Common hazards in large public gatherings
Recent tragedies have placed crowd management at large events in the forefront and are causing many people to question their safety in crowds.
Overcrowding is a serious hazard for so many reasons. For example, here are a few things that may happen due to overcrowding at an event:
- People can pass out from lack of oxygen or pressure from the crowd
- People may become trapped if they fall and get trampled
- People may experience medical emergency but can’t get the help that they need in time
- People may experience anxiety-related medical issues
Ticketed events in indoor venues are typically easier to regulate when it comes to crowd behavior, but non-ticketed and outdoor events can bring an entire new set of dangers for both the attendees and crowd management officials.
Take for example the Braves watch parties that occurred during the World Series where the media reported record breaking crowds that forced Battery authorities to restrict the number of fans. In these instances where people can just walk up to an area and gather, there are even more safety and crowd management concerns. To prepare for this event, it’s reported that the fire department tripled the number of fire marshals and quadrupled the number of emergency medical services personnel to handle the large crowd, but people were still shoulder-to-shoulder in a sea of people that can get dangerous fast. Thankfully no one was injured during these events at the Battery but record-breaking events like this show the need for crowd management, which isn’t always an easy feat.
Crowd management can be challenging for several reasons, namely that crowds can be unpredictable in their behavior and actions. Variables like the venue, event, and emotions of the crowd affect the level of crowd management necessary to keep people safe. Crowd managers must be ready for the unexpected, but it’s not solely the responsibility of crowd managers to ensure the safety of event attendees. As seen in the example of the World Series games, local officials worked with facility managers and personnel to provide safety and medical care should it be needed. This line of communication and collaboration among parties is an essential piece of crowd management. If the building lacks appropriate safety measures, then all the crowd management in the world can’t ensure the safety of the individuals attending an event