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Safety in Places of Public Assembly

Every day, millions of people wake up, go to work or school, and take part in social events. But every so often the unexpected happens: an earthquake, a fire, a chemical spill, an act of terrorism or some other disaster. Routines change drastically, and people are suddenly aware of how fragile their lives and routines can be. Each disaster can have lasting effects — people may be seriously injured or killed, and devastating and costly property damage can occur. People entering any public assembly building need to be prepared in case of an emergency.

As we close out the summer months and vacations and enter into the fall season, our outdoor habits change. We congregate at football games, basketball games, soccer games, fall festivals, fairs and community events. Wherever we are, we need to keep aware of our surroundings, avenues of movement and fire protection capabilities and services available in case of emergency. Like a home escape plan for your home, planning for an incident in public places of assembly is but one part of personal safety and responsibility that can aid and assist in an unforeseen event or incident. The fire marshal's office suggests these points when attending large crowd events:

Know two ways out of the venue. Remember, the way you entered may become inaccessible for a myriad of reasons.

Plan with all those that are attending with you a meeting point that is remote from the venue to assemble in case the group is split up. Generally the vehicle in which the group arrived is a common meeting place. However, it may be in the incident area, so plan accordingly with a secondary location.

Set a time parameter for arriving at the designated meeting place. Remember, with crowds moving all at the same time, times may be increased.

In the event you witness an incident or emergency, immediately seek out a Crowd Management person. They are required by the North Carolina Fire Code to be readily visible. They may be designated with special clothing, identification or be law enforcement.

Knowing where you are at all times, the resources available and how to safely exit a venue is your ticket to a safe event.

NFPA Public Education Division and Mike King, Forsyth County Fire Marshal's Office


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