Expert offers tips on surviving stampede: 'Crowd dynamics is nothing to fool around with'

FOX 35 News looked into crowd safety after unfounded fears of gunfire at a concert in Rochester, New York, sent a crowd rushing toward the exits in a stampede that killed one person and hurt several others.

"If I hear any loud sounds like that, I think I would be part of the crowd that would run," Elizabeth Adao, who lives in Orlando, said.

The scene is similar to one in Orlando. Just last year, people at a Fourth of July event at Lake Eola Park took off running after a loud noise sparked panic. Police didn’t find anything criminal that took place. 

"It’s just part of our reality now too where it’s so common in crowded events where that’s something that is on the back of my mind," Adao said.

RELATED: 1 dead, 9 hurt in stampede at GloRilla concert in New York

"Crowd dynamics is nothing to fool around with. Safety groups and venues pay attention to it, and us as patrons need to do the same," Dave Benson, a security expert, said.

Benson said there are two types of crowd concerns. One is a "crowd crush," which happens in a tight group of people like a mosh pit. The other is a stampede.

"A stampede is when they think they heard something – like in this case, they thought they heard gunshots, or like we saw in Lake Eola. And then everybody follows them like lemmings and just follows them, and inevitably we have a tragedy," Benson said.

Benson gave this advice for people going to a crowded event:

  • Have an exit plan and look for more than one exit.
  • Stay on your feet.
  • Keep your hands by your chest to avoid getting pulled down.

He also said venues can make announcements about evacuations and list the exits, keep the space at or below capacity to make sure there are not too many people in the space, and make sure all exits are clearly marked and open.

Most importantly, he said people need to have their own safety plan."We have to rely on ourselves. We need to be prepared. We need to be prepared if we’re a concertgoer or going to a show or even a movie theater."