Civil Unrest: a Crisis Planning Priority


Uncertainty Raises Civil Unrest Fears

The deeply divided, partisan political and cultural groupings in US society give little reason to believe that this wave of civil unrest will do anything but build in strength and frequency in the coming months. An analysis of what was to be expected following the election by the publicly funded radio news station, NPR, noted:

Across the country, there are growing concerns that the bitterness and animosity of the presidential elections will not end when the polls close on Tuesday night. From coast to coast, cities are preparing for possible protests, civil unrest and violence regardless of the election’s outcome.”

Which brings us to the steps you can take to protect the safety of your people and property and minimize the disruption to your business in anticipation of outbreaks of civil unrest.

The authoritative journal of the risk management profession, Risk & Insurance, earlier this year published its 10-step checklist, their key steps include:

  • Make a Plan.
    Determine logistics for employees, closing procedures, equipment shutdowns and business continuity procedures – well before you need them.
  • Monitor & Communicate.
    Keep a close eye on social media in your area to get an early warning of protests. Once you learn about an event and assess how it might impact your business, share the information with employees and customers. When in doubt, over-communicate.
  • Secure Your Space.
    If you are able, install steel gates to protect entryways to your premises and block windows and doors with plywood. In addition, lock valuables and fragile items away and out of view. Increase patrols of your property and think about adding cameras if you do not already have them.
  • Help Employees with Travel.
    Street and highway shutdowns can occur with little notice. Even worse, curfews imposed by local authorities can interfere with work hours, especially at essential businesses such as medical and transportation sites. Plan to give your team members time to get home safely or arrange a secure shelter-in-place for those who cannot het home.
  • Look Out for Partners.
    Suppliers and other partners may feel compelled to continue to provide supplies to you despite the dangers. It you are anticipating a dangerous situation around your business, let your partners know and give them approval to deliver supplies or visit on another day.

One additional recommendation is to help your employees by sharing with them common sense tips for staying safe should they personally experience civil unrest.

Buyers Guide for Issue and Crisis Management Platforms

Stanford University provides a safety guide for civil disturbances to its students, faculty and staff, which includes such tips as:

  • Avoid provoking or obstructing the demonstrators.
  • Do not attempt to confront or talk with the individuals causing the disturbance. Public safety and local police will handle interactions with the individuals involved.
  • Stay away from glass doors or windows.

Sadly, the time has come when a response plan for civil unrest has become yet another must-have in your organization’s issue and crisis preparedness toolkit.


Learn how hundreds of organizations large and small are using our award-winning issue and crisis management platform, In Case of Crisis, to better prepare for and respond faster to emerging threats.