- Over 60 people were killed and many more injured in Amritsar, when a train mowed down a crowd of Dussehra revellers.
NDMA had released an elaborate document for integrated crowd management. As per this document, the integrated crowd management is based on several pillars such as capacity planning, risk assessment, improved preparedness planning, incidence response, capacity building etc.
The planning and management is subjective based on several parameters such as –
- Type of event (such as religious, schools/ university, sports event, music event, political event, product promotion etc.)
- Expected Crowd (age, gender, economic strata etc. such as farmers, shopkeepers)
- Crowd Motives (such as social, academic, religious, entertainment, economic etc.)
- Venue (location, topography of area, temporal or permanent, open or closed, public or private)
- Role of other stake holders (such as NGOs, neighbours of event venue, local administrators etc)
Some salient points from the NDMA guidelines are as follows:
- Crowd Queues :
- Initial focus should be on traffic regulations around the mass gathering venues.
- There should be a route map for venues along with emergency exits route maps.
- Also, there should be Barricade facility to control the movement of crowd queues.
- In case of large crowd gathering, there should be snake line approach, along with constant monitoring of crowds for developing hazard points.
- VIPs : There should be specific plans to handle VIPs and if VIPs add the security concerns then authorities should refuse entry to VIPs.
- Communications : There should be CCTV surveillance, along with another public address system, such as loudspeakers should be installed at all crowded points, in order to communicate with the crowds.
- Medical facilities : Ambulance and health care professionals should be available on venues. NDMA has recommended the medical first-aid rooms and emergency operations in order to handle post-disaster emergencies.
- Basic facilities : The venue organisers should ensure authorised use of electricity, fire safety extinguishers and other arrangements as per the safety guidelines.
- Event organizers : Event organizers and venue managers should prepare and review the disaster management plan by coordinating with local administration and police. This will ensure that all the necessary facilities such as transport, medical and emergency facilities are as per safety standards.
- Civil society : Police authorities should access the preparedness. Also, Event/venue managers should involve NGOs and civil society in traffic control, medical assistance and mobilization of local resources in case of disaster.
- Capacity building :
- In order to be proactive, there is need to focus on the capacity building.
- Also, the training manual should be periodically in order to usher in new crowd management technique.
- Apart from that if there is issue of insufficient Security personnel, students, NGOs and civil society should be roped in. Also, the media should be trained to manage communications during crowd disasters.