8 Tips to Follow if You're stuck in a crush crowd
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What is the danger in a group? Do you have to push back against a crowd? After eight people were killed and many more were injured during Travis Scott's performance at the Astroworld Festival, Houston, these are some of your questions.
The event's organizers and emergency personnel handled it with care. It also raises personal and direct questions about how we can avoid unsafe crowds and how we can help others.
Mehdi Moussaid is a Berlin-based researcher who studies crowd behavior and says that "most of the time what they do is, they give advice to organizers." "But in reality, we don’t give as much advice to those who are there."
Moussaid, who works for the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, created "tips to survive" dangerous crowd situations to help the average person.
It is important to note that Moussaid studied many cases in which crowds were deadly. However, he doesn't mind being in a crowd, such as at a concert.
He says, "I actually enjoy it." Before I became a scientist in this field, I used to be afraid about crowds. However, I believe that this was due to my inability to understand the behavior and how crowds work. It's all now clear to me how it works, and I feel a lot more comfortable. "I'm no longer afraid."
Moussaid wrote the book Fouloscopie : Ce que la foule d'nous. He also wrote "Crowd Study: What crowds say about you" and compiled his tips in a widely-cited article in The Conversation. He shares his tips in an interview with NPR.
This interview has been edited.
Keep your eyes open for danger signs
If you feel the pressure and are in a crowd, it is almost too late to take action.
It is best to avoid putting yourself in such a dire situation. It's dangerous, but most people don’t know this. It's not a culture that is aware of the dangers in the crowd. It is dangerous.
It is important to remember that you could be in danger if there is too much crowd around you.
Click to enlarge the image. Caption Thomas Shea/AFP via Getty Images Thomas Shea/AFP via Getty Images
As soon as you feel the crowd is getting too dense, leave.
You can just let go if you feel uncomfortable. People don't think about it. They say, "Oh, I don’t feel well, but the concert sounds nice, so I’m going to keep pushing and continue towards the concert."
You shouldn't. It's dangerous if you feel guilty. Keep your safety in mind and move on.
Keep your back straight and keep your backpack off the ground.
It is vital to keep your feet on the ground. If you fall, it will be very difficult to get up again because there are so many of them.
It's also a benefit for others. If you fall, your neighbors will most likely fall on you, and this will cause a chain reaction, a snowball effect. This is not a place you want to be. This is dangerous.
Obstacles can be very dangerous. Even though it could be a person in the worst case scenario, even a backpack lying on the ground can be an obstruction that increases the chance of someone falling on it.
In crowds, oxygen deprivation is the biggest killer. Keep your chest open!
I am often asked by people why we all die in crowds. What is the cause of death? The cause of death is insufficient oxygen.
Your lungs are so crowded that they don't have the space necessary to perform their task and keep you breathing. This is one thing people need to know: breathing is the problem.
You'll be fine if you allow enough space for your body to breathe. Hold your arms straight up in front of you. This position will allow you to push for a half-a-centimeter or one centimeter. It is enough space to breathe.
It won't be easy. It's going to feel really bad but you'll still make it through.
Push back. Move with the crowd
Everything is about chain reactions in a crowd. Pushing your neighbor will cause them to push their neighbors. Eventually, it will hit an obstacle. The pushing becomes amplified and it will come back to your.
If you feel a push, don't push back. Do not try to increase the wave. Let the flow take you where it takes you. You won't like it and it won't be easy, but that's how you should behave in this situation. Do not add pressure to the system.
You may experience multiple pushing waves simultaneously in the worst situations. Crowd turbulence is what we refer to as. Because the pressures are coming from opposite directions, you don't want your place to cross them, and that can be dangerous.
We see death when we look at crowd turbulence.
Avoid walls and solid objects
If we look at the places where injuries and deaths occur in tragedy, the majority of them are along solid obstacles.
This makes sense because you can just follow the flow of pushing waves and you will be fine. However, if you are next to a wall, it is impossible to just keep moving because the wall is blocking your path. The wave will crush you against the wall. This is where you don’t want to be, so avoid obstacles.
Learn to detect crowd density
The critical variable is density, which is the first thing that we measure. It is expressed as the number people per square meter. There are thresholds for it:
It's fine for less than five people per square meter (about 10.7 square feet). It's not ideal, but it is fine.
It becomes dangerous if there are more than six people per square meter.
Eight people per square meter. Most of the time, there are injuries.
Although it is very useful to feel that density, it is not intuitive. Tip: Feel like people touch you on your shoulders or multiple places on your body simultaneously. This is the density. You can still move if you have the time. This is an alarm signal.
Be aware of others in an unsafe crowd.
Altruistic and helping behaviors can be contagious among people. This is true for selfish or individualistic behavior.
Helping your neighbor will result in them helping you or their neighbors. This creates a positive and supportive atmosphere. This will make the world less difficult. You should definitely adopt a helping behavior.