How to Maximize Safety at Large Events

How to Maximize Safety at Large Events


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Large events pose significant and unique security challenges that should be considered before joining the crowds in attendance. Having an awareness of potential threats or hazards, knowing where exits are and keeping an eye on what is happening around you are all key items that should be running through your mind at all times. Let’s take a look at how you can maximize your safety while you are in a crowded place when something goes horribly wrong.


Know the Exits

The most important thing that you can do is to become familiar with the number and location of exits throughout the venue. You also want to know how to get out if an exit nearest you becomes blocked or obstructed. This principle applies to your church, favorite sports stadium, concert venue or the airplane that is carrying you across the country. You should also keep an eye out for exit points in public places such as theme parks, subways or other locations where hordes of people could become confused, scared and disorderly during a crisis.


The best place to be is near an exit or close enough to one that you can reach before throngs of crowds converge and create a bottleneck. This will give you an opportunity to be one of the first to leave the impacted area. Clearing the area ahead of the majority of others will also give you the chance to assess the situation and render assistance if necessary or appropriate. However, you should also plan on using a more distant exit if yours is blocked, and you want to develop an escape route that will get you there as quickly as possible.


In some cases, you will have an opportunity to position yourself before an emergency strikes, and you should be ready to jump as soon as you feel the need to do so. Other situations will come unexpectedly and without warning, so you want to know exactly where you will go and how to get there. Be prepared to make a split-second decision and act on your understanding of the location to give you as much of a head start as possible.

Know Evacuation Routes

The secondary challenge associated with getting away from crowded places in a hurry is knowing how to leave the general vicinity. Imagine traffic problems, long lines forming at bus stops and train stations and significant pressure being placed on transportation networks. We all know how packed these can be during normal rush hour periods or after a concert or game lets out. Consider how chaotic things can be during an emergency.


You can get ahead of the confusion by parking your vehicle near an exit at a remote lot or knowing what side streets or alleys to walk down that take you away from the crowds. Remember that a good escape plan involves a good working knowledge of numerous routes that you can take if the primary one becomes impassible.   You want to be in a position where you can get out of the vicinity as quickly as possible to avoid being swept up into chaos as thousands of people are coming and going and trying to orient themselves.


You may also find that it is better to shelter in place and hide out in a nook somewhere until the dust settles. You will need to make this decision quickly based on your evaluation of the circumstances to determine whether or not this is the best course of action to take. However, never rule out this possibility as it may prove to be the best out of all of the available options.


Know Where Emergency Services are Located

Some events have a designated triage or treatment area in place. Make sure that you know where this is located so that you can run to help and get medical attention before responders become overwhelmed with patients. You should also have a sense of where the local hospital is as well as police and fire stations are located.


Finally, don’t be weighed down with a lot of junk that can impede and slow your exit strategy. If you carry things like coolers, lawn chairs, towels or other accessories, be prepared to leave them behind as you high-tail it out of the area. Remember that speed, agility and the ability to travel on foot unencumbered will all contribute to your ability to leave the area unscathed.


Remember to always maintain a heightened level of situational awareness and be alert to potential or imminent threats that you may need to avoid in a hurry. These are just a few guidelines that will help you to orient yourself and give you a frame of reference in which to assess situations as they arise. Thinking along these lines will also help you to identify other tricks that you utilize to your advantage as well.

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