Saturday, January 19, 2013

Staying safe in big crowds: Seven quick tips

Maybe you’re going to the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., this week, or perhaps you were lucky enough to score tickets to the Super Bowl in February.

Big events can be a lot of fun and a cause for celebration — but large crowds can also be scary if things go wrong. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  1. Know what you’re in for. How many people are expected at the event? Will you have to go through security? Can you bring food and water with you? Will you need to take medication at the event? Planning for these issues ahead of time will help everything run smoothly during the event.
  2. Check the weather. If you’re going to be outside in the cold, prepare with warm clothes, paying special attention to your hands and feet. Or for events in hot weather, remember sunblock, dress lightly and don’t forget to drink a lot of water!
  3. Take a look around you. Once you get to the event, check out your surroundings. Take note of emergency exits, restrooms and the location of a medical tent or first aid station. If an emergency happens, head calmly to the nearest exit.
  4. Pick a place to meet. If you’re with a group of people, pick a time and a place to meet, and be as specific as possible. Don’t rely on cellphones — if your battery dies or cellphone towers are overwhelmed, you’ll be glad you had a plan!
  5. Protect yourself. Big crowds can also mean a bigger chance of getting sick. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you go to the event. Bring hand sanitizer if possible and wash your hands after touching surfaces such as door handles and railings. And if you are coughing or have a fever, do everyone else a favor and stay home. 
  6. Let someone know if you feel sick. If you start to feel dizzy, overheated or nauseous, ask for help immediately. Be sure to let people know if you have medical conditions or allergies. A friend or event official can make sure you get medical attention as soon as possible.
  7. Be patient. With big crowds, you may have long waiting periods for security, bathrooms, food and even entering and exiting the event. Have patience with event staff and other people — they don’t like waiting in long lines, either!

Check out our fact sheet about event safety (PDF) for more advice.

And remember: Have fun, stay safe!

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