The West Virginia University Fire Service Extension reminds those attending house parties, concerts or other large gatherings that being aware is the best way to return home safely should an emergency occur.
According to Mark Lambert, program leader of the WVU Fire Service Extension, the most important thing to take to a party isn’t a potluck dish, beverage or present. It’s mindfulness.
“Getting in to a safety-first mindset isn’t hard — on the way in, take note of where multiple exits are,” he said. “People tend to move with the group in an emergency, and those brief mental notes can be a lifesaver in a situation such as an escalating fire.”
Being constantly aware of your surroundings is key when reacting to an emergency situation, Lambert added.
When entering a large gathering or party, be wary of obvious overcrowding, blocked or locked exits and situations that can lead to structural collapse, such as balconies or small porches with an excessive amount of people on them.
Disaster can strike at any time and not just in a fire-related emergency. When mass hysteria occurs, which is the imaginary fear of danger that can spread rapidly through large crowds, such as those at concerts, it can induce widespread panic and chaos.