The tragic deaths of at least 19 people after a stampede sparked by mass panic at a music festival in Duisburg, Germany, this summer serve as important reminder that poor organization and inadequate safety management can lead to disaster.

All events – from sports to festivals to ceremonies – face unique risks. As events grow in size, new risks emerge, as the emotion of the crowd can be unpredictable and extremely dangerous. According to insurer Munich RE, it takes only eight seconds for mass panic to develop, and a minor scuffle can be a significant trigger. The bottleneck created by a group of 50 people rushing to an exit can create pressure of up to one ton on the people in the front, according to scientific journal Nature.

It is crucial for organizers to properly equip venues to regulate crowd movement and to plan for and simulate an emergency evacuation. Computer simulation can assist in the planning of crowd control methods like crush barriers, additional columns in front of exits, progressively narrower gates, traffic infrastructure and parking guidance systems.

No matter the size of an event, the experience of its organizer, security staff and the local law enforcement make a difference in the safety of its attendees. While no organizer can enjoy a 100 percent guarantee, careful planning dramatically reduces risk. With innovative and thorough risk management, problems can be identified early, evaluated and appropriate measures can be taken to minimize danger.

Contact us today to discuss ways to mitigate risk both during events and on an ongoing basis.