Two major tragedies occurred in crowded places the past month: the fatal Astroworld crush that left at least 10 dead and hundreds injured, and the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy, with 6 dead and dozens injured after a car plowed into a Christmas parade.
Both of these tragedies happened under different circumstances. The crush during the Travis Scott concert at the Astroworld Festival was the result of too many people in one place, poor planning, and lack of security and crowd control. Some families of those who died or were injured are suing Travis Scott and/or festival organizers for failing to protect concert-goers. The Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy, on the other hand, was not the result of negligence, but rather of one man’s deranged will.
Holiday Safety in Crowds
While the tragedies themselves are different, they both took place in crowds. As the holidays approach, it is important for those who may be in crowded places to protect themselves as much as possible.
The desire to go to parties, parades, tree lightings, and other crowded places is stronger than ever this year, understandably after many people spent holidays alone last year due to COVID restrictions, and they now want to celebrate with friends and family.
If you plan on spending time in crowded places during the holiday season, we recommend taking these 5 tips into account.
1. Create an exit plan
When you first get to the venue, explore the layout and note exits so you know where to go if you need to get out fast. (If you can do this before you get to the event, even better.) You should also look for places you can take shelter should someone open gunfire. If you are with friends or family, agree upon a designated spot for all to meet if you get separated.
2. Locate the helpers
In addition to noting where exits are, it is also a good idea to note where police, security guards, and medics are situated so you can turn to them if necessary. If you are with children, point out the locations of these helpers so they can go to them if they get lost.
3. Wear the right shoes
This may sound odd, but if you wear shoes with high heels, no backs, or ones generally uncomfortable, you may have a hard time getting out of the venue should the need arise. Also, shoes with slippery soles should be avoided to ensure you don’t slip or fall. Remember, the idea is to plan ahead for emergency situations, which means running may be involved. The right footwear can make a difference.
4. Keep your hands free
Don’t carry big bags or hold anything unnecessary. Many people like holding their phones, but you can also put your phone in a handbag or pocket that is easily accessible. The idea behind having your hands free is that you can create a shield for yourself if a crowd starts pushing or you can quickly grab the hand of a child and run to safety together.
5. Trust your gut
Sometimes, you just need to trust your gut. If you hear or see things that make you uncomfortable or if anything feels off to you in any sense, leave.
Sad but necessary
The holidays should be a time of joy and togetherness, and it is sad that we have to create these plans to help avoid attacks and tragedies. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. It is better to make plans and not have to use them than to find yourself unprepared in an emergency situation.