There is nothing quite like the atmosphere of the Minnesota State Fair. Part of what makes this event so special is the sheer scale of the people watching. Where else can you join in festivities with over 100,000 people on the same day? Between the deep fried pickles, pronto pups and whatever else they attempt to put on a stick this year, it’s easy to become distracted and forget about your surroundings.
Safety in crowded spaces requires constant awareness of your environment. Use the following crowd safety tips to maintain your comfort and well being when the Great Minnesota Get-Together feels a little cramped.
Identify Escape Routes
It’s not fun to think about, but large gatherings of people pose a risk for stampedes and crushes. One of the most important and effective things you can do to be prepared and protect yourself is determine a quick way out of an area in case the crowd size seems to be getting out of hand. Yes, it takes some effort to always know the best way out, but a few seconds of vigilance could be life saving.
If you’re in a building, keep an eye out for bright red exit signs, which provides guidance for a quick getaway. In an event like a fire, there may be obstructions in your way that make it difficult to reach your desired exit. If you have a backup exit mapped in your mind, you are in an even better position to survive a crowd disaster.
Even in the summer, it’s possible to come down with a nasty illness. Because the Minnesota State Fair sees such high attendance numbers, it is a place where germs are concentrated. There is a near-constant exchange of money, food and beverages that occurs at the fair, and every time people make physical contact, they risk exchanging germs.
You don’t need to avoid every physical encounter during your visit, but you should take precautions to minimize your chances of becoming ill. Bring portable hand sanitizer and use it regularly, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom. Wet wipes on hand can also come in handy for unexpected spills and messes.
Protect Your Hearing
If you’ve ever experienced ringing ears after a loud event, you know the regret that comes with not taking precautions to protect your hearing. The state fair is already a loud event, but the concerts take the decibels to another level. While any noise louder than 85 decibels can damage your hearing, the average concert exceeds 100 decibels. The risk is usually higher the closer you are to the stage, so plan your ticket purchases accordingly.
If you are set on seeing your favorite band at the fair, remember to bring earplugs. They take up minimal space, so they are easily pocketable. There are even earplugs you can purchase that are specifically designed for concerts. They lower the decibels to a safe level, while preserving the quality of the music so everything doesn’t sound muffled.
Take It Slow
A common cause of stampedes is a sudden rush of people towards a specific point of interest. When everyone wants to be in the same place at the same time, the potential for injury increases significantly. The best way to stop these situations from occurring is to avoid them entirely.
As great as it feels to be at the front of a line or the first one at an event, it pays to be patient while making your way there. If you spot a new attraction that’s just opening up, consider waiting until the initial wave of visitors dies down. Anticipating crowded spaces isn’t always easy to do, but simply slowing down and observing your surroundings is the best place to start.
Always Stay Alert
Safety doesn’t start and end at the workplace. When you’re outside of work, it can be tempting to let your guard down, but you should always be aware of the risks around you. The more you practice staying vigilant of your surroundings, the more effortless it will become.
Severe weather and heat stress are additional concerns during the state fair and beyond. Learn to protect yourself from these risks with our preparation videos to keep yourself and your employees safe.