Saving yourself in a crush of people

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Tez3, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Recent events had me thinking about this and I remember reading something a while back about helping yourself if caught in a crush of people so was wondering what people here thought.
    This is NOT political btw.
    A couple of days before the now infamous Capitol 'riot' where some were saying they were crushed by the crowd, it was the anniversary of the deaths of over 60 people including children on stairs as they left a football match in Glasgow. It made me wonder what we could do if caught in such a situation.

    Ignoring the obvious advice of avoiding crowds, demos and events in arenas/stadiums etc. sometimes you can find yourself in a crowd and unable to get out. I've walked past an Underground station in London as people were streaming out at rush hour which was a bit hairy. Not that long ago we had a fire and a terrorist attack on the Underground with people rushing out in fear. We've always had large crowds swarming the streets with sports events, quite often there's violence. Demonstrations however well policed can overflow into non demonstrators.

    Being caught in a crowd is like being caught in a riptide while swimming so people any advice? No comments about politics please but ways to help avoid being crushed or worse and not starting fights unless totally unavoidable!
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Just thinking it through, I would say that staying on your feet is priority number one. Seems like the folks that are killed either fall and are trampled or are crushed up against a wall or door.
     
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  3. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    it depends, if your in a crush try and get out before it really gets crushy and your stuck

    as a general rule if there a mass panic from a threat like a fire or the aftermath of a bomb etc, your in more danger from the stampied than you are from the threat, , so try and get out of the way, go the other way or just stand still and consider your options

    10 seconds planning the safest way out probebly wont kill you, the crowds very well might
     
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  4. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Situational awareness would be the first thing-recognize that you're in an area with potential stampeding/rioting. ie: It's black Friday and you're at the front of a Walmart, there's an anti-war, pro-war, B(lue or lack)LM protest, etc., and make a decision to either leave the situation, or if you're unwilling stay near an exit in case stampeding does happen.
    If you're caught in the middle, having not realized what was going to happen, the biggest thing would be like Steve said, stay on your feet as best as you can. And see where the closest way out of the stampede is, without having to actively fight against people to get there (ideally probably going on a diagonal following the flow of people to an exit from the crowd if possible). In a situation like a stampede leaving a football match-I'm not familiar with what happened there, but I would guess if possible, staying at your seat, probably standing up in case people try to rush over you, until the crowd leaves would be the best option.

    The above is mostly guesswork, I haven't looked into this too much, which honestly I probably should.
     
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  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    I agree with @Steve (shockingly) that staying on your feet is priority #1.
    I cannot speak to the repetitious herding in and out of people like in the underground station scenario you mentioned. When attending a ballgame or similar event, as a rule I will either leave early or hang around and socialize until the crowd withers. If I find myself in an unavoidable crowd I tend to work me and/or my group to the outskirts of the mass which usually means dragging until we are at the back of the group.
    Clearly this is coming from someone who is not conditioned to being in very large crowds on a regular/daily basis. I can see where there could easily be a 'numbing' effect that could delay awareness.
    I once saw a funny meme where a person had on an an auto-air flotation device and pulled the cord in the middle of a crowd. Akin to 'body condem'. :)
     
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  6. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    I would say....when it happens...treat it for what it is....a fight for position and space. Focus on maintaining your space and footing. Dont be afraid of being physical in keeping your footing and maintaining your space. When you find your avenue of escape, move with a purpose and focus and get to it.

    Numbers help. 2 people are harder to knock down than 1, 3 is harder than 2, and so on. Working together as a group helps maintain that personal space and footing.
     
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  7. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    hmm, if you talking about panic where people are try to evacuate a building or even out side in close confines, the probems tend to arise when 500 people try and use a door thats only wide enough for three at a time, your not goibg to be able to fight for you space because the two hundred peole behind you are all pushing you, then climbing on top of those in front of them

    the arena bombing had as well as the peopke killed and injured by the explosion hundreds of quite badly injured people caused by the panic of a few thousand try to leave at once in a great hurry.

    to be fair its generaly the old, the young and the weak that come of worse, but if you fighting for space and knocking people over to survive your probebly seriosly injuring others and standibg on the bodies of children to ensure your own safety, my self id be try to get them to safety if i could, not stamping them, but ,,,
     
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  8. yak sao

    yak sao Senior Master

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    The stuff I've seen on this say stay on your feet, go with the flow, maintain some personal space by keeping your elbows out, keep away from windows that you could get pushed through.

    I think I would try to get along the edges if at all possible so I'd be able to duck into a doorway or alcove if one comes along.
     
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  9. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    That could work, unless the doorway becomes a pinch point. Folks who are crushed are often crushed up against doors that aren't opening.
     
