What are the main triggers of Stampede? How these triggers make crowd management important?
Based on the past incidents of crowd disasters in India and around the world, the triggers for the crowd disasters can be categorized into 6 categories. These are Structural, Fire/Electricity, Crowd Control, Crowd Behavior, Security, and Lack of coordination between various stakeholders.
- Structural Causes
The key structural causes include collapse of a structure such as Barricades, Makeshift Bridge, the Temporary structure is a major reason behind such crowd disasters. Other structural Causes are include Barriers on the way; difficult terrain specifically in the case of famous religious sites which are on top of hills; narrow and very few entry/exits and Absence of emergency exits etc.
These include Non-availability of fire extinguisher/fire extinguishers not in working condition; unauthorized fireworks in enclosed places; inappropriate fittings such as MCB, Aluminium wires instead of copper wires etc.
- Inability to Control Crowd
These include – more than expected crowd, lack of access control, closed/locked exit, reliance on one major exit route, poor queue monitoring; lack of sectoral partitions to segregate assembled crowd and lack of proper public address system to control crowd etc.
- Crowd Behaviour
These triggers include – a wild rush to force the way towards entrance/exits; unruly and irresponsible crowd behaviour; sudden flow of people in reverse direction.
- Security Related Triggers
The main secueity related triggers include – understaffed security personnel to regulate to control the crowd, inadequate briefing of security personnel on crowd control before deployment and Lack of adequate drills before actual deployment; lack of adequate scientific planning in making police arrangement to deal with crowd and lack of adequate CCTV surveillance, Absence of public announcement systems
- Lack of Coordination between Stakeholders
These triggers include lack of coordination among various agencies, Poor infrastructure, lack of medical assistance, public transport/parking facilities, and Communication delays.
Importance of Crowd Management
Management of large crowd is very crucial, even the slightest case of poor management can lead to a stampede. Once triggered, then it is very difficult to manage the fluid mass of people and within a fraction of a second, there can be a high number of casualties.
Due to increased urbanization, population explosion the instances of mass gathering has been more frequent than ever. Therefore in order to shift from earlier approach of “crowd control” to “Crowd Management” approach, there is a need for strategic planning at all levels i.e. from the venues of the mass gathering to that of district and state level disaster management plans. Therefore NDMA has formulated an integrated and structured approach regarding crowd and disaster management.
The Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability analysis(HRVA) of the venues of mass gathering should be the basis for preparation of a strategy for all three phases of any sever incident i.e. response, recovery and mitigation phase.
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