While planning for large events the management needs to take note of (i) type and duration of event, (ii) size of the expected crowd, gender, and age profile of attendees, and (iii) locational characteristics.
The event organizers have to accordingly plan, rehearse and undertake safety drills with the help of police, fire, health, forest, revenue, and public works departments. For example, in a religious events, depending on the estimated crowd size, duration of the mela or darshan can be extended to avoid a larger gathering.
Volunteers and others for help
Help of volunteers os often taken for organising various events. It is important to take care of the following:
- Uniform, and identity cards for volunteers for ease of recognition.
- Crowd management training; how to frisk visitors, how to operate metal detectors, how identify trouble makers, and suicide bombers.
- Ensure that they frisk bidi, cigarette, match box, lighter, and others to avoid fire incidence.
- First aid training including triage, CPR, handling and transport of injured for paramedics.
- Putting in place disaster protocol, and standard operating procedure (SOP) for all nearby by hospitals.
- Central control room equipped with CCTVs to monitor, and spot crowd buildup areas.
- Loud speakers, and public address systems for making important announcements, and keeping masses informed.
- Temporary observation towers, if required.
- Deployment of UAV / drones for monitoring crowd movement, crowd density, and risk.
- Dedicated wireless system for communication between personnel.
- Traffic congestion delays response, rescue, and relief operations.
- Coordinate with railway, transport department, and private bus operators.
- Charge high entry, and parking fee to discourage private vehicles.
- Provide shuttle bus service between venue, and the nearest railway station, and bus terminal to ensure rickshaws, and taxis do not crowd the venue.
- Ensure strict enforcement of traffic, and parking rules even for VIPs.
Entry tickets and display
- Provide seat numbers, and entry passes. General admission makes crowd control, and movement of people difficult.
- Assign parking, and seating arrangements with colour coded path ways.
- People often ignore written instructions, and keep asking volunteers. Arrangement should therefore be made for regular multi-lingual announcements, particularly related to crowd movement. This would facilitate effective communication even for the illiterates.
- Accordingly, multilingual sign-boards or display boards should be put up to disseminate information about entry, and exit routes, food, water, and rest room facilities, help desk location for lost, and found items, and children.
Pathways and hawkers
- Hawkers, and sellers should be prohibited in corridors, and pathways.
- Sale of cigarettes, and all tobacco products should be prohibited.
- Hawkers should not be allowed to use stoves, loud whistles, scary masks, fire crackers, and other such items that could be misused by miscreants to scare people.
- Hawkers should be allowed at exit points rather than at entry points.
- If the shrine is atop a hill, or in the mountains, there should be separate track for pedestrians, and ponies or horses.
- There should be adequate facilities for light, ventilation, drinking water, and toilets- along the pathways.
Entry – exit barricades
- Doors must not be suddenly opened, or suddenly closed.
- Multiple exits must be provided.
- Routes of ingress, and egress must be separate.
- Entry, and exit points must have strong but non-permanent, and manoeuvrable barricades. The barricades should not have strong metal spikes; else these might cause injuries during stampede.
- Strict adherence should be maintained to time, and punctuality as delay causes anger, and restlessness in the crowd.
Freebies, autographs and others
- There should be multiple, and well distributed points for freebies, if any.
- Volunteers should ensure that a single distribution point is not overcrowded.
- The freebies should never be allowed to be thrown randomly at the crowd, like SRK did at Vadodara railway station during the promotion of his film Raees.
- Celebrity should not be allowed to mingle with the crowd as it might (i) compromise personal security, and (ii) trigger rush of people for his glimpse or autograph.
- Number of persons should be strictly limited in accordance with the bearing capacity of podium, lift or temporary stairs.
Electric and fire hazard
- Kitchen, and cooking facilities should be away from the main event.
- Proper care should be taken in handling LPG stoves, firewood, and electric fitting.
- Circuit breakers, fuse boxes, switchboards, fuel tanks must be kept in isolated location with security guard.
- Electrical wires should be underground, or overhead, and always away from the pathways to minimise tripping hazards.
- Appropriate fire extinguishing equipment should be kept ready with trained personnel.
- Dustbins should be provided, and there should be no littering, particularly of food items that could attract dogs, monkeys, and elephants.
Use of S&T and ICT
- Use of Aadhar linked barcoded passes, together with authentication at both entry, and exit points would ensure exact details of persons actually present at the venue at the time of the disaster.
- This data can be utilised for crowd characteristics assessment, and providing specialized facilities or assistance, if required.
- Special applications could be crated for digital entry pass, and GPS enabled instructions for parking, and entry – exit points.
- With the use of RFID or App based visitor passes real time monitoring of crowd buildup can be resorted to, and accordingly necessary preventive measures can be put in place.
- Sensors can be installed to monitor heat, smoke, and noise levels at various points, and data from these could be utilised for estimating crowd buildup.
- CCTV, UAV, and drones can be utilised for crowd monitoring.
- Data collected during the event could be used later for big-data analytics with crowd simulation. This would help in effective management of future events.
- Use of SMS, social media, prerecorded voice mails to communicate, and disseminate important information.
- Use of dedicated website, social media account, toll-free IVRS number to disseminate authentic information, and to prevent rumor mongering.
- Used of RFID, and barcode together with photographs for the identification of dead bodies, and personal belongings.
- Logistics: material, medicine, blood donors, inventory management, and personnel management – all could be managed efficiently using ERP software.
DM after stampede
- Event volunteers, and paramedics to commence rapid triage, first aid, and referral of injured.
- Distribute patients to earmarked hospitals in a coordinated manner, so that relatives do not face inconvenience in locating them.
- A control room,and helpdesk to handle all the inquiries.
- Police personnel, and relief workers to ensure proper tagging, documentation, and safe custody of personal belongings of victims.
- Psycho-social supportbe arranged for the survivors, and the persons who lost their loved ones.