vCrowd Safety Tips®Larry B. Perkins, CPP, CMPLulu Press, Inc Morrisville, North CarolinaBy ManagingCrowd.com and Band of Writers Coalition
viiALSO BY LARRY B. PERKINSCrowd Safety and Survival: Practical Eventand Public Gathering Safety TipsJake the CowhandJasper RabbitCrowd Management; In the Eye of theStormStaying Cool in Hot Situations ® (2005)Day of Event Cancellation ProceduresMirror, Mirror: Reflections of the Soul,Spirit, and Will (2005)
ixARNINGWhen life is imperiled or a dire situation is athand, safe alternatives may not exist. To dealwith the worst case scenarios presented in this book, wehighly recommend-insist, that the best course of action is toconsult a professionally trained expert.While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy ofthe contents, suggestions, recommendations, andinformation contained herein, we are not responsible andassume no liability for any damages caused or alleged to becaused, directly or indirectly, incidentally or consequentially,to any person, firm, or third party using the informationcontained in this book. The information is provided withoutwarranty.The author is not attempting to provide legal, medical, orother professional services or advice in this book. Thetechniques, illustrations, and data contained herein arestrictly informational. It is strongly recommended that legal,medical, and other expert assistance—and/or the services ofa competent professional—be sought prior to engaging inany of the acts, or circumstances, referred to within thisW
xbook. Further, some facilities prohibit certain objects, foods,materials, and personal items—such as cameras, weaponry,certain types of shoes, cell phones, sticks, video and audiorecording devices, backpacks, bags, containers, plastic,chains, noise makers, and beverages.
11NTRODUCTIONEven experts can’t always predict a crowd-relatedtragedy, but these tips will give you a sense of hope andreassurance by knowing what to do if caught in acts ofviolence, crowd out of control and natural and manmadedisasters happen.Each day, we hear news accounts of injuries and deathswhere people have been involved in some sort of crowd-related incident. Our first reaction may invoke an image ofsomeone attending a sporting event or musical performance.However, the truth of the matter is that crowd-relatedincidents can happen at any time and any place. They canhappen at a house party, on a balcony, at a wedding,I
LARRY B. PERKINS12standing in line for a special pre-holiday sale, or waiting on atrain platform.Crowding, stampeding, trampling, and suffocation, with noavenue of escape, is the number one cause of multipleinjuries and deaths, by human hands, in crowds.On December 18 2001 A free Christmas GiftDistribution Created a Crowd Crush. Four peopledied, including three children, when a poorly plannedand managed government sponsored Christmas giftgiveaway program for children went awry in Aracaju…people showed up at a public building for the holidayevent…people waiting to receive their free gifts werecaught in a craze when one of the main gates openedand triggered a surge and crush, according to localnews reports…Consider a person’s chest cavity depressed in incidents suchas this, unable to take air into his/her lungs. This is sure tocause that person to lose consciousness if not abatedquickly, usually in a period some a few seconds toapproximately three minutes. Once a person losesconsciousness, irreversible brain damage may occur due tothe brain’s starvation of air.Crowds can increase or decrease from a few people tothousands in a matter of minutes. Whether during ingress,
CROWD SAFETY TIPS13egress, or in celebration or protest, it is within this periodthat the greatest potential for serious problems arises.Often, people attending events and other gatherings areunaware of the danger that lurks within crowds. Theirexcitement and attention is usually focused on the event andother activities. They rarely think about what to do, whereto go, or how to protect themselves in crowds.However, we hear more commonly about sports andentertainment incidents, which was the case during twoseparate events in Africa on Sunday, October 10, 2004,where six people lost their lives during soccer matches. Twodeaths occurred following chaos in Monrovia, Liberia, whenthe Lone Stars were defeated 3–0 by Senegal. Fans did notaccept the defeat and started throwing stones onto thefield—pitch—after Senegal scored their third goal. After thegame, the visitors and the referee had to be taken away fromthe stadium under the protection of United Nations troopsand their armored personnel carriers. The angry spectatorsalso smashed the cars of Liberian players and threatenedtheir families.In Togo, four people were crushed to death following astampede after Togos 2006 World Cup qualifier in Lomeagainst Mali on Sunday, October 10, 2004. The mad dash
LARRY B. PERKINS14happened as fans panicked when lights went off justminutes after the end of the game. These were just two suchcases out of many senseless tragedies, which occurred insome African stadiums over that weekend.It is never pleasant to read about death and injury. Africahas had its share in recent years, and we here in the US havehad our share of crowd incidents as well.The following Crowd Safety Tips outlined here in provideonly a sampling of crowd situations and safety techniques.However, this sampling will teach individuals how torecognize potential crowd dangers and other situations, suchas the concert at the Station Night Club in Rhode Island,where 95 people lost their lives in a fire, the E2 Night Clubin Chicago, where 21 people were trampled to death on astairwell packed with people as they tried to escape, therecent shooting death at the Alrosa Villa Club, where thelead singer was shot to death and hostages were taken, orwhere the floor collapsed at a wedding in Israel under thepressure of the crowd. Typically, attendee’s attention is noton how to protect themselves or how to escape.After spending a lifetime at the Meadowlands SportsComplex, NJ and now at the RBC Center, in Raleigh, NC, Ihave seen the best and the worst in crowd situations. I have
CROWD SAFETY TIPS15been an advocate of crowd safety for years and as such, I’veappeared on NBC Dateline with Rod Stafford in a segmententitled “Crowd Safety – Get out alive,” and many otherprograms. While it’s fresh in everyone’s mind, I would liketo offer you some very simple, but effective tips on crowdsafety you can use and share with your family, friends andcolleagues. I want every parent, every student, every senorcitizen, patron and every facility manager to instinctivelyknow what to do when things go wrong at a public event.Knowing how to recognize and escape the dangers incrowds could save your life and/or those of your lovedones. By sharing my experience and insight, we can savelives while encouraging individuals to live fully and notfearfully.Knowing how to recognize “Danger and Danger Zones”could help prevent another tragedy.
