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Building Evacuation During Riot


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#1 smithgirl

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 08:39 AM

I have a theater (not a movie theater but live performance theater) that must be evacuated after the performance due to a riot that starts outside the building (because of the controversial nature of the performance). But I wonder where the people would be evacuated to? Would the police just herd everyone out of the building and then into the streets -- where there are ongoing riots? Are the people just left to fend for themselves out there? 

 

The theater had a full capacity seating of 3000 people. Then there were the performers and all the theater staff.

 

Thanks for anyone who knows how this would work!

 

 



#2 Pen

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 08:35 AM

I don't think anyone would even be in the theater at all. The police wouldn't let that happen. Look at what happened during the BLM riot in Baltimore. No admittance allowed. Or they would already have barricades in place a good distance away from the building.



#3 mwsinclair

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 09:08 AM

I don't know for certain, but if the riot is outside, as long as police (and perhaps also a SWAT team) believe the audience is safe inside, they'd keep them there and work to control the people outside. Think of it like a fire, with the audience being more oxygen: you try not to make the situation outside worse.

 

Of course, if the rioters outside have the capacity to set the theater aflame, then the police would aim to secure egress and get the people out of the theater ASAP.

 

Also, speaking as a longtime EMT, we and the police are trained for Mass Casualty Incidents, including calling for everything that we need -- need, not want or think might be available -- so the police would likely call out for additional resources, potentially including the military. There are all sorts of logistical issues that can bog things down, as you might imagine, which your story probably doesn't need to include in full detail. 



#4 smithgirl

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 10:09 AM

Thanks Pen and mswinclair. 

 

It does make sense that the police would want to keep people inside -- I was concerned about just tossing a bunch of people into an ongoing riot. Doesn't seem like a smart thing to do.

 

One of the performers is seriously injured during the performance, so would nee to be removed by ambulance, but I think it would easier to remove just one person.

 

Need to figure this out. Thanks again!



#5 mwsinclair

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 06:53 AM

Along the lines of "first do no harm" that doctors are expected to adhere to, EMTs and paramedics also work to ensure that a patient isn't put into a more dangerous situation. In other words, they're more likely to attempt to send paramedics into the theater than take someone out, at least initially.

 

Paramedics (who are higher medical care than EMTs) are essentially an extension of the emergency room; they have the training and legal authority to treat patients, either by virtue of standing medical orders or with consultation of a doctor via telephone. FWIW, in recent years, EMTs now typically will perform CPR on scene for a long time before transporting to a hospital, because as long as the appropriate care is there, a patient benefits more from immediate CPR than care in a hospital ER, where essentially the same actions would be carried out.



#6 smithgirl

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 11:08 AM

Thanks mwsinclair! I'm glad I posted this question. I'm really learning a lot, and it looks like I'll need to change my story somewhat. I appreciate all this helpful information.



#7 mwsinclair

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 11:14 AM

Happy to help. Bear in mind, that my comments on paramedics and EMTs are related to NJ primarily, where I'm an active volunteer EMT. Some EMTs in rural areas likely have a broader scope of medical practice, and some states might restrict paramedics a little more, but I imagine you're basically talking about an urban area (although you never said that), and those medics would probably work in a fashion at least akin to what my experience has been.



#8 smithgirl

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 11:23 AM

Yes, this would be in a big city -- I never name the city but think of it as being NYC. I don't need a ton of details, but I do want my story to be broadly plausible, and it seems like my original idea that the building would be evacuated into an ongoing riot is not plausible at all. When I was writing it, it seemed like a bad idea to evacuate people into a riot, but I didn't know what the alternative would be. Now it seems likely the people would just get locked into the theater and some issues could be addressed by importing required resources (like medical care). Very helpful!






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