Originally published in Mind4Survival October 4, 2017
With the recent events in Las Vegas, several people asked what my thoughts are on how to be safe at a concert. So, to get information out to as many people as possible, I decided to write this, and this free Crowd Safe Mindset downloadable guide.
I hope that it helps others become more safe, secure and prepared before they go to a concert or similar event. To start off with, I’ve spent a lifetime making sure others are safe. Like many of you, I’m fortunate to have a fantastic and exciting life. However, while my life is full of countless great experiences it also holds some less than ideal experiences and hard-won lessons.
The number one lesson I learned is that our chances of recognizing, dealing with, and overcoming life’s challenges are significantly improved when we add a few basic concepts to our mental security and safety process. One of those fundamental concepts includes an improved crowd safety mindset. As many recent tragic events have shown, large gatherings are tempting targets for those seeking to cause harm.
Because of this, it’s now more critical than ever that you take the time to learn how to protect yourself and others. When you do, you will be better prepared to live a safe and enjoyable life that includes attending all sorts of fun events. With that, let’s get going and let me help you better understand how to be safe at a concert.
There are five goals that I want you to take away from this. Each one of these goals focuses on one key area when helping you to know how to be safe at a concert.
These goals are:
1. Understand situational awareness
2. Learn to create a basic plan when attending a concert
3. How you should dress for the event
4. How to deal with the crowd
5. Expose you to basic casualty trauma care ideas
Perhaps the essential skill that a person may have, especially when it applies to how to be safe at a concert, is situational awareness. It is your awareness of what is occurring around you that will warn you in times of danger and show you the light in moments of happiness. Situational awareness is your awareness of your environment and its relationship to you in both the present and the future. Your environment is made up of all the living entities, inanimate objects and developing events that may have a positive or adverse effect on you. By understanding your environment, your situational awareness aids you in identifying potential impacts to the safety and security of yourself and others. With the potential impacts identified, you will be better able to formulate a positive response to either capitalize on or mitigate the effects of those effects.
Situational Awareness Checks
• Pay Attention: Have fun, but keep an eye on what is happening around you.
• Familiarize Yourself: Walk around the area when you arrive. Identify cover, concealment, and exits.
• Look, Listen and Observe: Identify anything that is not normal.
• Trust Your Instincts: Your instincts don’t lie. Listen to your gut.
• Be Willing to Leave: If there’s a problem, or something makes you uncomfortable, leave.
Create a Plan
Planning is critical to any undertaking, especially when trying to learn how to be safe at a concert. We often take time plan a trip, a party, or a simple task at home. Why then shouldn’t we take the time to plan for a possible emergency?
As recent events, unfortunately, show, tragic situations can happen without notice, anywhere and at any time. Therefore, while we all should have a home and family emergency plan, it is also crucial that we take the time to quickly make a plan when out and about during our daily lives.
When going to the mall, a movie, a concert, or other gathering places, it is in our best interest to take a few minutes to make a plan. We can all make that happen by improving our situational awareness, planning and as part of the way we approach large gatherings. This is not to say that you should avoid crowds and not go to the ballpark, attend a concert, the theatre, or go window shopping.
What it is saying is that while you should continue to live your lives, do so with heightened awareness. After all, we plan to attend an event, why not add a little more planning due to the possibility that fire, disaster or an act of violence may happen while we’re there?
These plans don’t need a lot of detail. They don’t need to take a lot of time. They only need to let people know what to do if something happens. That way you’ll be better able to overcome any adversity that you encounter.
• What to Do?: Plan what to do if something happens. For example, If this, then do that.
• Where to Meet?: Plan a meet-up location based on safety and security, not convenience.
• How to Communicate: Know how to get a hold of each other if you become separated.
• Be Concise: Keep the plan broad, but short and to the point.
• Brief the Plan: Make sure others know the plan. People should default to the plan during an emergency.
How to Dress
Wearing the right clothing is a factor to be considered when attending an event with large numbers of people. Obviously, you want to dress in a manner that is consistent with the occasion. However, some fundamentals may help you dress for success should trouble find you before the night is over. These fundamentals will aid you in being able to move away from potential danger more quickly and efficiently. Additionally, they will also work to minimize your chances of being a victim of crime.
