Social gatherings are a core part of most people’s lives. They may occur at a restaurant, a concert, or at the zoo— and if you are hosting any sort of event, it is crucial to handle crowd control properly in order to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. The recent Astroworld incident where there was a fatal crowd surge while rapper Travis Scott was performing demonstrates the importance of credible crowd control.
What most crowds have in common is that they are unpredictable, and even in small numbers things can go awry. Keeping large groups of people safe requires a mix of strategy, planning and good old-fashioned common sense. While the strategies and tactics may differ from event to event, most crowd safety practices can be applied to any gathering. Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors to keep in mind.
Knowing what type of event or space you are setting up is crucial to creating a safe environment for your guests. You should also know how many people are expected to attend and how many your venue is able to safely host. With these in mind, you will want to make it easy for your guests to know where to go. You can use crowd control barricades to designate paths, custom signage to display quick information, and even barricades with added fence panels for anywhere you need to keep private. Your best scenario is preparing for the worst scenario. Effective crowd control is preemptive, not reactive. Doing a little research ahead of time can help you identify unsafe crowd conditions and can also help you anticipate how long the crowd control plan will be needed. Here are a few key layout factors to consider:
You can use barricades to organize attendees into lines or provide directions to an event area. You will need to plan ahead for any movement during the event as well. Will your guests have to move from one space to another? Will they have enough time and space for people to travel in between? These are factors to consider if you want to avoid accidents like the 2016 Falls Festival where guests had to rush from one stage to another, resulting in multiple injuries and even hospitalizations.
What’s great about OTW’s plastic crowd control barricades is that they can be easily moved if a layout needs to change even if the change is spur of the moment. You may need a pathway at one time that you don’t need later or perhaps you will need to extend or widen a throughway due to a unexpected surge of attendees. What’s more, OTW has custom signage that you can use to provide clear instructions, share information or even highlight sponsors.
Set Apart Designated Areas
When hosting an event, there are many areas to take into consideration. For any event with a stage, you’ll also want a backstage area for performers to prepare. For guests, you’ll want it clear where areas like restrooms or first aid are. At large events, it’s a good idea to even have “chill out” areas, especially if it’s an outdoor event in hot weather. Having each of these areas clearly set apart will ensure they’re not being used as pathways. Keeping them clearly marked with custom colors or signage helps everyone get where they need to go. For more private areas, OTW Safety has fence paneling that can be added as well as privacy screens which can be branded. You can even use our gate adapter kit if you need a private entrance and exit into one of these areas.
Make it Easy to Leave
Although you’ve likely been focused on getting everyone to your event, it’s extremely important to think about when your guests eventually want to leave. Having a safe and easy exit can help protect your guests and prevent injuries. Make sure that paths to the exits are clearly marked and well lit if your event will take place after dark. Also, consider having multiple exits or alternates routes in case of emergencies. At the 2010 Love Parade in Germany, there was a fatal crush in a tunnel due there being a single entry and exit that were insufficient for a rushing crowd. A crush usually occurs when a crowd tries to move all in a same direction too quickly and “crushes” together. Remember that during emergency situations, crowds will behave differently. Ensuring that your exits are accessible and able to accommodate more people than in normal situations is vital to keeping your event safe.
Hope For the Best, Plan for the Worst
If an emergency situation arises, it can be challenging to quickly and efficiently clear a large space. This is why it is crucial to have an emergency crowd control plan in place. Make sure that all of your staff are aware of your emergency plan and are trained and ready to help your guests exit in an efficient and orderly fashion. Know the paths to the exits ahead of time, and make sure they can accommodate everyone leaving at once. Ensure proper lighting, use signage, and mark all exits clearly.
Crowd safety is a crucial part of events and festivals, but it’s something that a lot of hosts don’t think about until it’s too late. It’s important to plan ahead and make sure that the crowd control plan you create is reasonable and appropriate for your event.
Here at OTW Safety, we love creating custom safety solutions with our clients and pride ourselves in providing high quality equipment at excellent pricing. Have questions about what you’ll need for your event? Contact us anytime and let us help you with your crowd control plan today.