The only way to stay 100% safe at public events is to never go to one. We all know that is not possible, nor should we let fear consume us to the point that we shut ourselves off from the world.
While the odds are against the majority of us ever being in a catastrophic event, we should be prepared for common events that could take place at public events:
- Avoid pickpockets by wearing cross-body bags and keeping the bag in front of you. If you are just carrying a few things, like a wallet or phone, keep them in your front pockets.
- Do you know CPR and basic first aid? What would you do if someone around you went into cardiac arrest during an event? Taking CPR and first aid classes are a great idea and could save a life. Find a class near you through the Red Cross.
- Keep a close eye on young children in large crowds. Should you get separated, find the nearest security guard or event employee and alert them. Snap a photo on your phone of your child when you first get to the event, so staff can know what they are wearing and what they look like.
Less common, but much more traumatic occurrences are mass casualty events such as shootings and car-rammings. While we grieve and mourn the loss of so many of our fellow citizens, we should all prepare a plan that one day may save each other’s lives.
Precautions to Take Before Attending Large Events:
- Do a quick Google Maps search of the venue’s layout. Where are the entrances/exits? How many levels are there? Is there a balcony? Is the venue open air or is the venue connected to another building?
- Always let someone know that you will be attending an event. Even if you are just going to the mall or movie theater, let someone know. You can even use the “Share My Location” feature on your iPhone, or wearable GPS trackers.
- Check with your local police department for prior criminal/disturbance incidents at or near where you will be. You can find this information on your local government’s website.
- Check the event or venue website for event-specific safety information.
Red Flags to Watch For During Large Events:
- Alert event staff of any unattended backpacks, boxes, or really anything that looks suspicious to you.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Do not bury your nose in your cell phone.
- Report any suspicious person or activity to security or police.
- Pay attention to the people around you.
If You Find Yourself Amidst a Shooting in a Public Place:
- Get low to the ground to make yourself as small a target as possible.
- Quickly try to assess from what direction the threat is coming.
- Once you make that determination, move as quickly as you can away from the threat.
- Take cover behind a vehicle, building, large tree, or inside a building.
If You Find Yourself Amidst a Bombing or Car Ramming in a Public Place:
- Move quickly away from the explosion or ramming site. You should be able to determine the location of a bombing because of smoke and flying debris.
- Amid all the initial chaos, first, make sure you are safe before you assist other injured citizens.
- If you are not injured during a car-ramming, try to get a good description of the driver of the vehicle, the license plate information, and the color/brand of the vehicle.
REMEMBER: Your safety is the most important priority.