Shoppers Beware of Unruly Crowds

By Matt Fitzpatrick
|  Thursday, Nov 25, 2010  |  Updated 8:00 PM EDT
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Prince George's Development to Pay Off on Black Friday?

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NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 28: A crowd of shoppers hunt for bargains at Macy's on November 28, 2008 in New York City. The day after Thanksgiving, often referred to as "Black Friday", is being looked at this year as an indicator of the health this years holiday shopping season and the possible demise of retailers that are on the brink. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

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Planning to do some holiday shopping this week?

AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning shoppers to be cautious of out-of-control crowds.

"We were all shocked when we heard the news about a department store worker who was trampled to death and a pregnant woman who was injured during a Black Friday sale in 2008 by out-of-control shoppers," said John B. Townsend II, of AAA Mid-Atlantic. "It’s a reminder that we need to keep our cool and civility on Black Friday."

AAA recommends shoppers avoid lines at stores that are not set up for crowd control with barricades or rope lines. Move away from a large crowd f there does not appear to be any police officers, security guards, or trained security personnel, AAA said.

In the event that you find yourself in the middle of an unruly crowd, AAA has some safety recommendations:

  • Don’t panic, push, or fight.
  • Move in the direction of the crowd and work your way sideways to open space.
  • If the crowd is surging don’t stand still or sit.
  • If you fall to the ground crawl in the direction of the flow.
  • If you are on the ground and cannot get up curl into a ball with your back upwards and use your arms to protect your head.

AAA Mid-Atlantic additionally has some tips for shoppers when driving in parking lots:

  • Try to keep calm.
  • Avoid primary parking lots that might have more traffic
  • Be sure to use headlights in parking garages, even during the daytime.
  • Be sure to look for children which may be harder to see in lots.
  • Be sure to strap in.

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