Large events are a lot of fun, yet threats such as pickpockets, hazardous weather, crowd surges and violence continue to be valid concerns for those attending public events. Personal awareness and simple planning can further enhance safety should danger arise at a large event.
Event Safety Tips
- Find out what the event's emergency and safety information and procedures are.
- Discuss with children what they should do in case they are separated or there is another type of emergency.
- Make sure someone who is not at the event is aware of who is attending the event with you.
- Pay attention to your surroundings at the event and what you may need to do if there is an emergency.
- Follow the instructions of event officials and first responders.
Research the Event
One of the best ways to stay safe at any event is to be prepared. Researching the venue ahead of a large event can help individuals plan their emergency responses. Scenarios to consider include:
- How many people are expected at the event?
- Where are the venue’s exits?
- What are the emergency evacuation protocols for the venue?
- What is the contact information for security, first aid and lost property?
- What items are allowed, and what is prohibited?
- How might the day’s weather (heat, cold, wind, storms) affect people at the event or driving to/from the event?
- What safety or security issues have been reported at similar events?
Talk to Children About Safety
If there are young children in the family, explain to them the necessity of safety. While it is best not to scare them, let them know how important it is for them to stick close to the family and stay away from strangers. Also consider snapping a digital photo of children just before leaving home so there is a current description on hand in the event they are separated from the family.
Have an Outside Contact
At least one person not attending the event should be aware of family or friends who are attending.
- Ensure that the outside contact knows who is attending the event (family members, a group of friends, a couple, an individual, etc.).
- Share cell phone numbers among everyone attending and the contact.
- Provide the contact with estimated times of departure, event attendance and return.
Scan the Area
After arriving at the event, do an awareness scan of the surroundings.
- Take note of emergency exits, restrooms and exit routes. Take note of secondary exit points that may be less crowded. Remember that it may be difficult to take advantage of the main exit if an emergency occurs.
- Plan evacuation routes that make the most sense for the physical abilities of those in the group. Stairs, ramps and uneven ground can be especially challenging for some people during an evacuation.
- Become familiar with the venue’s layout. Pay attention to the location of medical tents or first-aid stations.
- Establish a meeting location where group members will gather if separated.
Remain Aware of Others
Should anyone get the slightest feeling that something may be wrong, it is best to listen to instincts and act fast.
- Keep an eye on the crowd for signs of trouble. When seeing something of this nature, it could be a good time to change locations, and let security know about any concerns. Scenarios to look for include:
- An abnormal increase in the number of people pouring into the area.
- A loner who doesn’t seem to belong in the area.
- Performers or audience members encouraging hazardous behavior.
- If the crowd is getting too dense for comfort, change locations before it gets worse.
- Be vigilant about theft possibilities when others may be close enough to reach purses, wallets, cell phones or cameras. Ensure such items are always as secure as possible.
- Travel with a companion when venturing anywhere inside or outside of the venue. This will reduce the likelihood of getting lost or being targeted for theft.
When an evacuation is necessary, it is important to stay calm. Try following some of these key tips:
- If an emergency does happen, stay calm, head for the nearest exit and listen for official instructions.
- In a crowd, keep feet firmly placed and well-spread, and keep arms close to the chest.
- Do not resist the force of the crowd.
- Do not stop to pick up personal items in dense and moving crowds.
- Avoid falling and keep those nearby from falling too.