Crowd Management & Public Safety for Public Spaces and Government BuildingsArticle published on Mar 30, 2018
Crowd control isn’t only about making a crowd stand in a straight line while they’re waiting for a tour of the capitol building.
It’s about public safety.
People who work in government know that their job is to plan for the expected and the unexpected, and that applies to crowd management, too.
Whether you’re setting up a perimeter after a building fire, setting up a parade route, or managing a protest, you need to be prepared for hundreds of different situations that can occur at any government facility.
Proper crowd management can help you legally and safely control large crowds and prevent crowd crushes, affray, and riots.
We’ve put together some tips, guidelines, and resources to help you design an effective crowd management plan for your town, city, or state government.
Government Crowd Management
Planning crowd control solutions for anytime, anywhere
Crowd management for government facilities, public spaces, and buildings is very different than crowd management in the commercial space.
You aren’t trying to direct people to cash registers or keep them out of stockrooms, you’re trying to provide public services in the safest, most efficient way possible.
And if you don’t have a proper public safety and crowd management plan in place, that can’t happen.
What makes developing a crowd control plan for governments so tricky is the number of different facilities you need crowd management plans for, and all the different types of crowd control equipment those plans require.
Some of these include:
- Public Parks and Throughways: Road Barriers and Road Signs
- Courthouses and Government Buildings: Post and Rope Stanchions, Printed Signs and Sign Frames, Barriers and Barricades
- Disaster Areas (hurricanes, floods, wildfires, home, and buildings fires, etc.): Pedestrian Barriers, Jersey Barriers, Movable/Retractable Metal Barriers
- National Parks: Weather-Friendly Plastic Posts and Chains, Signs, Traffic Barrels
- Schools: Traffic Barrels, Steel Barricades
- Government Research Facilities and Warehouses: Traffic Barrels and Expandable Metal Barriers
We’ll be addressing how to set up crowd control plans for each of these types of spaces in future posts. Sign up for our email list at the bottom of the page for our latest updates.
Your go-to for crowd control
No matter what type of government facility you run, you need a crowd control manager.
As the title implies, crowd managers monitor, control, and design crowd control solutions to help you handle everyday public safety concerns and prepare for emergencies.
In most jurisdictions, you're legally obligated to hire a designated crowd manager for any facility that houses more than 50 employees, or hosts more than 50 guests or spectators.
When you’re hiring a crowd manager, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.
Have they met local, state, and federal training requirements?
Most states have laws governing the training and apprenticeship requirements for crowd managers.
Visit your state’s website to figure out what requirements any potential crowd manager you hire should have fulfilled.
Are they certified?
Some government professionals - like police officers, firefighters, and active duty military members - are trained in crowd control best practices and don’t always require additional training to become crowd managers.
Other crowd managers have received professional certifications, like those from the ICC (the International Code Council).
It’s important to make sure the individual you hire has the proper certifications so that your crowd control plan is compliant with local, state, and federal laws.
Do they have experience?
Crowd management isn’t something you can learn overnight. It requires years of study and real-life work experience.
Because the government serves the public, you can’t afford to hire a crowd control manager with no real-world experience. Finding someone who has managed and developed crowd control emergency solutions in the past is crucial.
Managing Large Crowds
How to plan for expected and unexpected crowds
At state houses, national parks, and schools across the country, public safety officials work daily to execute and improve crowd control procedures for large numbers of people.
At government facilities like these, you need permanent crowd control solutions as well as emergency crowd management equipment.
Permanent Solutions: For products that require installation, look for ADA compliant products that hold up to the wear and tear of repeated, everyday use.
Not sure what brands are best for your facility’s needs? Talk to one of our product experts.
Movable Solutions: For crowd control products you won't use every day, you need products that are easy to set up, store, and take down.
Planning ahead for protests, rallies, and parades? In most cases, steel barricades are your best option.
Try to find steel barricades that are interlocking and come with their own pushcart. These types of barriers are designed to be quickly assembled and disassembled at a moment’s notice.
Directions and Signs
Being discreet and clear
Visitors to public spaces and government buildings should never be confused about where to go. People need to be able to locate entrances, exits, restrooms and emergency services easily.
By providing clear and visible signs, you can direct visitors and employees alike with visual cues. This is called “soft crowd control,” which is the practice of directing crowds without their “knowing” they are being directed.
When you’re choosing crowd control signs for capitol buildings and courthouses, it’s crucial to pick signs that don’t conflict with the architecture of the building.
For these types of buildings, go for Stanchion Post & Rope Sign Frames. They are clearly visible and don’t requirement constructing additional structures inside older buildings.
When you’re designing signs for public parks, national parks, or throughways, you can direct crowds with large government signs, or by painting directions on the ground.
For example, think of your local bike path. The path has “signs” painted at the entrance and exit points that designate which side of the path riders should take when traveling in a particular direction.
Last, when you’re purchasing signs for disaster areas, it’s crucial to choose signs that are big and bright, so people will be sure to steer clear of the area.
Go for crowd control barriers that have stop signs or warning signs printed onto the product itself. That gives pedestrians a clear message that they should stay away from a particular area.
Event fencing, road barriers, retractable belt barriers, classic stanchion posts, and more…
Sometimes signs aren’t enough to keep crowds where you want them to be.
Depending on the facility you run, you’ll need different types of physical crowd control barriers.
For state capitol buildings..."Classy" classic stanchion posts and ropes provide a sophisticated, professional feel. These look like the velvet ropes you see at movie premieres.
The Future of Crowd Management
Crowd control robots, digital signs, sound barriers, text message alerts...
Just like in any area of government, crowd control rules and regulations are always changes.
Sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of the page to get regular updates on the future of crowd control.