We’re all excited to spend our holidays next to our loved ones and gather around the Christmas table for delicious meals. During Christmas (and other holidays too), many people are also getting out of the house and walking around the city, where Christmas markets take place, to admire the lights and spend time together.
However, what’s less unpleasant about so many people in one place is that crowds can form quickly and hinder access or exit. Being trapped in such a crowd can make one anxious or activate other phobias, which can lead to disastrous situations. One of the latest occurrences showed us how groups could become deadly, which we’ll discuss in the following paragraphs.
We’ll also get through some essential tips to avoid being trapped in crowds and safely enjoy your holidays.
Why do crowd surges happen?
Crowds start to form during important events or holidays, where many people gather in one place to visit, eat or just have a walk. Crowd surges happen suddenly when so many other individuals surround people that breathing becomes challenging. Unlike movies, where there’s an evident agitation and people are running into each other, in reality, everything happens slowly, which is why people are not immediately losing consciousness.
As individuals try to escape the crowd, some are left behind since they’re being pushed deeper against others or buildings. This is when the blood supply is reduced to the brain, and from that moment, it takes about 30 seconds to lose consciousness. After another five to six minutes, people start to asphyxiate. Being locked between other strong, moving bodies can also lead to severe panic, which worsens the situation.
In times of panic, people act unconsciously only to find an escape. It’s similar to people drowning the person who saves them because they’re trying to raise their heads above the water, so they instinctively push down the one trying to rescue them. In crowds, too, people become agitated and start pushing other people as a way to find a route for escape. However, they’re unaware of the individuals they might hurt or the ongoing pushing waves they’re forming. That’s how accidents happen.
How do crowds become deadly?
One month ago, one of the most tragic events occurred in Seoul during the Halloween festivities. At least 153 people were killed in a crowd surge through a narrow alleyway. The area was one of the most popular districts, so around 100,000 people gathered that night to celebrate and party. However, since no one would expect such a crowd to form and no special measures were taken that night, people found themselves locked between many other panicked people. It seemed like they were pushing down into a downhill club alley, which caused some to fall and get injured despite their screams for help.
Another disastrous event took place in Indonesia at a football match when 135 people died, and around 320 people were injured. Supporters of the losing team were displeased with the match result and stormed the pitch, which resulted in multiple cases of suffocation. Experts say such cases occur especially at sporting events, concerts and nightclubs.
It seems like most of the time, such things are preventable; however, people are simply finding themselves trapped in such situations due to a lack of organisation and failing authorities. Accidents in public spaces happen all the time, and, according to https://www.nowinnofeesolicitorsco.co.uk/, if you ever experience trips or falls due to poor organisation, you can claim compensation if you can prove negligence.
How can you avoid crowds?
Such occurrences should not scare you, so you never go outside during holidays. Especially during Christmas, when all the lights are shining in the city’s centre, and there’s warm food and drinks everywhere. However, you need to be wary of your surroundings and learn how to protect yourself while having fun.
To ensure maximum safety, you should research the place beforehand and see where the exits are or how the location is positioned so you know where you should take your leave. The first thing you need to remember is to keep your eyes open for possible forming crowds and keep your distance. Remember that groups form in a matter of minutes while you may be paying attention to something else, so always be on guard.
Dos and don’ts
When you feel like the crowd is getting too dense or start feeling uncomfortable surrounded by so many people, it’s best to leave as soon as possible. You can find shelter in a shop or just walk away, but don’t wait for the crowd to dissipate because, most likely, it won’t happen. However, if you find yourself trapped, remember to stay on your feet. If you fall or even crouch, you may become an obstacle for other people, and you may get easily injured. At the same time, it’ll become almost impossible to stand up again and find balance, so try your best to stay standing.
Another aspect you need to be wary of is the lack of oxygen, which might lead to suffocation. When you’re trapped in a crowd, there’s not enough space for your lungs to help you breathe normally. If the crowd isn’t too dense, you might be able to put your arms out in front of your chest to create a small space safe enough for breathing.
Finally, the golden rule for ensuring safety in a crowd is to avoid pushing. Try to move as the crowd moves, but if you push people, the movement will be amplified by ten others. This phenomenon is called crowd turbulence, where multiple pushing waves happen, and the pressure comes from different directions. Remember also to avoid being next to solid objects or walls because there’s a danger of being crushed.
Being trapped in a crowd is one of the most unpleasant things to experience, but it’s also almost one of the deadliest. So, learn from past situations, keep an eye on your surroundings, and be aware of forming crowds.
Stay safe out there during the holidays!