CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

#101Wednesdays: Crowd managers - where's yours?

NFPA Xchange: When most people think of crowd managers, they probably think of large assembly venues, such as stadiums (or stadia, if you prefer), arenas, exhibition halls, theaters, and so forth. However, since the 2006 edition (following the Station Nightclub fire), NFPA 101 has required at least one trained crowd manager in ALL assembly occupancies. (The occupant load threshold was previously 1000.) I believe this requirement is largely overlooked, because when I mention it in NFPA’s Life Safety Code Essentials seminar, I usually get the deer-in-the-headlights look from the class.

4 comments:

Emily Lawrence said...

I had no idea that regulations like this existed until I read this article. I knew that regulations existed as to how many people could be in a specific room and how many fire exits there had to be, but nothing to the extent of a crowd manager. Reading this article makes me wonder why I never thought of anything like this. It also makes me concerned because I have been to many events with fifty or more people without a crowd manager, and I think it was simply because no one knew. I feel like this is something that people should be more aware of, especially since it has to do with the safety of people’s lives. The amount of reports that I have read about people getting trampled amazes me and I wondered why there was not something that existed to prevent this. And while I am sure it is not possible for one person to control and group that is out of control, most of the time people are not out of control and it is good to have someone keeping an eye on how it is going.

Annie Scheuermann said...

I knew that their were regulations on places with large gatherings of people, but I never realized that it was simply 50 or more. The article could have been a little more specific about what the crowd manager needs to do, as in if they have to be present the entire time or need to assess the exit plan. Being certified in crowd management seems like a good thing to have on a practical stand point because theater often times deals with large crowds, as may be a good resume booster too. Looking through the linked website about getting your certification in crowd management, it seems like it really is not too in depth and is just the online course. I think crowd management is important because situations do happen where everyone needs to leave quickly and having one person who can organize everyone is most efficient. However if an emergency happens, people go into panic and it can quickly become chaos with everyone in fight or flight mode, so there is only so much a crowd manager can do.

Vanessa Ramon said...

This article started by surprising me with a safety fact that I didn't know about. As the article continues to list all of the instances that require a crowd manager, I continued hearing of situations that I have been in that was in violation of the code. It is crazy to me that so many of these instances require a crowd manager and none of them actually have one. These crowd managers need special training and have responsibilities. I like how its acceptable for people already involved can also be trained as the crowd supervisor. After explaining all of the requirements for these crowd managers, the article states that if something bad happens an attorney can hold it against you. I think that this article does a great job in making its reader aware of the problem and why it needs to change. Overall, I can understand how enforcing this within your own company can be a hassle, but I also very much see the importance of a crowd managers presence.

Alex Talbot said...

Huh, I had no idea that this was something that was required of venues over 50 people, but considering fire laws and all, it makes a lot of sense. In some ways, I wish that this law was publicized and enforced more--and that fire laws in general are. While I'm no stickler for rules, I have seen, especially in my high school, huge amounts of fire code violations and crowd violations that scare me. Sure, to me having a few pieces of gear blocking or near a fire door for a few hours during a build isn't a big deal,and if you have to limit egress room by a foot if it's your only way of storage, I'm okay with it, but when it's full blocking of the main exterior fire exit, or covering exit signs, that scares me hugely--since any death as a result of this could be faulted to those managing the organization. In general, I feel like these rules need to be taught and enforced more, even if they're a pain in the ass to those managing a venue. It's all in the name of safety.

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