Recent Tragedies Highlight Importance of Crowd Safety
This past Sunday, a man fell 40 feet to his death during the Chicago Bears - Philadelphia Eagles football game. A week earlier, a toddler died after falling 30 feet during a Los Angeles Lakers match. And last week, at a Phnom Pehn water festival, nearly 400 died and several hundred were injured during a panicked stampede from a bridge. Tragedies like these remind us about the importance of crowd safety.
Despite the best crowd management policies, deaths due to irresponsible behavior are difficult to prevent. However, lax planning and foresight and inadequate resources devoted to crowd management can be directly correlated to most deaths at public events. For example, in Germany this past summer, the decision to close off a tunnel during a concert with over 1 million people in attendance caused hundreds of injuries and 19 deaths as people tried to flee the bottlenecked area.
No venue wants to be remembered for nor do patrons want to become a statistic of preventable tragedies such as what occurred at The Station, the Rhode Island nightclub whose failure to follow fire safety rules (no sprinkler system, use of flammable materials) caused the needless deaths of 100 people during a Great White concert. Know your safety routes.
As a patron at public events, you can help avoid tragedy by following general safety guidelines. I tell my teenage daughters to be aware of exits at theaters, clubs, and venues, so they may find escape routes beyond the front door through which they entered and to where most people will move during a panic. If you are caught in a stampede, never attempt to move against the crowd. Remembering the exits, move in the same direction as the crowd but work your way towards the outer rim of the crowd to facilitate your own exit through one of the less crowded doors.
Review your fire safety, patron safety, and exit strategies with your staff to ensure your venue is prepared to handle potentially life threatening situations. If you're not sure where to begin, consider downloading our guides for crowd management to help ensure the safety of your guests.