Special Events Safety Guide

*For the PDF version of the Safety Guide click here.

Philadelphia is host to many special events such as the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade, Philadelphia Marathon, Welcome America! Independence Day festivities, Army/ Navy Game, and the Broad Street Run. Keeping visitors safe means that many City departments and agencies, state and federal governments, event organizers, and other agencies must all work together.

What should you do to stay safe?

  • Know your surroundings: look for exits when you’re in a large crowd.
  • Family and friends can get separated: take pictures at the event with your mobile phone so you have photos of how everyone is dressed.
  • Let family and friends know you are safe on Twitter and Facebook if you are separated.
  • Choose a place to meet in case you do get separated.
  • Report suspicious packages to police or security officers.
  • Dress properly – for the weather, and for the event.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • For events on the Ben Franklin Parkway, look for the Location Markers. More info on Location Markers below.

How to Stay Informed

Special Events: What to Know Before You Go

When you are going to large special events, you expect to have fun with your friends or family. You should also expect large crowds. Large crowds can be unpredictable and may affect your safety.

Here Are Some Tips When Going to Special Events:

  • How many people are expected at this event?
  • Decide what is the best way for you to get to and from the event. Public transportation is a good option as there may be limited parking. If you do drive, find out if there are any road closures before you leave.
  • Find out if there is a security check or bag check at the event.
  • Find out what types of items you can bring and what items you can’t bring for security reasons. Each event has its own security regulations, so know before you go. Check the event website for more information.
  • Will you be able to bring food or bottled water with you? If not, will you have enough money to buy these at the concession stands?
  • Will you have to take any medication during the time of the event? Make sure you bring medicine with you.
  • Consider buying a map of the location of the event, or getting one at your point of entry if they are handed out.
  • Find out in advance what the code of conduct is for the venue. The websites listed on page 8 have links to helpful websites. You can also check to see if pets are allowed.

Be Aware
Always make sure to know your surroundings. Be an observer when you arrive at the area. Be sure to look for the exits, restrooms, and the locations of medical tents or first-aid stations. If an emergency happens, head calmly to the nearest exit.

If you’re at an outdoor event on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, look for our new Location Markers. The markers are posted along the Parkway to clearly and easily identify a location or section by letter and number, such as CD-2.

If you need to report an emergency on the Parkway, give the 911 dispatcher the Location Marker letters and numbers so first responders know the exact location.

location marker

Special Events: Be Aware When You Get There

Keep Kids Safe
If you are attending an event with children, be sure to talk to them about safety before you attend the event. Always keep an eye on them, and do NOT let them wander.

Remind your kids that Police Officers are there to help. If they get separated from their parents or guardians, they should find a police officer.

Stress that it is important for them to stick close to you and your family, and stay away from strangers. Make sure you have a photo of them and remember what they are wearing before you leave home so that you’ll have a good description of them.

Consider putting your name and phone number in your childrens’ pockets. If you are staying at a hotel, put a hotel card in their pockets.

Be Alert
If you see something suspicious, say something. Tell the nearest police officer or security guard, or call 911. Know how to contact security officials if you need to.

Walk in well-lit areas if it is dark.

Be sure to secure your personal belongings. Lock your cars. Keep valuables out of sight.

Unattended Bags
Never leave your bags unattended. If you see an unattended bag, do NOT open, touch, move, or cover it. Report it to the nearest police officer, security guard, or call 911.

Be in Touch
Do you carry a cellphone or other mobile device? Remember, you may not be able to make calls if the system is overwhelmed by the large number of people trying to use their phones. Be ready to get in touch with your family and friends another way. If your network goes down or your battery dies, how will you stay in touch with family and friends at the event?

Make plans with the people you are attending with, such as a rally point in case you cannot reach each other. If you’re in Center City on the Ben Franklin Parkway, choose a Location Marker as a meeting place in case you can’t reach each other by phone.

Be Safe
When carrying a bag or purse with you, shorten the strap so that it fits snugly under your arm. Bags with zippers or pockets that are exposed in the back are an easy target for pick-pockets.

If you do need to carry a bag, be sure that you do not go through the bag or count your money in public. If you can, store valuables in your front pockets and try not to remove them in public. The front pockets of your pants or jackets are the safest place for your valuables. