The Prepper Journal

Preparing for Armed Protests in Your City

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: Police holds a perimeter in front of burning and rolled over vehicles during a protest near the White House on May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested for Floyd's death and is accused of kneeling on Floyd's neck as he pleaded with him about not being able to breathe. Floyd was pronounced dead a short while later. Chauvin and three other officers, who were involved in the arrest. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Following last week’s news that in the wake of the capital protests, the FBI is warning of “plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals”. Many of us live in a capital city and if you have concerns that you could be affected by potentially armed protests, you have some decisions to make quickly.

I took part in a Reddit discussion on r/preppers a couple of days ago about this subject and felt that it warranted a little more exploration for the audience of the Prepper Journal. Time is counting down to prepare for any violence, but there is still plenty of time left if you act now.

The actual events could not materialize and hopefully, the warnings are wrong. I’d like nothing better than to have this inauguration go off without a hitch if the opposite is to have my country continue to devolve. Don’t read anything into my political beliefs with that statement but I do think there are other battles to fight.

I also worry that any new armed protests will be met with counter-protestors this time like Antifa and BLM who may be itching to stir things up. And, if you consider for a minute that the 15,000 National Guard troops that are guarding our capital will be armed, that is a recipe for disaster. Throw two violently opposed sides together and give national guard troops ammo and it could get ugly.

Deciding if you should stay or leave

Armed protests have a way of escalating quickly.

As I said in my Reddit comments, when faced with this potential you must look at your own situation. Assuming you do not want any part of the armed protests, should they materialize, I think you have two options. You can either plan to hunker down and shelter in place if something happens (might even be mandatory) or bug out before the troubles come marching down your street.

For each person, this decision largely comes down to where you live. Many of us can watch the downtown city burn to the ground from a safe distance and not be affected directly by any armed protests. What is a safe distance? It depends on the city and to some extent, the population size. For someplace like Washington DC, I would not want to be inside a 15-mile radius this coming week. In another city with one 10th of the population, that safe zone radius may be closer to 1 or 2 miles.

My city is under 300,000 people and when the BLM protests ramped up this summer, they could easily be avoided if you stayed out of certain areas, sometimes just specific streets. They did branch out to the mall and other locations but there was no real critical mass that could not be avoided unless you count the time they blocked the highway. In a place like DC, a mob could easily overwhelm certain areas and there are a lot of people who live within walking distance to the monuments and government office buildings.

Deciding to Bug out after trouble starts puts you at more risk. Sometimes this cannot be avoided. If the chaos comes to you, my recommendation and plan for my family is not to stand my ground and fight it out with hundreds of rioters, but to leave. Pack your bug out bags and the family pets into your trusty bug-out vehicle and get the heck out of dodge.

If you find yourself in that situation always move away from the chaos. Knowing alternate routes out of your neighborhood and city could be necessary and keep you from being trapped. I’ll cover bugging out in a minute. But first, if you are staying put for the armed protests…

Hunkering down requires different planning and you have a little time.

Choosing to stay or being caught in an area with armed protests could be interesting or deadly. I have a pessimistic view of human nature though so I am always leaning toward the possibility that it could go wrong, and I want to take steps to protect my family. This list is just a few of the top-of-mind items I would ensure I had considered if I was hunkering down in an area where we could see violent protests.

Assume that if a lot of violent protests and chaos happens your city may be placed on lockdown. More so if something incredibly tragic like a bomb or some other terroristic type of attack happen. Cities could be cordoned off to investigate the crime or catch criminals. Remember when the Boston bombing and officials locked down the city and began door to door searches. Innocent people were confronted in their homes at gunpoint. Some people had guns pointed at them just for merely peeking through their windows.

That was over 7 years ago. If something more violent happens now, I can easily imagine the response being much more intense. Then again, I imagine lots of things.

The good news is that preparing to hunker down in a city with armed protests down looks just like prepping for a lot of other emergencies. Pretty much all of these prepper supplies should be readily available now or if you hurry, Amazon will get any of the items below to you in two days if you are on Prime.

Stock up on Food and Water

You should already have Food and Water for 2 weeks, ideally 30 days. If the town is shut down for 2 weeks and they are not letting anyone out to go to the store, you probably have bigger problems.

Make sure you have a way to heat your food too. I recommend a good camping stove for dual burners or if you are only heating up dehydrated food with water a smaller stove works just to ensure you have enough fuel for both.

Get Cash out now

Get cash now – Several hundred dollars if you can in smaller denominations. Power or the internet could be knocked out due to bombs or government edict. Without power or internet, ATM’s go down.

Fill up on Gas

If you have a car, fill the tanks in any you do have. Additionally, I would store an extra 5 gallons of fuel outside of your residence. If you have a generator, do this for the generator fuel supply also.

Make sure you can see in the dark

Ensure you have several LED headlamps and spare batteries to see what you are doing in the dark. Headlamps are relatively cheap, and they are so much easier than any other method. LED lanterns are a good room light option, but you don’t want to carry them room to room if it can be avoided.

I personally have boxes of small candles, but they are my emergency fall back redundancy, not my first choice. Candles are a waste of money in my opinion. They don’t put out much light unless you have a ridiculous amount of them, and they are a real fire hazard – IMO

First Aid

Get a decent first aid kit that is not just an assortment of band-aids. There are some good medical kit options out there that you can buy pre-assembled, but I have yet to find one that is worth the price. I have always got something like a wilderness first aid kit and expanded my capabilities with additional items.

I always like to have some additional blood stopper bandages. A CAT tourniquet could not hurt either. Celox or Quick clot stops severe bleeding and it could save your life in a bad injury. OTC pain killer meds and anti-bacterial. Amazon will get this to you before the 20th if you order today.


If armed protests are coming to your town, you need to decide now if you should leave.

DC and a few other cities that have restrictive firearm policies are a different beast than most of the US although I know we have a lot of readers who live in these cities. For those who can’t, Bear Spray, Baseball bat, Knife?

For others who have at least one good firearm, make sure it is clean, loaded, safely stored, and easily retrievable by you or another responsible adult. I can’t imagine violence sneaking up on you unannounced in this type of scenario but you never know.

Gas Mask

In a few different circumstances, a Gas mask could be a good idea. Assuming there is no Nuclear, Biological or Chemical threat, a simple respirator might be enough. You could opt for a full-face gas mask which gives your entire face protection or something more lightweight that if worn with protective goggles like a half facepiece respirator. These could be useful if you are living in an area where there is a lot of tear gas deployed.

Large rolls of plastic sheeting and duct tape might be a good purchase too in that case to seal windows, doors, ducts.

Backup power

Power loss could be a factor if something horrific happens so make sure you have warm blankets, sleeping bags, plenty of layers, etc since it is winter. Ensure your electric devices are charged

Additionally, there are some who access their buildings/common areas, maybe a garage with a key fob. If you have a backup key, make sure you have this in case the power goes out.

Communication Plan

Have a plan for letting people you know outside of the area that you are OK if communications are down. In this age of tech everything, might be harder to do. There are virtually no payphones anymore and if cell phone service goes down, I assume landlines would potentially be affected also. I doubt even snail mail would function if some event took down phone service at least temporarily.

If you choose to leave and bug out before armed protests

Bugging Out prior to the event is a much simpler option if you have a place to go well outside of the capital city or someplace like DC (at least 25 miles). If you have to do this after some event, make sure you have paper road maps if you have the car. They work if you are on foot or bike too. GPS backup is most likely going to still work regardless of how bad any protests may get.


As with everything else we all prepare for, I hope this does not come to pass. But being prepared is what we are all about here. Simple steps taken after thoughtful consideration of the risks you could face. Preparedness gives you an advantage if you exercise it.

What items do you have prepared that would make good additions to this list?

Stay safe out there!

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