By following these simple suggestions, you will be better prepared to have a safe and enjoyable time because you'll know how to be safe at a concert or large gathering.
• Closed Toe Shoes: Wearing closed-toe shoes will help you to move more quickly.
• No Loose Clothes: Loose clothing can become tangled or pulled.
• Dress for the Environment: Consider the weather and dress appropriately.
• No Purses or Wallets: Carry your ID, cash, and a credit or debit card, or two in your pocket. Wallets and purses get stolen and lost. Purses can get tangled or pulled.
With the tragedies of the past several years, one of the regular questions I receive asks what can be done to be safe in a large crowd. Sadly, in today’s world, large groups not only attract fun loving people, but they also draw monsters who are intent on causing harm. Fortunately, the odds are slim that you or any particular event will experience an act of extreme violence. However, while the odds are slim, they are 100% guaranteed to happen somewhere. Therefore, it’s vital that you are prepared to identify the threat and minimize its risk to you, your family and friends.
We can all make that happen by improving our knowledge for dealing with crowds as part of the way we approach large gatherings. After all, if we don't will we know how to be safe at a concert or other large gathering of people?
• Early & Late: Leave and arrive early or late to avoid the heaviest crowds.
• Edges & Exits: Stay on the sides of the crowd and near the exits.
• Go Around: Move around the crowd rather than walking through it.
• Sideways or Diagonal: If you need to get out of the crowd, move sideways or diagonal to the flow of the crowd.
Unfortunately, in spite of everything, there is a small chance that you may be somewhere when evil strikes. In that event, you may find yourself trying to help others. You could be all that stands between injury and death. Therefore, it is essential that you know what to do and act upon that knowledge and skill. If you don't know, you should get training as soon as possible. After all, the life you save may be a family member or friend.
There is no debating that providing medical care sooner, rather than later, increases the chances of survival for trauma victims. Additionally, there is no arguing that EMS providers cannot be everywhere at all times. As such, many jurisdictions believe that an eight-minute response time for EMS acceptable.
Unfortunately, for the victims of trauma, they can bleed to death within three-minutes and suffer brain damage in as little as four minutes from lack of oxygen. Because of this, many trauma sufferers may die or suffer irreversible harm while waiting for EMS to arrive. Fortunately for all, there is a solution. That solution is you, me, our neighbors, family, and friends. After all, when a traumatic event occurs, it is not EMS who is there right away. It is us, the average bystander.
Just look at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the 2016 Nice truck attack and the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting. When you do, you will see that it is ordinary people like you and me, rendering aid to the injured. Often, that help happens while the event is ongoing.
Casualty Care Checks
• Learn First Aid & CPR: The people who are directly involved in an incident can make the most significant and most timely impact on saving lives.
• Pocket Trauma Kits: The War on Terror has taught us that easy to carry items such as a tourniquet, pressure dressing, and chest seal saves lives. Remember: 1.) apply pressure, 2.) apply a dressing and pressure, 3.) apply a tourniquet.
• Bleeding: People can bleed to death within three minutes.
• Breathing: Individuals who are not breathing may suffer brain damage in four to six minutes.
Closing Out How to be Safe at a Concert
In closing, no one can predict when and where evil will strike. Chances are you will live a long, happy life, and will never encounter these type of tragic incidents. However, should you find yourself in such an event, it's good to know how to deal with it. In that vein, I hope you have found this article on how to be safe at a concert useful.
Never forget, you’re just one prep away.
About the Author
Brian Duff is the go to resource for concerned people who want to improve their safety, security and preparedness. He is a proud former Army Ranger, Paramedic, Firefighter, High Threat Security Specialist and International Security Director who has served and protected people around the globe for decades.
When he’s not working to help others, he can be found in the garage, tinkering away, out on the hiking trail, or meeting up with friends and occasionally trying to find the end of the Internet. Make the choice, take a look at Brian’s virtual home, Mind4Survival.com and set yourself up to overcome and survive any difficult situation.