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Preparing for Riots and Looting: Essential Tips for Business Owners

Written By: Brad CampbellMarch 22, 2021

How Can Business Owners Prepare for Riots and Looting?

During times of political or civil unrest, peaceful protests have the potential to turn into violent riots and looting.

Unfortunately, the people who usually suffer the most because of such events are business owners. So, what can you do to protect your property and prevent devastating financial loss in the event of a riot?

Keep reading to learn some effective strategies for staying safe during riots and protecting your business from looting.

5 Tips for Staying Safe During Riots

  1. Have An Emergency Kit Ready
  2. Make An Evacuation Plan
  3. Follow Police Updates
  4. Keep Your Vehicle’s Gas Tank Full
  5. Close Your Business and Remove Employees

Have An Emergency Kit Ready

Keep emergency supplies such as some food and water, a first aid kit, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, and other essentials at your business. That way, if you get stuck there during a riot, you can stay there safely until the riot passes.

emergency preparedness materials laid out on ground

Make An Evacuation Plan

Develop a plan for how you and all your employees will leave the building and get home safely if a riot starts. Make several plans with alternate routes, in case your first and second choices are blocked by crowds or police.

Follow Police Updates

Download a police scanner app or follow social media for local authorities and news sites to receive the latest information about civil unrest. Pay attention to developments, so you know when your business might be in the path of an angry mob.

blue siren on top of car at night

Keep Your Vehicle’s Gas Tank Full

If you evacuate your business by vehicle during a riot, you never know how long you could potentially be stuck in traffic. Roads can be closed or blocked and traffic congestion can increase, so make sure your vehicle always has plenty of gas to get you home safely.

Close Your Business and Remove Employees

As soon as you feel your business may be put at risk because of a riot, shut down operations and remove employees from dangerous areas. Make sure to openly communicate with employees about the situation and ask if anyone requires assistance to get home safely.

5 Tips for Protecting Property During Riots

  1. Make Sure Your Insurance Covers Riots
  2. Install Monitored Surveillance Cameras
  3. Hire Security Guards
  4. Remove Critical Equipment and Disconnect Critical Infrastructure
  5. Reinforce Your Building’s Windows

Make Sure Your Insurance Covers Riots

Review your business insurance plan to make sure it covers damages and losses incurred from riots and looting. Keep receipts for business purchases, so you have a way to prove what items you owned in the unfortunate event that anything gets stolen or destroyed.

Install Monitored Surveillance Cameras

Put up monitored surveillance cameras at key points around your building where they are highly visible to would-be intruders. This helps deter rioters and looters from targeting your property by increasing their chances of being caught and prosecuted.

two security cameras on wall

Hire Security Guards

Place security guards at critical points, such as entrances, or have them patrol the perimeter of your property. Make sure the guards themselves are secure and protected and have means for open communication.

Remove Critical Equipment and Disconnect Critical Infrastructure

Take any essential equipment that your business can’t operate without off the premises or move it to a more secure location inside your business. Disconnect critical infrastructure like electrical systems and gas lines to prevent damage to them.

Reinforce Your Building’s Windows

Create some kind of physical barrier over your building’s vulnerable window glass to prevent forced entry.

You can board up your business or install roll-down shutters, but these aren’t always practical options, especially because riots often flare up before you have time to fully secure your property.

A better alternative we suggest, especially for businesses with large glass storefronts, is to overglaze your windows with glass-like polycarbonate glazing shields, such as ArmorPlast® AP25.

These glazing shields are virtually unbreakable and protect your existing glass 24/7, without altering the appearance of your property or detracting from its curb appeal.

This means that even if a riot occurs with little or no warning, your business remains protected from vandalism, forced entry, and looting, so you can focus on keeping yourself and your employees safe and rest easy knowing that your property is secure.

armorplast sheet construction graphic

ArmorPlast® AP25 Quick Facts:

  • 1/4-inch AR-2 polycarbonate sheet
  • Non-ballistic, containment-grade shield
  • Glass-like surface hardness and appearance
  • Abrasion and UV resistant coating
  • Resists impacts from bricks, bats, and other weapons
  • Can be riddled with bullets and still retain its strength
  • Keeps would-be intruders out, period.
  • Ideal for retail store glazing and other commercial applications

What To Do After Civil Unrest

When it’s safe to go back to your place of business, do so and take note of any property damage that needs to be repaired or any cleanup that needs to be done around the premises.

Hopefully, if you properly prepared your facility, damage will be minimal or non-existent.

hole through glass

Report any damages to your insurance company and report any crimes that have occurred to the police. Provide any footage of criminal acts from your surveillance systems to the authorities to aid in capture and prosecution.

Steps to get back to work:

  • Contract construction and restoration teams to repair your facility if needed
  • Ask employees if they need anything to resume work
  • Relocate critical equipment and reconnect critical infrastructure
  • Inspect your facilities to make sure they are operational
  • Hold a debriefing with management to evaluate your responses and draw lessons

Final Thoughts on Staying Safe During Riots and Looting

It’s important to remember that not all incidences of civil unrest and non-violent protest result in riots and looting. However, in matters of personal safety and business security, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst.

If you follow the tips listed in this article, you’ll be well on your way to staying safe during riots and preventing financial loss due to rioting and looting.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help make your business more secure with our security glazing products.

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