Crowds can be very dangerous for a variety of reasons. Pickpockets thrive on masses of people. It’s easier to get lost in a large crowd. Kidnappers and other predators have been known to lurk there. Of course, terrorists prefer large crowds for their dastardly deeds.
However, the crowd by itself, via its own dynamics, can be a lethal danger. The True Prepper site has an interesting, if alarming, article about two distinct Dangers Lurking in a Crowd of human bodies.
They outline two types of problems: crushes and collapses.
Larger crowds present more danger obviously. But it is the density of the people that matters most for a crush. Somewhere between four to eight people per square meter (that’s a lot, if you think about it) becomes extremely dangerous. That is because, at that density, the crowd acts like a fluid mass. It is no longer a collection of individuals but a solid wave.
As people press together they become individually immobilized. If a person exhales, they may not be able to inhale again. This is how the “crush” happens.
Places where the area narrows and forms “choke points” are especially prone to crushing. People a those points are crushed by the weight and movement of those behind.
Here’s what a crush looks like:
Video by Australian Concert And Entertainment Security Pty Ltd / YouTube.
A collapse is like a crush but it involves someone falling down. Once that happens other people begin to fall on top. People are buried under the crowd. Falls generally happen when a wave passes through the fluid gathering and projects one or more individuals to the ground.
A collapse in action:
Video by Shah Umar / YouTube.
Preventing Crowd Injuries
The best way to prevent a mass of people from forming into a liquid mass is to divide them with barriers. Crowd management is vital. People in the mass cannot see very far. They don’t know if there is a problem even a few feet away. A lookout on a platform is different. The lookout monitors the crowd. Then directions are given to eliminate problem areas.
Individually, if you are caught in one of these situations, experts say the best bet is to curl up and shield your head as best you can. Try to create enough room to breath.
Each year, all over the world, thousands of people are killed or injured in crowds. You don’t have to be a statistic. Use situational awareness and common sense to stay out of harm’s way.
Related Security Articles By Freedom Prepper:
Our feature today illustrates why you should think twice about going around large numbers of people. A crowd of people can be worse than a herd of stampeding animals. They can act like a liquid wave. Once caught in it one has no choice but to go along. And that can be very dangerous.
Follow the above tips if you find yourself in a crowd that begins to behave like a fluid mass. Other than balling up and trying to hold your place, there is very little one can do. Pushing hard from the center might disperse the crowd. However that would surely injury others. I say avoid the situation in the first place if at all possible.
Two’s company; three’s a crowd. And crowd can kill.
Perrin Lovett writes about freedom, firearms, and cigars (and everything else) at www.perrinlovett.me. He is none too fond of government meddling.