Houston, TX

What to do in the event of a crowd surge

B.R. Shenoy

Crowd at a concertWendy Wei/Pexels

By now, all of you must have heard about the deadly crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival in Houston. Ten people were killed, and hundreds were injured when the crowd began surging during Travis Scott’s performance.

A “surge” is a sudden and powerful movement, which can quickly turn deadly when it occurs in a large group of people.

When a crowd surges, the force can be strong enough to bend steel. It can also hit people from two directions: one from the rear of the crowd pushing forward and another from the front of the crowd trying to escape. If some people have fallen, causing a pileup, pressure can even come from above. Caught in the middle are people’s lungs. pbs.org

Surviving a Crowd Surge

Per Paul Wertheimer, head of the Los Angeles-based crowd safety consulting firm Crowd Management Strategies, the National Fire Protection Association has standards in place to prevent incidents like this one.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, do the following:

1. To protect your lungs, move your arms and place them in front of your chest.

2. You should avoid yelling or screaming because you will deplete oxygen, and no one will be able to hear you anyway.

3. Do not resist the momentum of the crowd, as it will deplete your energy reserves. Try to absorb it and allow it to pass through you so that you can stand.

4. It is critical to stay upright and wear sturdy, close-toed shoes with decent traction, such as sneakers or boots.

5. Wear long pants, shirts, and hoodies. Do not wear clothing items that could make you trip or get yanked on in a stampede

6. Have a strategy before entering a crowd and know where your exit points are ahead of time.

Closing Thoughts

The majority of the time these events are safe. However, it is always better to be safe than to be sorry.

Have you ever experienced a crowd surge? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

A version of this article appeared on Medium.

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