How to stay safe in the middle of a crowded event

It is a sign of the times that we can no longer feel safe when attending crowded events. The recent mass shooting in New Zealand aside, we are bombarded on a daily basis with news of people getting shot, stabbed, trampled, or in one way, shape or form hurt when in some type of congregation. What is meant to be a carefree and joyous event is now tainted with more people worrying about their safety while attending functions or even just being out and about.

There are steps that you can follow to maintain your safety when attending a crowded event. An interview with law enforcement officer and author James DeMeo posted on Apartment Prepper offers some great advice:

While attending church

In light of the recent church shootings, many people feel vulnerable when attending any type of service. People who do frequent churches may be making themselves into potential targets due to the preconceived belief that places of worship are “soft” areas. That is, these are places that are not usually protected by armed guards or law enforcement personnel, and typically do not have other screening measures such as metal detectors and hand wands.

  • Volunteer in your church’s safety team. Most places of worship have a committed group meant to help their disabled attendees, or to provide life-saving medical interventions. While the goal of this team is usually to offer CPR if necessary, you can take a more active role by sharing important security information.
  • Know the exact location of your church’s AED-automated external defibrillator. In line with the previous point, you should know where life-saving devices are located in any area you are in. It is also recommended to take a medical training course. Your training can possibly save a fellow parishioner’s life.
  • Look for any sign of a disgruntled church goer. Always be on the lookout and note anyone or anything that appears abnormal. If you see a person who is acting out of the ordinary, do not immediately accost him. He may just be having a bad day. That said, let your church leaders know so that they can keep an eye on him.

While attending other events such as a concert

There are many security challenges involved in crowded events such as concerts. Many of these occur in stadiums or arenas that have a lot of hidden spaces for potential attackers. The most important recommendation for dealing with a potential threat is: “see something, say something, and run and hide.” If you notice anything unusual happening in a concert, it is in your best interest to inform the nearest security officer about your concerns. You do not have to run and hide right away, but should someone start shooting, prioritize your safety and look for a safe location. Do not attempt to engage the attacker, as you may injure not only yourself but those around you as well. (Related: Playing dead as a survival tactic: A look at 3 different scenarios.)

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Zach Hudson, an active threat expert and CEO of Grantham Systems, stresses the importance of remaining calm and mindful if ever something bad happens. “[The] first thing you need to do is think. If you’re panicked, you can’t think. You can’t mentally navigate what your immediate response should be.”

Hudson recommends using a technique used by military and police officers: taking three very deep breaths while counting to four as you inhale, holding the breath for four seconds, and then counting to four during the exhale. This simple breathing technique has been proven to immediately reduce your heart rate and give you the necessary seconds you need to react appropriately.

For more articles about personal safety during an active threat situation, head over to

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