In wake of the attack on Paris and ISIS threats claiming the US will be the next Target, the State Department has issued a “worldwide travel alert” for the next three months. And while the FBI has promised protection, the holiday season presents many opportunities for those looking to strike. Keep reading for tips on how to stay safe in a large crowd.
Security is a nightmare for major gatherings like sporting events and concerts. With so many people packed into one place, events like baseball games become attractive targets both for terrorists and the occasional lunatic with a gun.
Considering tragedies like the Boston Bombing and the chaos in Baltimore and Ferguson, I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to stay away from large crowds during the holidays. But for those of us in attendance, there are things we can do to increase our chances of survival during an emergency situation.
First of all, it’s important to research the event. You should know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you get there. Consider the following questions:
- How many people will be there?
- Where are the exits?
- Have any threats been made regarding the event (look on social media)?
Being aware of your surroundings is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep yourself safe in virtually any scenario. When you arrive, take note of restrooms, emergency exits, and exit routes. Become familiar with the layout of the area and make sure you know where medical aid is available. Create a plan for you and your friends/family should an emergency arise.
Even a small disaster can turn ugly when a large crowd is forced to evacuate. Panic can cause large groups to stampede – and those caught unawares can be injured. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Nearby roadways are often blocked off or crowded with traffic.
- Exit routes will be filled with panicking people who will probably make the situation worse.
- Safety protocols are not always the safest idea. If you know about them, so do the bad guys. Always consider alternative exits and options.
If you live near a stadium or arena, keep in mind that tragedy can affect you at home. Be prepared to flee – and remember that your normal route might not be available.
Listen to your Instincts
If you have a bad feeling, don’t ignore it. If you notice abnormal crowd movements or a single person acting strange, it may be time to leave. Make sure you and anyone attending with you knows where to meet up should you get separated. It’s also a good idea to have a contact person you can call in an emergency (someone who is not attending the event).