How to be Prepared for an Emergency in any Crowded Place

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In race of all the recent tragedies that have swept our planet and left plenty of families devastated, this month’s blog focuses on how to stay safe in crowded environments. We all find ourselves in places we are unfamiliar with and can’t control, be it a mall, nightclub or sporting event but by following these few simple tips, and being aware and prepared for an emergency can bring an ease to safety for you and your loved ones no matter the location.


1.     Evaluate your surroundings – upon arrival to any event explore a little bit, take a loop around the location and look for the following key safety points:

a.     Decide on a meeting place in case of separation, a nearby restaurant or transit stop before entering a venue.

b.     Identify all exits and which are closest to you, don’t limit yourself to the front entry, which will be a point of mass exodus should disaster strike.

c.     What kind of show is it? Will there be fireworks or pyrotechnics?

d.     Make note of sprinkler heads, if there aren’t any or enough the building is in major violation of fire codes.

e.     Is there enough seating/standing room for the crowd?

2.     Notice the hired help – identify staff members of the venue, take a look at their uniform, is there designated ‘security’ staff? If so, their job will be to aid in evacuation in case of an emergency. Also, pay attention to whether or not the staff is counting the attendance at the door; otherwise they may go over the capacity.

3.     Take alarms & threats seriously - you have little time during an emergency to organize yourself and find a way out, one incident in a Rhode island nightclub in 2003 allotted only 90 seconds for a packed floor to evacuate before being engulfed in flames, leaving 100 dead, 230 injured and only 132 unscathed.


If an emergency does transpire, staying calm and reacting quickly with a plan in mind during a high stress situation could mean the difference between life and death when chaos is erupting around you. Follow these steps and avoid hesitation for any evacuation:


1.     Respond Quickly – if an alarm does go off, don’t stop to gather your belongings, just head for your nearest exit, directing your group to follow. Remember that the ‘front entrance’ will be the instinctual exit for most of the crowd and will most likely cause a trampling stampede, so strongly consider a different exit.

2.     Don’t be a hero – emergency response is the job of crowd control and the fire department, don’t attempt to put out the flames or go back in to help evacuate people, your primary goal is to keep yourself and loved ones safe and secure.

3.     Remember that heat rises – if flames are involved, and the smoke begins to thicken, crouch down low to the ground to stay in clean air and avoid asphyxiation, but keep a raised arm to find a window or door handle for escape. Also, be prepared to break a window to escape if necessary.


Listen to this clip, as our expert David Nance discusses crowd safety with the American edition of the radio program - The Voice of Russia.



By following these 6 tips and tricks you are sure to keep any outing with friends or family fun and safe. As always, remember is it far better to Be Prepared, Not Scared in the face of any emergency.