A scary moment involving actress Julia Roberts which occurred on the red carpet of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on January 18th showed the importance of the proper set up of crowd control barricades.
As Roberts walked toward a crowd of fans to chat and shake hands, the crowd toppled over a metal crowd control barricade, nearly hitting the Oscar-nominated actress, who had to jump out of the way. Several fans also fell over, but fortunately, no one was seriously injured.
The incident showed that the barricades which lined the red carpet were obviously not interlocked with one another. With hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fans lining the red carpet, the effectiveness of the barricades intended to create a “no access” zone to keep the celebrities secure was compromised when they were simply placed next to – rather than interlocked with – each other.
With a line of interlocked barricades, crowd pressure on any single barricade, such as the one approached by Roberts, will not cause that barricade to fall forward, as the strength of the entire line, supported by each barricade’s hook and receiver, reinforces each individual barrier.
Simply placing crowd control barricades next to each other can act as a visual and psychological message of a “no access” zone, but it cannot truly secure that zone in the event of a crowd surge. Whether a site has to protect A-List Hollywood celebrities, spectators at a parade, or public officials at rallies or speeches, barricades must be set up in interlocked lines to ensure proper crowd control and prevent incidents such as the one which nearly injured Julia Roberts and her fans at the SAG Awards.