When was the last time you attended a large public event? Sporting events, parades and rallies, concerts and even grilled cheese fests are commonplace events that draw huge crowds. As an attendee, you have most likely wondered what you would do in the event of an emergency.
Although the only surefire way to stay safe at public events is to avoid them altogether, that is not a reality for most people. Unless you are willing to forgo spending quality time with friends and family, enjoying yourself and celebrating your hobbies, it’s better to figure out how to protect yourself when emergencies happen in public places.
Research suggests that it is relatively rare for catastrophes to occur at public events. Many of the things we commonly do every day, like driving, are much more likely to cause injury or even death. However, tragic incidents at public events are widely covered in media and draw attention all around the world. Mass shootings, fires, vehicular attacks and structural failure are just some of the unfortunate occurrences we hear about in the news.
How can we protect ourselves and our loved ones from these kinds of threats? What strategies can help us stay safe at crowded public events? How can we protect others from harm?
7 Tips on How to Stay Safe at Public Events
Be alert at all times.
It might seem like common sense, but your ability to stay alert can mean the difference between an enjoyable event and a catastrophe. Sure, a music festival may be a time to let loose and relax; however, that doesn’t mean you should stop being aware of your surroundings.
Be on the lookout for suspicious behavior or people, especially look for unaccompanied bags or packages that appear out of place. If someone seems fidgety or nervous, follow your intuition and alert the nearest security guard or event staff. Avoid being overly occupied with your smartphone because this distracts you from what is happening in your environment.
Wear the proper footwear and clothing.
If an emergency were to happen and you needed to evacuate the premises, you’ll be thankful that you wore sturdy shoes. Options like flip-flops and high heels do not provide the traction and stability required if you needed to run or if you were involved in a stampede situation. Instead, choose sturdy boots or sneakers that will not fall off and cause an ankle injury.
Similarly, choose clothing that is appropriate for the weather. If there were an emergency situation that prevented you from leaving the premises, you want to be sure that you were protected from the elements. Loose, flowing and long clothing may look cool, but can be a potential hazard in an emergency evacuation or stampede. These items of clothing can easily be stepped on, grabbed or torn, causing you to fall or worse.
Stay hydrated and limit alcohol.
Many of these public events involve the consumption of alcohol. While it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy a few adult beverages at a music festival, concert or sporting event, event attendees must limit their alcohol. Dehydration is common at large events, especially those that take place outdoors. Plus, copious amounts of alcohol can cause people to lower their inhibitions, significantly increasing the possibility of fights or other unruly behavior.
If you are drinking alcohol at a public event, be sure to pace yourself and drink plenty of water. Not only will this help you prevent dehydration and illness, it will help you to maintain an awareness of your surroundings and react appropriately in the event of an emergency.
Keep your phone charged.
Most of us have smartphones these days, and we rely on them to do just about everything. No matter where you stand on the constant use of smartphones in our culture, they certainly serve a purpose when it comes to safety. Before attending a large public event, be sure that your cell phone is completely charged. You may even want to bring a charger for long and multi-day events. Assuming you have cell service, a charged smartphone can be a critical tool in communicating with family and law enforcement.
Tell others where you will be.
When attending a large public event, be sure to tell your family and friends where you will be and for how long. If an unfortunate tragedy does occur, it will be helpful for family and first responders to know who was in attendance. We can share our location using our smartphones, so our loved ones can know where we are at all times. When attending a large event or a multi-day music festival, this can be a critical strategy for staying safe.
Create a plan.
Chances are you’re attending a public event with other people. Before you go, research the venue. Have an understanding of the layout of the property and the location of all exits. You may also want to review the safety procedures for the event beforehand. It is also beneficial to create an emergency plan with your group, so everyone knows what to do if they get separated or an emergency occurs.
Remain calm and follow your intuition.
No matter what kind of emergency you are facing, it is essential that you stay calm. Do your best to take deep breaths. This will help you to think clearly and make the right choices based on the situation at hand. If something feels off, trust your intuition and contact your nearest security guard or event official. It is better to be safe than sorry.
With the spring season just around the corner, more and more people will be attending large events. Hopefully, these tips can help you enjoy yourself while avoiding a tragedy.
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