There are many dangers that go along with a crowded event, especially when it is populated to the extreme. Not only does it bring risk of harm to the attendees, but in fact to the entire city hosting the event as well. Every year thousands (or even millions) of people will flock to a destination all at the same time. From sporting events to political gatherings, there are certain activities that cause a massive draw of interest.
Do these events help the region economically? Absolutely. Do these events unintentionally put residents in harm’s way? Yes, without a doubt and for these reasons…
When a large number of extra people come to a city, it causes the roadways to become flooded with cars. This makes driving conditions even more dangerous than usual. Any time there are that many out-of town motorists unfamiliar with an area, combined with drivers stressed by the congestion, accidents are bound to happen.
Another reason why the roads become a hazard is due to cell phones. There are many vacationers who use their handheld devices to locate restaurants, attractions, or to figure out where they are going, all while driving! Mix this with the thousands of residents who are also just as distracted, and it is a recipe for disaster.
The best way to ensure your safety if a major event came to town would be to avoid the roads altogether. Yet if there was no way of getting around driving in these crowded regions, do so with extra caution and heightened awareness. In addition, consider utilizing public transportation and your knowledge of the back roads. Make sure you know where you are going. I know several people who have had trouble because they got lost and ended up in bad neighborhoods.
Increased Risk of Disaster
Any time there is a major event bringing a substantial number of people into one area, there is a higher risk of threat. It is crucial residents stand prepared for anything and everything that could occur.
The major issue for those who already prepare is that a disaster would be much more chaotic with the overcrowded population. It is imperative you take into account that your normal preparedness strategies could be less effective. Use these suggestions in advance.
- Practice your family emergency plans (meeting places, contacts, procedures).
- Formulate alternative escape routes.
- Provide maintenance to your car so it is reliable in case you need to flee. Also, keep your gas tank filled and a proper car kit inside.
- Go through your preparedness items to see if any need to be updated (water rotation, out-of-date food products, children’s clothing in BOBs, etc…).
- Prepare your home in hopes it will be a safe haven if a disaster were to occur. Remember to address the five basics – water, food, shelter, energy and self-defense.
Within a Crowd Safety Tips
If entering a crowded scenario (sporting event, concert, festival, etc…) there are certain precautions to take to help keep you safe.
- Be careful where you park your car, try and park in a well-lit, busy area.
- Be aware of your surroundings, including people, exits and objects.
- Avoid being pinned in an area that would be difficult to escape from during an emergency.
- Try to stay with your group. Create a meeting place just in case of separation.
- Pay attention to the crowd around you and avoid sketchy looking people.
- Keep your important personal belongings (money, keys, cellphone) on your body, and not in a separate bag.
- Wear clothing that does not attract a lot of attention.
- Don’t flash money around, or wear expensive jewelry.
- Putting a rubber band on your wallet and storing it in your front pocket can help keep it from being stolen.
- Have your cell phone fully charged.
- When in conversation with someone you do trust, be aware of people around you who may be listening.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol, and stay hydrated.
- Stay on your feet if chaos ensues to avoid being trampled.
- Be careful of strangers; don’t give out too much information.
- Use ATMs during the day when there are people around
Editors Note: A version of this article first appeared in the April 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide.