The following training videos have been created to gain a fuller understanding of crowds and interaction with them.
Due to the limitation of this site, we have uploaded the videos on to YouTube and have posted links to these videos on this page. A description of the methods used will also be provided.
Simulated Crowd Collapse
*There is a typo in the video -“provents” instead of “prevents”. Although this was fixed in the editing the software seems to have changed it back. We will fix this at some point.
One of the hardest things for a member of a front of stage safety team understand is a crowd collapse. If you have not experienced it; then it just looks like a group of people that have fallen over. It is understandable that they do not appreciate the dangers involved and lack of control those on the ground have.
We have started looking at this method to assist the safety teams experience in a controlled and safe manner what it can be like to be in a crowd collapse. What we do not attempt to simulate is crushing, trapped limbs or injuries; this has been deemed as extreme and would not assist in the learning process.
Through the use of a controlled simulation, we looked to provide the feeling of not being in control when falling down and the difficulty in getting back onto your feet. As this is a controlled simulation, we used a safe word to ensure the simulation could be stopped if a member was experiencing pain.
– Create lines of participants – we looked for over 10 in each line to provide a greater area
– Each line linked arms. This creates three factors we are looking for. 1 – density, by linking arms, they have to be close to one another. 2 – the prevention from the use of the hands. 3 – the group are linked together and as such each persons actions impact on those next to them
– The lines where spaced with just enough room for them to sit down. We understood that each person was of a different size and shape and this had to be adjusted to suit each line. What we did not want though was that there was no contact with the other lines. Slight contact without hurting one another.
– We asked the group to sit down, with there backsides where on the ground. This prevented crouching or kneeling.
– The decent on the group was to be slow so to prevent injury.
Once one on the ground, we allowed the group to adjust themselves and understand what they had gone through. There was then a discussion on what each are on the collapse went though. To allow this discussion to take place everyone was allowed to unlink arms and gain some comfort.Just like an actual collapse, we witnessed people sticking their legs out, they broke the arm chain slightly showing a lack of control and a slight amount of self preservation as they experienced this. Some landed on top of those behind them.
As a group they where then asked to regroup the chains and join arm again. There instruction was to stay joined to their group and not use their arms and hands to assist them stand up. What did we gather from this-
– As with a live situation, those at the end of the lines got to their feet first; this would reflect real life – those at the edge of the collapse would be assisted to their feet.
– Those in the middle took slightly longer and looked to those that had gained their feet to assist them up.
– Members of the group could not complete the task without breaking the chain and using their hands. This allowed us to understand that, jus like a live situation, there was members of the group that either there physical ability or the problem solving methods could not solve the situation they found themselves in.
Over all we found this method to provide a basic understanding of the experience of crowd collapse. Post event we asked those that had taken part what their thoughts were of the test. Most proved to be a positive experience and there was also those that expressed concern. The concern was not of the simulation, but that they had not understood the dangers of a crowd collapse until that point. The feeling of helplessness, being out of control, the need for self preservation and looking to others for assistance.