and avoidance than it does confrontation.

A couple of items for EDC to consider that relate to this topic:

  • $50+ in cash, smaller bills
  • A knife with a larger blade or a “tactical pen” (Know how to use these.)
  • “Industrial strength” pepper spray — although, if you or a family member has asthma, this can debilitate you as well as an attacker
  • A face mask to protect your nose and mouth from smoke, tear gas, or pepper spray. Eyeglasses or goggles protect your eyes.
  • A police scanner app (free!) on your phone to avoid areas with problems

READ MORE: This list of personal security considerations from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency is intended to “help mitigate threats to personal safety.”

14. Stay up to date with controversial issues, especially hot-button issues in your home area. These can trigger random violence as well as organized protests, which can become violent.

15. Improve your “situational awareness”. This means knowing what is going on around you so you can spot danger and move away from it more quickly. If things go badly, situational awareness can help you stay focused on your primary goal: staying alive and safe.

What will you do if you’re caught in the
wrong place at the wrong time?

Protect yourself better by learning more about how and why a crowd becomes a mob. This plus additional safety tips are in my FREE 3-part Civil Unrest Safety course.

Conclusion

If you go back and re-read these tips, most are things even little kids can learn to some degree. When your whole family knows that they need to get to the edge of a crowd to escape (#9) in advance, it makes coordination in an actual emergency much easier.

Ultimately, your safety is your responsibility. And since there are usually warning signs that a crowd may turn violent, you can prepare by knowing what those are and what to do if you’re caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

How have you prepared to handle civil unrest?

Three steps to begin the conversation and keep your family safe

Key points

  • You can’t always be with your child, but if your child needs to reach you in an emergency, there needs to be a plan—discussed beforehand.
  • Emergency communication might need to be discreet, but it should be clear to the recipients.
  • Children and parents should have at least one important phone number memorized in the event of an emergency.
  • If your child is unable to speak freely in a crisis, having a preplanned emergency code gives your child a safe way to communicate clearly.

Talking to your kids about personal safety and emergency preparedness is important yet complicated. Finding the most appropriate approach can be difficult. The conversations involve potentially scary and dangerous situations. It might seem more straightforward to use fear to emphasize the importance of situational awareness and other aspects of personal safety. But that approach might miss the mark when a fearful response results in avoidance of further discussion.

Emergencies are, in fact, scary. Fear is a natural response. However, survival is the ultimate goal when personal safety is compromised. Talking about survival does not have to be driven by fear. On the contrary, proactive safety planning should be an empowering experience for your family unit.

Personal safety is not a game, but practice and a little fun can reinforce it.

Safety involves education and communication. Communication can begin at home with you, your children, or the rest of your family unit. Furthermore, how to communicate in an emergency should be an early topic to address.

If you’re unsure where to begin, try working on these three manageable and actionable steps to develop an emergency communication plan with your loved ones.

Memorize telephone numbers

Memorizing telephone numbers isn’t as commonplace as it used to be. Contact information is generally saved in cell phones today. Many children have cell phones, but they may not always be with them. While technology can be excellent and convenient, it isn’t always available, and it doesn’t always work when needed the most.

Every child should learn 9-1-1 or another standard emergency number for your region. In addition to that, challenge yourself and your family unit to memorize at least one other telephone number. This number should be a number most likely to be answered when your family is typically separated.

For example, if you don’t always have your cell phone with you at work, but your office has another number answered during business hours, your child should memorize this number. If an emergency happens at school, your child can reach you from memory if needed.

Share your locations

With a vast majority of the population carrying cell phones, most members of your household probably has one. Cell phones with location-sharing capabilities can usually grant access to others. If you’re unsure how to access or modify these features, contact your service provider or manufacturer’s website.

This access shouldn’t be a means of excessive control or a violation of personal boundaries. Have a conversation with your family and determine for yourselves if this is an appropriate safety step for your household. If you decide location sharing is a good fit, emphasize that you’re collectively acknowledging that in an emergency, access to this information could be crucial to safety and survival.

For example, if you live in a climate with cold winters and your teenager gets lost or gets into a vehicular accident in harsh conditions, the other family members would be able to see the phone’s location, which is likely the location of its owner.

Develop an emergency communication code

In a crisis or emergency, clear communication is crucial. Law enforcement and military members often use a coded transmission to relay important information. Outside the agencies, such communications may sound like another language full of acronyms and numbers. However, the communications—coded and vague as they may appear—are crystal clear to those who need to hear the information.

If you need help, the most straightforward way to express that immediate need is to say, “I need help.” But emergencies are rarely simple, and a few code words or phrases can make all the difference if a loved one cannot speak freely to you at that moment.

