With the tragedy that took place at OSU this past weekend and Black Friday only weeks away, it’s very important to know how to stay safe in large crowds. I’m not quite sure there was much anyone could do about a drunk driver plowing into a large crowd of people, but moments before the incident there were probably some tell-tale signs that something was not right.
The holiday shopping season is no different. Apart from the thrill of getting your loved ones something special and sincere, it’s also a race against time. In other words, there will be large crowds and potential danger. It’s understandable that nobody wants to jinx the holiday spirit by making negative assumptions, especially when it comes to shopping, but with big crowds there is always some manner of risk. Whether you’re single or a parent, take these tips of crowd safety to heart.
Tips for Individuals
– Pay Attention to your Surroundings:
Your eyes and ears are the senses that will serve you best in “large crowd” situations. The first thing you should do is take note of your surroundings. For the most part there will be security guards stationed at certain areas and there will also be several exit points. Before you start shopping, make a note of where the guards are stationed and the pathways to all the exits. In case something should happen you’ll know exactly where to go.
– Secure your Wallet or Purse:
One of the biggest dangers when it comes to large crowds is the threat of being mugged. Now, it goes without saying that a purse is not the ideal accessory to have in this situation, but if you can’t go without it then keep it close to your body. If possible, hold it near your stomach where it’s always visible. In terms of securing your wallet, keep it in your front pocket. As a side-note, don’t use an ATM. Either get your cash before you head into a crowd or use a card to make payments.
– Respond Quickly:
If an alarm goes off or your sixth sense tells you something isn’t right, don’t ignore it. Respond immediately by following the exit points you’ve established earlier. In case a fire breaks out simply sink down to the floor and crawl along the wall. It’s important that you stay away from the center of a crowd if something happens, because it’s much safer and you’ll be able to move more quickly.
Tips for Parents
– Bright Clothes
It might not always be the most stylish choice and your kids may not like it, but if you know you are going to encounter a crowd then dress your children in bright clothes. You want to be able to spot them quickly.
– Make Contact Information Easily Accessible
Don’t depend on your children memorizing your telephone number. Instead, place a tag around their wrist or write the number with a permanent marker on their arm. If I am Lost tattoos are also a great idea for young children. Also, don’t let their clothes or accessories display their names. Statistics show that strangers who know a child’s name have a better chance of winning their trust. Inform them to either go to a security guard or another mother if they get separated from you. If your child doesn’t have a cellphone then consider getting a two-way radio they can use.
– Establish Landmarks
It’s important that you establish a landmark or familiar spot where your child should go in case they get lost. However, they should never go to the parking lot, because this is a very dangerous place. For extra safety, take a picture of them before you start shopping. If something happens and you lose sight of them you don’t have to run around and describe how they look. Simply show security guards the photo.
It’s easy to get anxious and overwhelmed within a large crowd, but these are the feelings you need to control. The last thing you want to do is lose your head when you need it the most. Make the necessary preparations and assess the possible risks, because you’ll enjoy your shopping a whole lot more when you feel ready for anything.