Crowd Control Basics: Preventing Crowd Surge

Crowd Control Basics: Preventing Crowd Surge

Crowd surges are unfortunate occurrences that have taken place across the world for many, many years. From a music festival in Texas, a soccer stadium in England, a nightclub in Illinois, and a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, these are just a few examples of how large crowd gatherings can turn into chaos within minutes.

Crowd surges can happen in any setting where large groups are gathered in one location, such as festivals, concerts, carnivals, etc. While there are usually safety protocols and permit requirements to host a large event, safety requirements are inconsistent from state to state and city to city.

What causes crowd surges?

Large crowd gatherings, especially those that are emotionally charged, can quickly become rowdy or out of control. Crowd surges often begin with a sudden shift in crowd demeanor, such as a riot or fight.

This is not always the case, as not all crowd surges begin with violence or any specific action a crowd member takes.

A wave of crowd surging or “crowd crushing” can also occur when people are too close in proximity and have little room to move or breathe. In what some describe as a ripple effect, the crowd can quickly get out of control as they try to fight for room to move and exit the dense crowd.

Be Prepared with Proper Safety Protocols and an Emergency Action Plan

Preventing crowd surges requires a great deal of planning and implementing the proper safety protocols.

While different venues have varied requirements for large-scale events, it never hurts to have additional safety protocols and procedures in place. One critical piece of the safety puzzle is an Emergency Action Plan (EAP).

An EAP helps event planning professionals know how to respond appropriately to dangerous scenarios or emergencies. An EAP should provide details to help reduce the risk of bodily injury, property damage, and violence during large-attendee gatherings.

Creating an effective EAP should be done collaboratively with everyone involved in the preparation, execution, and safety and emergency aspects of the venue or event. A risk assessment is also a good idea to discuss weaknesses that could result in a crowd surge.

In addition, EMS personnel (either on-site or local) should be consulted to ensure their vehicles can get in and out in a timely manner should a surge resulting in medical injuries occur.

Here are some common things that should be noted in any EAP:

  • What is the evacuation plan?
  • Are the entrances and exits clearly marked and easy to find?
  • Are the gates wide enough to fit an emergency vehicle through?
  • Are exits well-lit and free of any clutter?
  • Are staff well-versed in emergency protocols regarding evacuation and shelter-in-place?

Once you have a solid EAP, recommends training and exercises. Practicing your EAP can help your event staff familiarize themselves with what to do in the case of an emergency.

Have Proper Crowd Control Equipment in Place

Another aspect of large-crowd event safety is having the right kind of crowd control equipment in place. Without properly placed crowd control equipment products, such as steel barriers, there is greater potential for crowd surges or injuries.

Equipment Suggestions for Large Crowds

Steel Barricades

These are among the most commonly used types of barricades for events with large crowds, such as concerts, rallies, parades, etc.

Barricades are meant to help create a sense of safety by separating the crowd from any potentially dangerous situation or area. Having the proper number and placement of these barricades can help reduce the chance of crowd surge or injury if things got out of hand.

Steel barricades can also be used in conjunction with swing gates to easily create entrances and exits for staff and attendees. These are particularly helpful in the event of an emergency because they allow emergency personnel to easily access areas that would be otherwise blocked by barricades.

Chain Link Fence Kits

Chain link fence kits are another great crowd control tool that can be set up to help crowd management. These temporary fences are set up to help block off certain areas or set up protection around the perimeter of an event. These are made to be durable and not easily penetrable.

Belt Barrier Stanchions

Belt barrier stanchions may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of large-crowd management, but they come in handy for helping maintain orderly and visible lines or perimeters at events.

Whether they’re set up for ticketing, concessions, or to block off certain areas, these are helpful and portable crowd management tools that can be moved or relocated with ease when needed.

Keeping your venue or event accident-free and fun for everyone is always a top priority.

Understanding the causes and dangers of crowd surges and knowing how to create, implement, and use an EAP can help ensure your event staff and management know what to do in the most dangerous scenarios. In addition, proper usage of effective crowd control equipment can also add assurance you’re taking all necessary safety measures to prevent accidents or injuries during large-scale events.

For more information on our crowd control products and how they will help you execute an amazing event every time, please visit our website.

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