Across America, many stadiums and arenas are taking steps to enhance security for their attendees. While many of those guidelines may prove inconvenient—many women, for example, struggle with the inability to bring their purses into these venues—they also help protect everyone attending the event. At the same time, you should take steps to keep yourself safe whenever you attend these events. If you were recently hurt due to the acts of someone else, a personal injury accident attorney can help.
1. Check the stadium security guidelines before you attend.
The NFL has instituted a clear bag policy across all its stadiums that requires guests to use clear bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches if they carry items into the stadium with them. Not only does this limit the items you can bring along with you, it makes it easier for security guards and staff throughout the venue to check to ensure that you do not have prohibited items in your bag. Before you attend an event, check the specific security guidelines for the arena, stadium, or venue you plan to visit. Clean out your pockets and your bags and check for all forbidden items to make it easier for you to move through the security checkpoint without interruption.
2. Wash your hands regularly (and don’t touch your face).
Keeping your hands clean remains a concern even during normal circumstances, not just during a global pandemic. At big events, including sporting events and concerts, you may find yourself surrounded by people. Many Americans choose to attend events even when ill so that they can enjoy the event in spite of that illness, and you cannot predict who around you might feel a little under the weather. Unfortunately, in these crowded venues, illness can spread like wildfire. Tuck hand sanitizer in your venue-approved bag for use throughout the event. Any time you use the bathroom or plan to eat, wash your hands with soap and water. Avoid touching your face while in the venue if at all possible. These simple steps can help keep you healthier even when others do not follow appropriate safety guidelines.
3. Avoiding attending these events if ill.
You may have spent a lot of money on your tickets to the event. Falling ill right before a much-anticipated event can prove devastating. If you feel under the weather, however, you should avoid attending these events. Not only can you share your germs with the other people around you, you may also find yourself growing dizzy, suffering vertigo, or getting nauseous in tightly packed stands or seats at a high temperature. If possible, stay home instead. You may miss out on the event, but you may also recover faster and avoid making others ill in the process.
4. Take tissues along with you, if permitted.
In busy stadiums and arenas, toilet paper can run out before the staff has a chance to replace it. Long lines for the bathroom mean that once you make it into a stall, you do not want to have to come back out again just because of an absence of toilet paper. As long as tissues do not appear on the prohibited list for your venue, go ahead and take them along in your approved clear bag or tucked in your pocket. Not only can you use them as toilet paper in a pinch, but having tissues on hand can also provide you with napkins for your venue food.
5. Set a meeting place if you get separated from friends or family members.
You arrived with your friends or family members. You would like to leave with them, too. While you may all carry cell phones, do not rely on technology alone to keep you connected if someone gets lost. Designate a meeting place that you can find easily from anywhere in the venue and make sure everyone knows where it is and what time you expect to reconnect. You may choose to meet back at your seats or choose a highly visible landmark. This simple step can help prevent friends and family members from getting lost and struggling to reconnect with you, especially after a busy event.
As you set a meeting place that will allow you to reunite with your party if you get separated during your event, you may also want to set a location for a meetup if an emergency causes evacuation of the venue. In an emergency, you do not want to remain in the venue to meet up with the rest of your party. Instead, set a clear location outside the venue where you can meet up in the event of an emergency.
6. Snap a picture of your kids before you step into the venue.
Kids, in particular, often wander off in large crowds. They may see something they desperately want to take a look at and wander away before you realize it or simply get lost in the crush. Snap a picture of your children either before you leave the house or before you enter the venue itself. If they do get lost, you have a current picture to share with security staff and a clear reminder of the clothes they have on, which can make it easier to spot them in the crowd.
7. Locate the exits when you arrive at your seat.
The safety warning in a movie theater that guides you to check for the nearest exit does not just exist to help the theater meet safety codes. In an emergency, you may need to exit quickly. Knowing the location of the nearest exit can help you move with the flow of traffic and get out of the venue quickly and safely. Knowing the location of those exits can also help you leave the venue if you start to feel ill or panicked, or if you feel uncomfortable for any reason.