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  10. oftheherd11

    oftheherd11 Yellow Belt

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    Interesting question. Thanks @Tez3 for bringing it up for discussion.

    I wish I had a good answer. Some answers already posted have merit. Certainly keeping on one's feet would be important, as well as looking for the safest exit trying to give oneself a bit of space.

    Beyond that, I don't know. I need to think about that more.
     
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  11. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I can't remember where or when I saw some training on this exact thing. They basically used the riptide analogy and recommended going with the crowd and trying to angle your way to eventually get out of the "tide". Just like a riptide, you can't fight against it.

    I would agree with the other points as well about situational awareness and pre-planning of knowing your area and environment (and staying on your feet).
     
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  12. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

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    Ah i saw a police poster for this, i will try and fish it out but i cant recall which force or where i saw it.

    Addendum: In lieu of finding it if i recall the avise is something like, stay moving, move with/diagnolly with the crowd and if someone walls or something like grip the belt and places like that.

    Ten tips for surviving a crowd crush I will leave this in lieu of the poster
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
  13. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Looking around for some information on this, found what looks like some reasonable advice on the topic:

    Ten tips for surviving a crowd crush

    The advice seems to escalate from best case to worst case.

    1: Keep your eyes open (i.e., pay attention to what's going on around you.
    2: Leave while you can. "Don't hesitate to leave a highly congested area as soon as you feel uncomfortable."
    3: Remain upright.
    4: Save your breath.
    5: Arms at chest level. This makes sense, to enable you to frame up and create some space.
    6: Go with the flow.
    7: Move away from barriers.
    8: Understand the signs of density. This was interesting to me. It attempts to quantify what various densities feel like at more than 3 people per square meter.
    9: in case of panic... not very helpful.
    10: Help each other. A good reminder.
     
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  14. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Black Belt

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    If any of you went to a large high school, just think back to the hallways in between classes. It wasn't scary and you usually made it to your next class unscathed. It was a normal situation, repeated several times a day, every school day. Herein, I think, lies the key.

    Stay relaxed and calm, no reason to panic. Not only mentally relaxed, but physically as well. It makes it easier to "bounce" off others, rolling with the impact. Don't be intimidated by the obstacles. As in aikido, flow with the energy, don't resist or fight it. Look for seams, the path of least resistance.

    I had thought about making yourself as large and imposing as possible to induce people to get out of your way, but in a stress situation people become blind and will not see or react to you, so this is counter-productive.

    Stay aware for alternate routes that others, in their panic, may not have noticed and are simply, blindly, following the herd.

    May sound corny, but, become as one with the crowd. By seeing yourself as part of it, it becomes easier to merge with it. IMO, instead of keeping your elbows out, inviting contact, keep them in so to minimize contact and "slice" thru and keep moving. Slower when necessary, a little faster than the flow to say ahead of it, if possible. Remain flexible.
     
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  15. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    You know, surviving in a crush of people doesn't worry me too much. But as I'm thinking this through, surviving a crush of people while also trying to maintain contact with and help someone else survive... that is a conundrum. I mean, what if you were with a child, who is a good foot shorter than everyone else?
     
  16. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I'm going to say stay on your feet then crap on yourself. That should make people less willing to be pressed against you. Bring a taser.

    But seriously stay on your feet. Mobility is everything. Even if you are pinned against something, You can use your feet to determine how you are pinned. This can help you to prevent being pinned in such a way that kills you.

    When I saw the officer pinned at the capitol, he was pinned in a bad way, where he couldn't prevent his chest from being crush.

    Situational awareness is good as well. Learn how to read the crowd . Move with the crowd when necessary. Move against the crowd when safe to do so, before the crowd moves quickly.

    Understand the crowd does not care about you. Once the rush starts, you will no longer matter. Some people will intentionally push you down if they see it in their best interest.

    But seriously
     
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  17. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Only because I can, my child will go on my shoulders. If I can't then I would try to maintain a pocket of space that would allow the child to move around in.

    Depending on the speed that the crowd moves I may just put the child on my back and haul tail with the flow of the crowd if the crowd is trying to escape. If the crowd is heading towards danger then I would go in the opposite direction even if I have to run through people. If it's packed then it's going to be a slower process. Having a child changes a lot of things I would do. Alot things that would be good for me won't be good for the child.
     
  18. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I think your best bet may be to build a wall of bodies around you.
     
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  19. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I don't think I've ever been around so many people that I thought I would get crushed.
    A couple of good farts should clear this right on up.


    If you don't have any farts. Break in case of emergency
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sounds like guess work.

    Now for my own guess work.

    There are structures that work in rugby and mosh pits to keep people safe. Which are a lot of mechanical brace work. Which might work in a crowd crush.



    123
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
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