Staying Safe at Large Events
by Rob Richardson, Off Grid Survival
Large, planned events can attract tens of thousands of people and the potential for chaos.
Security planning for major sports events has become a major concern for the security industry; with so many people packed into one area, these events are an attractive target for lunatics who are looking to make a political statement. Pack 20,000 people into a concert venue or hundreds of thousands of people into a NASCAR race and the possibility for an emergency situation is nothing to laugh off.
In the aftermath of the chaos in Ferguson and Baltimore, and in the shadow of the Boston Bombing, large events and rallies need to be a source of consideration when thinking about threats to your personal security. High profile sporting events, political rallies, and social justice protests are all a major cause for concern, as terrorists and those looking to spread chaos are increasingly targeting these events.
Be aware that large events can be an evacuation nightmare:
When it comes to safety concerns at a large event, one of the largest post-disaster threats is what happens during an evacuation. Even a relatively small disaster – one that doesn’t pose a large-scale threat to the crowd – can quickly spiral out of control. Panic alone can cause a crowd to stampede exits, causing a dangerous situation or providing a secondary target in the case of a terrorist attack.
Large scale events are often logistical nightmares, and a person can easily be caught off-guard and find themselves in the middle of the chaos without a quick way to get out.
Some problems to keep in mind when attending large events:
- Roadways around the event will likely be blocked off or flooded with vehicles trying to flee the scene.
- Exit routes will quickly become chokepoints, filled with panicking people who will likely make the situation even worse.
- Oftentimes large venues have safety protocols in place; these protocols might not always be the safest thing to follow. You should always be looking for alternative ways out, even if everyone else is being told to go a certain direction. In the case of a terrorist attack, an attacker might look for these chokepoints in order to inflict mass casualties by attacking exits.
Even those who stay home could be affected by large events:
Even those of us who avoid these large events might not be able to avoid the dangers associated with them. During any large-scale event that happens near your home, you should always be alert and have a plan to deal with emergencies.
Some problems to keep in mind for those who stay home:
- If something happens at one of these events that cause people to evacuate, the roads near your home will quickly become clogged. You need to have multiple routes mapped out in case your normal Bug Out routes become compromised.
- Large events are targets. Political rallies, social justice marches and protests all invite problems. As we’ve numerous times lately, these rallies and events can quickly grow violent; they can also spread into nearby neighborhoods putting even those who stayed home at risk.
Tips for staying safe at large events:
Safety starts with researching the event: One of the best ways to stay safe at any event is to be situationally aware of what’s going on around you; that process starts by knowing exactly what you’re getting in to.
- How many people are expected at the event?
- Where are the exit points at the venue? This is something you should know ahead of time. Also, take note of all secondary exit points where less people will be likely to head.
- Jump on social media and see what people are saying about the event. Have threats been made towards the event? Is the event controversial in any way?
Scan the area: Once you’re at the event you need to stay aware of your surroundings.
- Take note of emergency exits, restrooms and exit routes.
- Familiarize yourself with the venue’s layout. Pay attention to the location of a medical tents or first aid stations.
- Have a plan on where you will head if an emergency happens.
Stay aware of your surroundings at all times. If you get the slightest feeling that something may be wrong, you need to listen to your instincts and act fast.
- Keep an eye on the crowd. If you notice an abnormal increase in the number of people pouring into your area, or if you notice a loner that doesn’t seem to belong in the area, this could be the first sign that something isn’t right. If you see something that doesn’t seem right, it’s probably a good time to make your exit.
- Checkout our article on surviving a riot; it will give you some good tips on what to do should violence erupt at or around the event.
Have a meetup plan: Should something happen at the event, everyone in your group should have an evacuation plan and an area to head to when trouble starts.
- Choose a meeting spot for your family, in the case anyone gets separated from the group.
- Have a contact outside the event that can be called to coordinate planning should something go wrong at the event.