In the wake of the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday, safety experts from the company Signal 88 Security are offering a reminder that there are steps that can be taken to protect oneself and loved ones in a crowd.
For those who find themselves in crowded areas, Signal 88 Security Vice President of Franchise Standards Tim Conahan points to three keys to safety: be prepared, follow directions and stay aware.
“These are simple ways to ensure you stay as safe as possible,” says Conahan. “With so many factors out of your control, take a few seconds to do what you can.”
Signal 88 Security draws on its experience overseeing security services for events such as concerts, athletic events, NASCAR and Tough Mudder runs to provide the following personal security recommendations:
Be prepared. Before a large event, coordinate with family/friends where to meet if separated. And although it’s unthinkable, Conahan suggests mentally rehearsing how you would react if you were confronted by an act of violence, such as an explosion or active shooter. “Decide what objects you would choose for the best cover,” advises Conahan. “If there is no cover, determine your next step. Run, hide or fight!”
Follow directions. When you arrive at a crowded place, help maintain order by parking in designated spaces or as directed. Don’t ignore signs or barricades, which are often placed to control a crowd. Once part of the crowd, stay safest by following its flow rather than going against it. Conahan also recommends taking a bathroom break before getting in a long line.
Stay aware. Create a habit of scanning a room, event center, or concert hall upon arrival for the nearest emergency exit, in case a quick escape is necessary. Watch out for signs of trouble, including if those nearby suddenly turn to the same direction and the noise level increases. Additionally, if you see someone put down a bag and walk away, notify security personnel, law enforcement or the event organizer immediately.
If you find yourself in a situation such as the explosions at the Boston Marathon, leave the area immediately. Leaving will reduce your risk of further injury and allows first responders to properly assist victims.
Signal 88 Security stresses while it’s important to be responsible for one’s own safety, by following these guidelines there is no reason to live in fear. However, if you ever do feel uncomfortable or threatened, follow Conahan’s simplest advice– “Go home!”