Four Health and Safety Tips for Mass GatheringsPosted on by
There is strength in numbers – both in public health and in public safety. The more people who take action to protect themselves, the better prepared a community is for an emergency.
Communities take different forms. At a mass gathering like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or in a public place like the airport, the community includes people you do not know, but whose actions could help prevent a catastrophe or save your life. Here are four things you can do to prepare yourself and protect others when traveling to, and attending, a mass gathering event.
“If You See Something, Say Something®”
Public health and safety are the shared responsibilities of the whole community. Everyone has to play their part to keep our neighborhoods, communities, and the nation safe.
“If You See Something, Say Something®” is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s national campaign that raises public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement. In other words, if you see something you know should not be there or observe behavior that does not seem quite right, say something.
The “If You See Something, Say Something®” campaign encourages people to follow their intuition and report suspicious activity, but leave it to law enforcement to decide whether an observed activity or behavior merits investigation. To report suspicious activity, contact local law enforcement, and describe in as much detail as possible what you saw, including:
- Who or what you saw;
- When you saw it;
- Where it occurred; and
- Why it’s suspicious.
If there is an emergency, call 9–1–1.
For more information about the “If You See Something, Say Something®” campaign and to view Public Service Announcement videos, please visit https://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something
Know before you go
Think back to the last time you planned a vacation or weekend getaway, and how much time you spent shopping for airfare and comparing hotel rates. Not surprisingly, most people invest much less effort into gathering safety information about their final destination—and all points in between—before they get there.
- Do your homework. Research the seasonal health and natural hazards. Monitor the local forecast up until the day you leave, and pack accordingly. Check for S. Department of State travel warnings and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel health notices if traveling overseas.
- Be informed. Create a Twitter List for your trip that includes local public health, emergency management, and law enforcement agencies. Add the phone number for local law enforcement to your phone.
- Share the details of your trip. Identify an emergency contact and make sure they have the itinerary for your trip, including your airplane and hotel reservations.
- Identify an emergency meeting place. Wherever you go—the airport, the hotel, the stadium, etc. — make sure everyone in your group knows where to meet in case you get separated in an emergency.
Create a travel-size emergency kit
Emergency kits come in all shapes and sizes from large 72-hour family supply kits to smaller “go kits” for use in an evacuation. CDC recommends that anyone who travels—from daily commuters to world business travelers—also prepare a travel health kit that includes:
- First-aid supplies, including a first aid reference card, bandages, antiseptic, aloe, and a thermometer
- Important papers, including hardcopies of passports, medical insurance cards, and prescriptions
- Personal needs, including prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines for diarrhea, allergies, asthma, motion sickness
- Items specific to your destination, the time of year, and your planned activities, including water purification tablets, sunscreen, and insect repellent
Wash your hands.
When many people are gathered in one place, germs that are highly contagious, like influenza and norovirus, can easily spread person-to-person and on shared surfaces like airplane tray tables, restaurant menus, and restroom door handles. As a result, you or a loved one may bring home more than a lousy t-shirt to your friends and family.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.
In addition to washing your hands and avoiding close contact with people who are sick, the single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible.
- Department of Homeland Security: “If You See Something, Say Something®”
- CDC: Infection Control Guidance for Community Evacuation Centers Following Disasters
- CDC: Mass Gathering Preparedness
- CDC: Flu Prevention at a Mass Gathering