Checklist for safety in numbers

crowdA simple checklist providing community safety advice for those attending major events and gatherings has been published by Flinders University’s Torrens Resilience Institute (TRI).

TRI Director and Dean of the Flinders School of Nursing and Midwifery Professor Paul Arbon says the checklist intends to assist individuals and emergency authorities in times of crisis.

“The sad reality is that the world can be unsafe, and the risks can be amplified when in a crowd,” Professor Arbon says.

“Last week’s Paris terrorist attacks demonstrate the horrendous results that can ensue from incidents at major public events.

“Patrons at Bataclan theatre had no idea a night at a concert would be transformed into a life or death situation.

“Be it a terrorist attack, major accident or natural disaster, the checklist prepared by TRI is intended to heighten people’s awareness of risk and be better prepared to act should the worst occur.

“Developed in consultation with State and Commonwealth experts, the checklist provides a series of easy-to-understand dot points containing practical information, such as how to minimise the danger of being caught in a crowd surge, planning meeting points in the event of being separated from companions, and reducing congestion of mobile networks.”

Key elements for personal safety at major events include:

  • Be vigilant. Be alert for suspicious activity both in the area outside of the venue and once inside, and report your concerns immediately to event security or police.
  • Check for your nearest exit. Once you are within the venue identify your nearest emergency exit. During emergency incidents people often try to leave the venue the way they came in – this is not always the best option. Evacuate through the nearest emergency exit.
  • Agree on a meeting point. Agree with your friends and companions on a place to meet in case you get separated.
  • Listen for and follow emergency instructions. In an emergency, watch for big screen announcements, listen for public address announcements and follow the directions of staff.
  •  Stay calm. Don’t panic and do help others.
  • Evacuate. Move slowly and in the event of crowd surge move to the left or right; away from the flow of the crowd.
  • Leave the area. There is a risk of a secondary incident or attack.
  • Minimise use of mobile/smart phones. Use mobile phones sparingly because networks can be overwhelmed during emergencies. Text messages will be faster and kinder to the network.
  • Seek medical aid if injured. If in doubt do not delay seeking advice. Remember that health services may be overwhelmed and more urgent patients will be seen first.
  • Notify friends and family early. Tell your relatives and friends as soon as you are safe and able to do so.

“The checklist has been designed to be applicable in a wide range of situations and equally useful to domestic or international audiences” Professor Arbon says.

“We all hope the worst won’t occur, but if it does, this checklist intends to support people to take positive steps that avoid exacerbating a crisis.”

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