As the world starts to reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people find themselves planning to attend large gatherings where they could find themselves in a sea of thousands. After being cooped up in our homes for more than a year, many of us are ready to head out to watch our favorite performers and sports teams.
But there are dangers that go along with being in the midst of a large crowd. COVID-19 transmission, crowd surges, and mass shootings are a few of the dangers that have been in the news lately. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself. And although nothing is foolproof, there are ways to mitigate the chance for disaster.
Know Your Surroundings
One of the first things you should do before entering a venue is to know the surroundings. Whether you research the venue ahead of time or scope things out once you arrive, you should be aware of where you are in relation to the exits and doorways. Many venues post online maps of the arenas or concert halls where events will take place.
If you’re meeting outside in a wide-open area, the situation’s a little different. In such cases, you’ll want to make sure that you have possible escape routes mapped out in your mind. For example, know the direction of the parking lot or any other area nearby that will afford you safety with the least resistance.
Be Aware of Crowd Surges
One of the most frightening things that can occur during a large gathering of people is a crowd surge. A crowd surge is basically when people find themselves uncontrollably moved forward due to the push of people behind them. Those at the front of the crowd near the stage are especially vulnerable to being crushed in such an event. If the pressure becomes too intense, hold your arms in front of you like a boxer to protect your ribcage.
During a crowd surge, try as much as possible to remain on your feet, not fighting the crowd but moving along with it. The most important thing is to stay on your feet, but don’t panic if you happen to fall. Roll yourself into as tight a ball as possible, lying on your side, and take special care to protect your head and face. Crowd surges can be deadly, so it’s important to be vigilant.
Assess Changing Situations
So you’ve done all your homework, and things appear safe enough from what you can gather. But once you arrive at the venue or after you’ve been there a while, the situation is different, or something’s changed. In situations where you can see that a problem could develop, remove yourself from the situation and get to a safe area.
And the situation may not have anything to do with the crowd. Sometimes the venue itself is unsafe. There have been cases where people have been injured not because of the crowd but because there is an issue with the venue or the concert promoter is somehow negligent. In such cases, it’s best to seek out a good lawyer.
Wear a Mask
After months of wearing masks to protect ourselves against COVID, most people are tired of them. But studies have shown that although masks are not 100 percent effective at preventing the spread of COVID, they do provide some benefits. You may feel that wearing a mask at a concert gathering dampens the mood, but isn’t your health more important?
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that wearing a mask in large crowds may not only prevent you from getting sick but can help lessen the risk that you’ll spread illness to others. Large crowds can be dangerous not only because of the potential for crowd surges but for the possibility of transmitting viruses – even when outdoors.
Putting It All Together
We’re all eager to get back out in the real world after COVID lockdowns and quarantines. But we should be careful to take precautions related to our health and safety. Gatherings of large crowds, while usually safe, can pose hidden dangers such as crowd surging and the spread of airborne illnesses. Remember to be aware of your surroundings, assess changing situations, and mask up for safety.