(SPOT.ph) A Halloween crush in South Korea's hip Itaewon district has left some 150 people killed, highlighting the hazards of crowds that can spiral out of control. In case you are trapped in one what do you do?
Spot News + Explainer culled information from Zero Risk, an Asia-Pacific security consultancy and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for this guide on how to survive large gatherings in case the crowd goes out of control. As always, it starts with the preparation.
What is a crowd crush?
A crowd crush happens when people are trapped in a confined space. It gets dangerous when they are pressed so close to each other that breathing gets difficult. In the case of the Itaewon crush, analysts said there were twice as many people per square meter that the maximum allowed for a gathering to be safe.
How is a crowd crush different from a stampede?
In a stampede people have space to run, compared to a crush. At the onset the Itaewon incident was referred to as a stampede until it became clear that people were choked to death at a narrow street, making it a crush.
How to avoid getting caught in a crowd crush
Prepare an escape plan even before going to large crowd events such as concerts, sports matches, parades and festivals. Identify the exits and position yourself as close to them as possible. It helps to make sure of the doors open inwards or outwards from you.
Know the warning signs of a crowd crush. When people start moving too slow and you get too close to each other, it could be a sign to leave. Check the flow of the crowd if there's room for you to make a u-turn.
If you are with a group, hold on to each other and maintain visual contact.
What to do if you are caught in a crowd crush
Assume a boxer's stance with your arms in front of your face to allow breathing space. Stand firm on your feet.
If your things fall to the ground, don't pick them up as there's a danger that you might find it difficult to get back up.
If you fall to the ground, protect yourself by curling into a ball.
Move with the crowd. Don't go against it.