The term stampede has been inaccurately associated with that tragedy. A more insightful description came from pedestrian planner John J. Fruin, Ph.D. who referred to the December 3 incident as a craze , "where no apparent danger is perceived (by members of a group) but (where) the group is given direction...by an induced sense of urgency." Regardless of how the tragedy is labeled, the senseless deaths and injuries are a painful lesson in the necessity for thoroughly planned and implemented safety procedures for events that attract large crowds.
As a result of the tragedy, City Council quickly passed emergency crowd safety ordinances and the City administration established rock concert guidelines. At the same time, City Manager Sylvester Murray was asked by Mayor J. Kenneth Blackwell on behalf of City Council to establish a task force, "to make recommendations to the City relating to public safety and crowd control at large public and private gatherings."
The charge required the Task Force to focus on the problem of managing crowds attending all types of events rather than just rock concerts. Many of the examples used in this report refer to rock concerts. However, the crowd management principles and techniques mentioned in regard to rock concerts are in practically all cases relevant to other events.
During the six months of meetings held by the Task Force on Crowd Control and Safety, as it was named, its members interviewed over sixty people including local facility operators, law enforcement officials, rock concert fans, promoters and those directly and indirectly involved with the events of December 3. To gain a broader perspective on the management of major events and crowd dynamics, Task Force representatives visited seven multi-purpose facilities, solicited help from crowd and pedestrian planning experts, and traveled to locations in the east, west and midwest to confer with facility operators, promoters, performers, law enforcement officials and security personnel.
While the exact incident that occurred on December 3 may not happen again, the continued potential for similar crowd problems remains. Since the tragedy in Cincinnati, other serious problems resulting in injury and death have occurred elsewhere at a variety of events - sporting, entertainment, religious, etc. The contrast in occasions, crowds, and sites emphatically underscores the point that, regardless of the attraction, when large assemblages of people gather effective crowd management is essential for minimizing or preventing crowd disorders.
Some risk to public safety is inherent in any activity in any place. No one can anticipate all of the elements in an event that might lead to danger, but cooperative efforts among and between facility or site owners, event promoters, agents, entertainers, tickets sellers, security, police, government, health and safety personnel, etc. can be made to identify and reduce that risk. The Task Force report recommends steps that should be taken in Cincinnati to help assure citizen's safety in places of assembly.
These recommendations, many of them new, others of which have been advocated previously by citizens and government officials, and still others which are proven crowd management techniques, represent the consensus of the members of the Task Force. The recommendations, along with the findings from which they are drawn, are presented and explained in the body of this report. Furthermore, the Task Force believes that periodic review of the implemented crowd management standards be conducted by an ad hoc committee appointed by City Council. At that time proposals for modification of existing standards or advocation of new techniques could be presented.
The Task Force expects that many of the issues that it addresses will hold national interest as well. Crowd management planning and standards, seating, police policies, emergency medical services, pedestrian processing and architectural design standards are among the subjects that the Task Force considers in this report. The recommendations, of which there are over one hundred, are directed to all parties who are responsible for and participate in events.
Neither this report nor its recommendations can change the events of December 3. They might, however, help to prevent us from reliving them.
The following is a chapter by chapter compilation of the recommendations of the Task Force.
Chapter I - Crowd Management|
Effective crowd management requires a thorough understanding of crowd behavior and a coordinated
effort to plan safe environments to accommodate all kinds of audiences at all kinds of events. Facility
management, event promoters and participants, government and law enforcement personnel must work
together to assure the safe, successful management of people. The Task Force recommends the following:
Chapter II - Seating|
The arrangement of seating at an event determines safe movement and orderly placement of patrons at an event. Festival, reserved, and general admission seating have appropriate and safe uses. The Task Force recommends the following:
Chapter III - City Policy on Police Services|
Use of City police officers at public events is an important element in assuring public safety. The condition and costs of police protection are important policy issues that City Council must decide. The Task Force recommends the following:
Chapter IV - Architectural Planning and Design|
The architectural design of a facility, its exit and entrance doorways, turnstiles and other elements associated with pedestrian circulation greatly affect crowd safety. Their relationship to each other and their capacity determines the number of people that can be accommodated and the rate at which they can be processed through an entrance or exit. The Task Force learned that some standards for design are outdated while others are non-existent where high density crowd ingress is concerned. The Task Force recommends the following:
Chapter V - Emergency Medical and Ambulance Services|
Emergency medical and ambulance services should be available at all majors events so that timely, effective treatment is available to those who need it. To assure such service, the Task Force recommends the following:
Chapter VI - Successful Crowd Management Techniques|
The Task Force studied crowd management techniques used by facilities in other cities and found many that could be used locally to assure successful planning and management of events. The recommended techniques are listed in this Chapter. A selection of these techniques are highlighted here to illustrate some of the steps that should be incorporated in local crowd management. The Task Force recommends the following:
Chapter VII - National Crowd Management Standards|
Cincinnati's crowd management problems are similar in many ways to those of other cities. Technology, training policies, and techniques used in crowd management and facility operations should be studied and shared. The Task Force recommends the following:
Chapter VIII - Existing and Proposed Law and Guidelines|
In the aftermath of the December 3 tragedy City Council, the Safety Department, and the Ohio legislature adopted or proposed requirements for crowd management. The Task Force recommends the following:
Ordinance No. 582-1979
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