LARRY B. PERKINS16REPARATIONBEFORE LEAVING HOME1) If youre attending a ticketed event, like aconcert or game, leave a copy of your ticket anddetails with someone at home. If an incident doesoccur, theyll know how to locate you to make sureyoure ok.2) Dont plan on going to a crowded event alone; usethe “Buddy System.” You should always have atleast one other person looking out for you. A helpinghand in a crush or a stampede can mean thedifference between life and death if youve fallen orbecome injured.3) Being in the middle of an active crowd can get hot,so drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. This canprevent overheating and passing out if things get tooclose for comfort.P
CROWD SAFETY TIPS17CLOTHING / ACCESSORIES1) Before you leave home, make sure at least one partof your clothing is bright and easily visible. It’sdifficult to see when the lights are down. Further, thenoise level makes it difficult to hear someone only afew feet from you. Wearing something bright andrecognizable helps friends and family better locateyou. Like tagging your luggage at an airport, itdistinguishes it from all the others.2) Carry ID, a cell phone and a penlight at all times.Should the power fail you can shine your light to seehow to get out. The thick smoke may also make itimpossible to see. If you’re injured you can call forhelp and your ID shows who you are.3) Bring special medicines and medical information.This will aid the facility’s medial personnel to renderfaster and appropriate treatment. Should you findyourself at a place without medial assistance,bringing your medication will provide immediatecare.4) Leave behind dangerous accessories like spikes andchains, as well as long jewelry and purses which canbecome tangled and cause injuries
LARRY B. PERKINS185) Wear comfortable footwear, and make sure the lacesare tied so you dont trip and fall. If you lose yourshoes in a crush or stampede, dont stop to get them.Getting knocked down is the last thing you want tohappen.T THE VENUEAWARENESS1) Avoid being the first person in line waiting for thegates/doors to open. This is where crowd pressurecan build, just before or as doors open. Most injuriesand deaths happen during ingress, egress, incelebration and in protests. Just like an airplane,there are critical time periods while flying. Forplanes, it’s during take off and landings. For Crowd,they can grow to thousands in a matter of minutes.2) Once inside an event, familiarize yourself with yoursurroundings and facility layout, including thelocation of first aid stations, the presence of securityworkers, how the crowd is behaving, and what theweather is like. The most import is locating analternate exit and predetermine how you wouldescape should something goes wrong.A
CROWD SAFETY TIPS193) Be aware of the condition of the surface upon whichyou are standing (muddy, slippery, etc.). Thesesurfaces may present a problem in a moving crowd.Watch out for broken bottles, cans, and other debris,these too can be a hazard.4) Dont stand near or climb on temporary structures,which could collapse under too much weight.5) Do not position yourself near immovable objectssuch as a door, stage or barricade. These provide noavenue of escape. The pressure from the crowd cancrush your chest cavity, cutting off your oxygensupply, which could cause asphyxiation.6) Also, it’s a fact that most injures and death occurswith young men in the age range of 15 to 25. Readthe warning signs of crowds, observe their behavior,and recognize when the crowd pressure is building.Think of a packed elevator. If you can’t raise yourhand to touch your noise, or when there isuncontrollable and/or unwanted touching, then thecrowd density level is at or near the critical stage.