One fun way to start this communication plan is to establish code names for yourselves. The Secret Service assigns code names to presidents, vice presidents, and their respective families. For example, former first lady Nancy Reagan’s code name was Rainbow. Find a code name that is easy to say and not easily confused with another word when spoken.

When developing a communication code that works for your family, think about how that code could be expressed in verbal, written, and visual forms. In addition, take into consideration the age and maturity level of those involved. Younger children likely need a more accessible code. Older children might be able to memorize a more detailed code. As the family grows and matures, revisit this code and adjust it to suit your needs.

There are many ways to develop an emergency communication code. For younger family members, it might make sense to have a color-themed code.

Here is an example:

Code Red = I’m hurt.

Code White = I’m lost.

Code Blue = I need help.

If a family member is hurt, there are a few ways to communicate this. “I’m hurt” would be explicit and overt. But covertly, it could be communicated as a “Code Red” in verbal or written form within a phone call or text message. You could also communicate a “Code Red” visually by pointing to or referencing something red. If the intention is to relay that another family member is hurt, their respective code name with “red” will communicate the information.

Referencing a “Code Red, White, and Blue” would indicate that all three are factors for this particular color code.

You could also expand the color code to include numbers referring to different locations if location-sharing options fail or are unavailable.

Here is an example for location codes:

4 = Other frequented location.

The color and numerical codes can provide quick and clear communication. For example, if your loved one has an emergency at school and needs help, indicating “Blue 2” or even “B2” would suffice.

One emergency communication code may not be suitable for all family units. Develop your own, and allow the conversation and planning to be serious as well as fun. Practice it occasionally when you’re together to keep the information fresh.

Just like a Secret Service protection assignment, everyone’s safety at the end of the day is the ultimate goal. Most of the time, the days are uneventful and go as expected. But the regular days do not negate the need for practicing emergency communication.

Regularly talking about safety and communication plans promotes unity and empowerment. The underlying message is not one of fearful preparedness. By talking about emergencies and creating an appropriate and clear communication plan with your loved ones, you’re transmitting a message of strength—individually and collectively—as a family unit.

Emergency survival skills include being able to find food and water in a disaster situation. These skills are essential for staying healthy and alive. You should also be familiar with the animals and plants that thrive in your area. Prepare a list of the different plants and animals, and mark them with identification marks. While many plants and animals are edible, you should avoid eating anything that you do not know. Luckily, you can hunt for animal meat or catch fish for your own food.

Building shelter is one of the most important disaster survival skills that will allow you to stay safe and informed. You should memorize the broadcast frequency of the town in which you live. Keeping yourself warm is essential for long-term survival, and you can also keep yourself and others warm by using a radio. If you’re in a remote area, you should consider purchasing a radio with a battery backup so you don’t have to worry about running out of electricity.

Another important skill in emergency survival is knowing how to boil water. Even if you don’t have a source of clean water, you can still collect morning dew and boil it for your family. If you don’t have access to electricity or running water, you’ll need to make your own. There are also chemicals that you can use to make water safe for consumption. It’s best to collect the water you need in advance of the disaster and store it in a waterproof container.

Lastly, be sure to have a first aid kit and manual in your home or cabin. You can practice these skills on your own if you have the time. It is also important to learn how to make a fire for warmth, ward off predators, and cook food. During a disaster, making a fire is very difficult, especially if there is little food or water. It’s also very important to know how to make a fire in rainy weather, because damp and overcast weather can limit the ability to build a fire.

Besides a first aid kit, you should also learn how to use a firearm. You should also be familiar with the basics of self-defense so you can defend yourself from attackers. You can use your own pistol or revolver to protect yourself. The best way to learn how to shoot a firearm is to practice it before an emergency. It’s always better to learn how to make a plan before an emergency so that you don’t have to worry about getting injured or being attacked.

Lastly, you should learn how to make a fire. A fire is a key survival skill. It not only keeps you warm, but it can also be used to signal rescuers. Listed below are 8 types of fire that you should know and practice in your home. So, you should also learn how to make a fire. And remember to keep the fire safe, because this is the best way to survive an emergency.

Aside from being able to use a fire extinguisher, you should also know how to make a face mask. A face mask is a good emergency survival skill, and it can be easily made with household materials. It is important to remember that a disaster can be very dangerous. And you’ll need to stay safe to survive. During this time, you will need to know how to protect yourself. And you can do this by learning how to cook without a stove.

When the time comes to seek help, you can make use of basic survival skills. You should keep a calm and level attitude. And you should practice using a signal. This will help you attract rescuers and alert your community. A fire will also make it possible to boil water and dry clothing. It will also give you psychological support. The most basic emergency survival skill is learning how to build a shelter. It is a very useful skill, and you should master it before you have a disaster.

