Safety Scene Fall 2019 - Page 4

“We are in the entertainment business, not the emergency business...aren’t we?” - Eric Stuart QPM, BA hons (CSM), UKCMA, Director of Gentian Events Ltd. S o, how do we prepare for crowd emergencies and what do those emergencies look like? I will answer the second one first: everything and anything that might impact negatively, hurt, scare, or kill your crowd should be considered a crowd emergency. “What? Are you mad? How can I plan for every possibility?” I hear you ask. Well the answer is you can’t, and you do not have to. What you have to do is plan to deal with reasonably foreseeable emergencies. If we started to make a list this article might never finish. For example, weather. Heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, lightning, and so on. And not only outdoors - what if you evacuate a theatre because of a smell of smoke but you send people into a raging thunderstorm? 2 Safety Scene What about issues of overcrowding caused by popular bands or artists, or artists who have gained popularity because of a big hit or had a radio interview since you booked them? How about a stage falling down, a barrier collapse, a DUI driving at a crowd, a fire, a building structural failure, a drone falling from the sky and laying smoking on the floor? Should I go on? I haven’t even started on the terrorist attack or the ‘fear caused by the fear’ of a terrorist attack. The sudden bang as a barrier falls which triggers a self-initiated evacuation by the crowd charging towards narrow gates that you kept narrow because you expected people to leave over many hours - not all at once! I dislike the word ‘stampede’, but we are certainly seeing more ‘stampede-like’ behaviour, as frightened people just run. Here are just some of the many examples: the 2017 Black Friday incident at Oxford Circus, London where 60+ people were injured as they ‘escaped’ from an innocuous fight; the crowd- initiated evacuations at Global Gathering in New York leaving 7 injured; the self-evacuation of the crowd during the Toronto Raptors firearm Fall 2019 Edition: Emergency Preparedness