LARRY B. PERKINS207) If the band encourages the audience to come ondown – Get to safety, move out of the flow. Thiscan become a hot spot. If you move away from theheat, you’re less likely to get burned.8) Moving Crowds are like locomotives, once they arein motion they are hard to stop. The energy in acrowd, like the energy of a moving train, must bereleased and must be allowed to run its course.Energy is created by the weight and speed of thetrain and can have a devastating and deadly effect onanything in its path. Like the pressure of a train, thecrowd pressure can over take an individual in aninstant. Crowd pressure on the chest cavity can bejust as deadly as a train on an individual in a matterof seconds. It is important that participantsunderstand the flow of a crowd and avoid beingtrapped with no avenue of escape.9) If you find yourself in the middle crowd dont standstill or sit down – you can easily get trampled. Keepyour legs moving in the direction of the crowd, andtry getting to the outside where the flow is weaker.The last thing you want to do is fall. But if you do,get up quickly. If you cant, get someone to pull you
CROWD SAFETY TIPS21back up. This is when having a friend nearby can bea lifesaver.10) If you cant get up, keep moving by crawling in thedirection of the crowd. If thats not possible, yourlast resort is to curl up in a ball, create an air pocketand cover your head.11) Sometimes, high energy crowds create an ebb andflow of people that could sweep you off your feet.Fighting against these "waves" will probably knockyou over, so keep your legs moving, try not to fall,and take advantage of any space that may open up infront, you may be able to work yourself to the sidewhere the crowd is weaker.12) As noted earlier, the worst place in a surge is at thevery front of the crowd against an immovable object,like a fence or stage barricade. It may be tempting tomake your way up close to where the action is onstage. But its smart to stay away. Crowd pressurehere can build up quickly and be deadly. People inback will have no idea whats happening up front.13) Escalator safety is a major concern, not only insports and entertainment venues, but any facility that
LARRY B. PERKINS22has escalators. Some of the common dangersassociated with escalators involve loose shoes laces,long pants, hanging straps, and tips of shoes gettingcaught in the moving treads. This prevents both theindividual whose item is caught and those behindhim from exiting and escaping the escalator at theappropriate moment. As a result, a pile occurs thatcould cause serious injury.Further, persons reaching down to pickup a fallenitem may found their fingers and hand trapped andmutilated between the treads and the sidewall or inthe teeth of the bottom or top plate1.All escalators are equipped with emergency stopbuttons. It you find yourself entangled on anescalator or trapped on one, yell out “We’re trapped.Push the RED Stop bottom at the top or bottom of1“Injuries suffered in an elevator or escalator accidentmay result in the amputation of a limb or extremity. TheAmputee Coalition of America defines amputation as"the absence of any part of an extremity (arm or leg) dueto surgical or traumatic amputation."Traumatic amputation is a common injury duringelevator or escalator accidents. When the accident itselfresults in the immediate loss of limbs or extremities, it isconsidered to be a traumatic amputation.”By the Law firm of Edgar Snyder & Associates
CROWD SAFETY TIPS23the escalator!” then turn and yell, “Go back!” Thisalert should then be flowed by attempting to avoidthe person who’s trapped and getting to safety andhelp for those trapped.
LARRY B. PERKINS24PORTING EVENTSPITFALLS1) Some of the worst crowd tragedies happen atsporting events, where overselling, poormanagement, frenzied fans, and festival seating allcreate problems.2) When at events, watch from your seat, not the aislesor walkways where foot traffic flows. And keep awayfrom fences, boards, or barricades where theres noescape if fans behind try to rush the field or court.3) Be aware of whats going on around you, like crowdbehavior, what the score is, and how much time isremaining. Be aware that the crowd might come frombehind or above you4) It might be smart to leave a few minutes early toavoid the reaction of frenzied fans.ESTIVAL SEATING HAZARDS / CHILDRENSPACE AND LOCATIONS1) Most crowd accidents happen in "standing roomonly" or festival style events, where there are noassigned seats. Problems like early arrivals, rushing inSF
CROWD SAFETY TIPS25to claim space, crushes at gates and stage areas, andtrampling are situations to guard against.2) If youre bringing small children, its best to avoidthis type of seating all together, so check your ticketsbeforehand. If possible, try to upgrade your ticket togeneral admission or reserved seating. Its usually amuch safer bet.E SAFESHOULD SOMETHING HAPPENS1) Head immediately to the nearest exit. Rememberingthe emergency instruction when you are aboard anairplane can help you think about what to do – whitelights lead to red lights, the nearest exit may bebehind you and move quickly. Don’t stop to call 911,get out as fast as you can, then call.2) If you fall or are knocked down, get up without delayand if you can’t get up, crawl to the side. If that fails,cover up, create an air pocket and protect your head.3) Again, as you exit, be aware of changing crowdflows, elevations, stairs, escalators and terrain.Bottlenecks happen at these areas when people areB
LARRY B. PERKINS26trying to escape. If you’re in the flow, it’s nearlyimpossible to turn around, the force of the crowdbehind you have no idea of what’s going on up frontand continues to push forward.Crowd safety is something we all must be continually awareof whenever we are around other people and structures.Learn how to recognize danger and danger zones, order“Crowd Safety and Survival: Practical Event andPublic Gathering Safety Tips”. It will teach you howto protect yourself in crowds. You will learn:What to do if you are caught in an out-of-controlcrowd.The danger signals of crowds.Where you should position yourself within a crowd.How to escape if you should find yourself down (onthe ground) in a crowd.What to do before you leave home.How to gauge the effectiveness of security.How much time you have to escape a dangeroussituation.How to protect your chest cavity if caught against arailing and other barriers.About the different types of surfaces and what theymean.