8. Pay attention to what happens around you, not just the people on stage.
Excitement abounds when you attend a live event. You want to keep your eyes on the stage or the field, not on the people around you. The people in the crowd, however, can pose a high safety risk, whether via a violent crime or an attempt to part a bystander with their belongings. Periodically, take a look around the crowd. Make note of anyone acting oddly or anyone who makes you uncomfortable. If you notice something dangerous, say something to a security guard or other event staff. Simply paying attention can help you prepare for possible dangers in crowded arenas.
9. Linger behind at the end of the event.
At the end of most big events, a crush of people heads straight for the nearest exit. Hundreds or even thousands of people may flood out of the event at the same time. Instead of finding yourself caught up in the crush, especially if you attended the event with small children or vulnerable individuals, linger for a little while. Let the crowd disperse somewhat before heading to your car. Unless you make it to your car before anyone else—highly unlikely in most venues—you will still have to wait a while in traffic before you can exit. Instead, allow yourself to linger at the venue for a few minutes. Once the crowd clears out, you can enjoy an easier walk to your vehicle.
10. Try not to go anywhere alone.
While you do not want to get caught in the crush of people heading for the exits immediately after the event, you do not want to linger so long that you must walk to your vehicle entirely alone. Criminals may lie in wait for stragglers, especially stragglers who do not have other members in their group. When possible, attend events with a friend or a group of friends. You may find immense security in having others around you. If you do attend an event alone, try to move with moderate groups of people. Children, in particular, should exercise care to remain in sight of other groups, ideally in areas where someone can hear you if needed.
11. Ask for an escort if you feel you need one.
You lingered too long at the end of the event, and now you will need to walk to your car entirely alone. Perhaps you noticed someone watching you throughout the event, and now that person is following you as you move toward your vehicle. You may even have had an altercation with another event attendee that makes you feel uncomfortable, especially if that person seems to follow you around. If you feel uncomfortable, ask a security guard for an escort to your vehicle. Most security guards will provide you with that escort if needed, especially if they can leave their current post. You may need to linger a little longer so a security guard can get free to go with you, but that simple layer of protection can help deter would-be attackers or troublemakers.
12. Know the layout of your venue.
If you can, look up the layout of the venue online before you attend. Familiarize yourself with its size, shape, and general floor plan. If you cannot look up the layout of the venue online, you may still get a vague idea of the appearance of the venue from pictures and other materials. Look over the venue when you arrive and get a feel for it. Know how traffic flows through it and what areas have a high likelihood of congestion. This foreknowledge can help make it easier if you need to escape the venue or get out of a crowd quickly.
13. Stay on the fringes of mosh pits and crowds when possible.
Excited event-goers can rush forward, crushing smaller or more vulnerable guests as they move. If you travel into the middle of a crowd, you may end up crushed or overwhelmed. Keep in mind that you may actually have a better view if you hang back a little bit. Shorter individuals, for example, can often get a better view of a raised stage by stepping back out of a crowd, rather than pushing forward into the middle of it. If you do get shoved against a railing and overwhelmed, look for event security and let them know you need help getting out. Not only will security usually step up to the task, even lifting you out of a mosh pit at a concert if necessary, many event-goers will help you once they realize you got yourself into a tight spot.
14. Always watch your food and drink.
If you purchase food and drink while at a venue, from a sporting event to a concert, always keep it with you and pay attention. Many events, especially sporting events, provide drinks without lids. This can help prevent littering across the event, but it also makes it easier for someone to slip something into your drink, especially if you look away or leave it unattended for a long period of time. Special testing cards can help you check for the presence of drugs in your drink if you have reason to worry, but you have to prepare ahead of time, purchase those cards, and remember to take them in with you.
If you have any doubts about your food or drink, especially if you notice someone lingering nearby, paying too much attention to your drink, or seeming to try to put something in your drink, throw your drink away and purchase another if necessary. Also, avoid taking drinks from a stranger: if someone does offer to buy you a drink, accept it directly from the venue staff, not from that individual.
Attending an event in a large venue can prove incredibly exciting, but it can also raise several common dangers, from the risk of germ infection to the risk of attack. Many of our clients attend these events on a regular basis and want to stay safe. With these basic safety tips, you can have a safer, more enjoyable time at your event. If you were recently injured, don’t wait. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney for more information.
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