On the Friday following Thanksgiving last year a pre-dawn mob of approximately 2,000 shoppers broke down the doors to a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, New York, and rushed past and trampled to death Jdimytai Damour, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound Wal-Mart worker who was stationed near the entrance to assist with crowd control. At least four other people were hurt. This past Wednesday, Nassau County police released recommendations for better crowd control in such circumstances, two weeks after meeting with 75 Long Island retailers about how to stage major sales events safely.
Among the report’s recommendations:
* Begin planning months before the sales event
* Make sure enough trained employees are on hand
* Ask the police for “intensive patrol,” and alert officers of large or unruly crowds
* Communicate with waiting customers with signs and announcements
* Set up barricades or rope lines that reduce the risk of a crowd surge or stampede
* Hand out wristbands or numbered tickets as customers arrive
* Allow customers to enter in small groups
*Have automated external defibrillators, and AED-trained staff, on hand In response to the Wal-Mart stampede, New York City Councilman James Gennaro announced plans to craft a Doorbuster Bill that would require retailers to enact greater security measures during major sales.