Fire department perspective: crowd dynamics and safety at outside events
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Fire departments often respond to incidents at crowded events with no prior planning or coordination with other agencies. The result can be decreased safety for patrons at the events. The purpose of this thesis is to understand causes of injuries at crowded, outside venues and what could make these events safer. This thesis asks how fire department personnel can plan for the safety and care of large crowds at outside venues. The research design includes a review of literature on crowd dynamics and example incidents. Using root cause analysis, this thesis analyzes four case studies: 1989 Hillsborough soccer match, 2011 Reno Air Race, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and 2014 Travis Air Force Base Air Show. The success of the Reno Air Race and Boston Marathon rescue personnel in taking care of injured victims can be attributed to careful planning by stakeholders before the events took place. This thesis recommends that before large, crowded events, stakeholders establish relationships and that all stakeholders participate in careful planning and realistic training. This planning and training should include interoperability of communications, roles for volunteer staff, and ways to prevent and decrease overcrowding. Finally, this thesis recommends strategies to educate event patrons on safety.
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