The first step is to identify a safe location where you can get water. You can use a nearby creek or pond to fill a water container. Small ponds are safer and contain more water. During a disaster, it’s important to make sure you have plenty of water. Then, you should prepare for your family’s daily meals and snacks. While it is not essential to prepare the food in advance, it is important to know how to cook.

In the wake of the accident that affected Simon Gautier who made a bad fall while trekking in Italy, and emergency services took over a week to locate him after he called them, one may wonder: in an emergency, how do I find and share my position when I am lost or disoriented?

To make it clear, both of these scenarios should be considered:

  • One is going on what they (should) know is a perilous trip, probably requiring special preparation, and possibly where cell signal will not be available.
  • One is just going on their day-to-day business, but happens to require emergency services in a location they don’t know well (breakdown or accident on a road somewhere in the countryside, for instance), and they are able to get at least minimal (voice) cell coverage to reach emergency service, but just need to be able to find out and share their location.

18 Answers 18

If away from civilization (and I will count this particular instance as falling there), the real answer is to have either a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or a Spot/InReach device. They each have their relative pluses and minuses.

A PLB is a small handheld (about the size of an adult fist) device that uses multiple emergency channels to provide information to trigger and aid a search and rescue effort. You unfold the antenna and hit a button. Using a built-in GPS it attempts to get a fix. Whether it finds that fix or not, it uses an international emergency frequency in the 400MHz range to send distress messages to satellites. If a GPS fix is available, your location is contained in the message. If not, provided you have updated your on-line profile for your trip, it has some info to go on. Of course, the particular satellite that receives the information also gives some idea of where to start looking. Further, the PLB transmits on 121.5MHz, the international frequency for downed aircraft. All search and rescue teams are trained in using this signal to home in on the source. The PLB I use (well, haven’t used yet) has a single use battery that needs to be replaced every 5 years – you don’t have to worry about it not working when you need it.

Devices such as Spot and InReach use the Iridium constellation to send messages. Either can trigger a search and rescue operation through the network. They also provide GPS coordinates (if a fix is available) to emergency responders. One advantage is they have 2-way messaging on them, a feature the PLB lacks. If used in non-emergency situations to track your position for friends, send messages, etc., you might worry about running out of battery power at the wrong time.

Either one, properly cared and treated, is the proper way to be prepared to alert search and rescue when away from civilization (be it just hiking in the hills – lets not talk about how hard it was to get 911 to respond to a trailhead in the foothills near town – since I didn’t have a street address to give them they were really confused for a while until I used Google maps to find a house address near the trailhead).

I’m amazed that the answers here are all reliant on technology. This is a problem that existed long before the advent of phones, GPS and satellite communications. The real answer is that you must be personally responsible and do a bit of planning and preparation. Here is what they teach children about trekking/hiking in the UK and I assume most of the rest of Europe.

  1. Plan your route in advance, including backup/escape routes
  2. Let someone know your plans; your route and when you expect to finish *
  3. Carry a map and compass and know how to use them
  4. Carry emergency equipment in case you need it; whistle, torch, survival bag, first aid kit, spare food and water, warm clothes
  5. Keep up to date with weather and conditions and be prepared to turn back

Every outdoor/expedition advice or guidance will tell you not to rely on a mobile phone. Locator beacons are more reliable in terms of signal but have their downsides in that they are expensive and you need to register them (and maintain your registration). If you activate a PLB in the Alps simply because you are lost the authorities will charge you for the rescue, which will be thousands of Euro and will not be covered by your insurance. The false alarm rate is also astonishingly high, so there are questions over how these would be prioritised by SAR. There are a few instances of PLB triggered rescues in the UK, but not many.

Of course the reality is that mobile phones can prove to be, in many cases, an amazing tool for alerting the authorities to an emergency. Simon did manage to make a call but he couldn’t tell them where he was. If he knew his location (map & compass) he would have been able to get rescuers near enough so that they could hear his whistle blowing.

All rescue teams publish regular reports which include details of callouts and rescues. They are very interesting reading and can give great insight into the how SAR works, what mistakes are often made and how to avoid them. I would advise anyone interested in the outdoors to read them.

Edit: If you have a map and compass (and know how to use them) you can quickly and easily find your position when lost and disoriented. This is just basic navigation skills – look around you for features you can identify on the map and use the compass to find their bearing. Track this back to the map and bingo you have a decent idea of your position. If you have a sighting compass and good skills you can find your position as accurately as GPS. The map and compass isn’t just for planning!

* In my experience most outdoor focused accommodation will expect you to tell them this when you book. This is certainly true of YHA in the UK and alpine refuges.