Some Tips for a Safe Spring Break
Spring Break is usually a time for fun, but we always have to be careful. The Muskingum University Police Department is urging students and other members of the university community to take a few minutes and think about the importance of personal safety. Please take a moment to read the suggestions below, as they could save your life.
As you travel
Make sure you are either in possession of or track your baggage and personal belongings at all times.
Make sure someone at home has a copy of your travel itinerary.
Before you go out
If you are attending a ticketed event, like a concert, movie, dance or game, make sure someone at home has basic details such as where you are seated, whom you are with and what time you plan to return. If any incident does occur, they will know how to locate you to be sure you are ok.
Do not plan on going to a crowded event alone. You should always have at least one other person looking out for you. A helping hand if you fall or become injured can mean the difference between life and death.
Staying in the middle of an active crowd, or at the stage, can get very hot and uncomfortable, so drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to stay hydrated. This can prevent overheating and passing out if things get really unbearable.
Dress for fun and safety
Wearing something bright makes you recognizable so friends can locate you easier.
Always keep your ID, any special medical information, and a cell phone with you.
Leave behind dangerous accessories like spikes and chains, as well as long jewelry and purses that can become tangled and cause injuries.
Wear comfortable footwear, and make sure the laces are tied so you will not trip and fall. If you lose your shoes or other belongings in an emergency, do not stop to get them. Getting knocked down or trying to move against a crowd is the last thing you want to happen.
When you get inside an event, keep track of where the exits are located. In an emergency, the closest exit might not always be the best one to use. Be aware of your surroundings - the location of first aid stations, the presence of staff, crowd behavior, and what the weather conditions are like.
Know what you are standing on. Wet, muddy and uneven surfaces can be slippery or dangerous in a moving crowd. Broken bottles, cans, and other trash can also be very hazardous.
The momentum of a moving crowd can change - walking down stairs, escalators, and hills – can cause you to trip, fall and be injured.
Do not stand near or climb on temporary structures. These could collapse and fall.
If you can help it, do not be the first in line waiting for the doors to open. This spot can be dangerous if there is a delay and an anxious crowd starts to push forward.
Huge moving crowds
A surge generates an incredible amount of energy. Some people have compared it to a locomotive or ship: once it gets going, it is almost impossible to stop. If you find yourself in the middle of a moving crowd, do not stand still or sit down because you can easily be injured. Keep your legs moving in the direction of the crowd, and try getting to the outside where the flow is weaker.
The last thing you want to do is fall. If you do, get up quickly. If you cannot get up, get someone to pull you back up. This is when having a friend nearby can be a lifesaver.
If you cannot get up, keep moving by crawling in the direction of the crowd. If that is not possible, your last resort is to ball up and cover your head.
The worst place in a surge is at the very front of the crowd against an immovable object, like a fence or stage barricade. It may be tempting to make your way up close to where the action is on stage; but it is smart to stay away. Crowd pressure here can build up quickly and be deadly. People in back will have no idea what is happening up front.
At Sporting Events
Some of the worst crowd disasters happen at sporting events where overselling, poor management, frenzied fans, and festival seating all create problems.
Experts say when you go to a game, watch from a seat - not the aisles or walkways where foot traffic flows. Keep away from fences, boards, or barricades where there is no escape if fans behind try to rush the field or court.
Be aware of what is going on around you, such as: crowd behavior, what the score is, and how much time is remaining. It might be smart to leave a few minutes early to avoid the reaction of frenzied fans.
Have a great Spring Break and return safe!
Muskingum University Police Department acknowledges Dr. Robert F. Drapeau, Ph.D, Director of Public Safety, University of Rhode Island for the use of this article.