The horrific stampede that took place over the weekend in South Korea is a good reminder for everyone to learn what to do if, God forbid, you ever get caught in a crowd surge.
According to CNN: “South Korea’s first big Halloween celebration since the end of Covid restrictions turned to tragedy on Saturday night, when at least 151 people, mostly teenagers and young adults, died as partygoers surged through a narrow alley in a popular nightlife district in Seoul, officials said.” Sadly, “The dead included at least 19 foreign nationals, including people from Iran, Norway, China and Uzbekistan.”
RELATED: Where to Find Local Safety Tips
Crowd surges are an unfathomable thing to imagine but unfortunately, they happen all too often and all over the world. Wikipedia has a whole page dedicated to the subject and there are hundreds of them listed, beginning before the 18th century and most recently, a few weeks ago in Indonesia at a soccer game where 135 people lost their lives.
Don’t think it doesn’t happen here in the U.S. either. Less than a year ago, 300 people were injured and 10 were killed at a concert in Houston, Texas. Just last month, it was on my mind while exiting the Hollywood Bowl (photo above). There were thousands of people exiting and confined to pretty tight quarters. If there had been a surge, people definitely would have perished.
So what can you do to prevent it from happening to you? Or worse, if you get stuck in one, how do you survive? NPR just interviewed Mehdi Moussaïd, a research scientist in Berlin who studies crowd behavior. Below are his 8 tips but to see his in-depth answers with more details, read NPR’s informative article.
1. Keep your eyes open for danger signs.
2. Leave as soon as you sense the crowd getting too dense.
3. Stay standing, and don’t put a backpack on the ground.
4. Lack of oxygen is the killer in crowds, so preserve space around your chest.
5. Don’t push. Move with the crowd.
6. Avoid walls and solid objects.
7. Learn to detect crowd density.
8. If a crowd gets unsafe, look out for others.
WebMD has similar tips. Again, read their post for expanded tips. But WebMD’s tips for crowd safety include:
-Don’t be the first to rush in when the gates open.
-As you enter, make a mental note of all the exits.
-Pay attention to where first aid centers and security are stationed, in case you need help later on.
-Stay away from barricades or fences near the main stage. This is where crowd pressure tends to surge. Try to stick to the sides or less crowded spaces.
-Stand on even, level ground. You’re more likely to fall in wet or muddy areas.
WebMD offers many more tips and safety information, all of which you can read here and which I highly recommend you do. Stampedes can happen at any moment in crowds and knowing what to do can save your life and the lives of those you love.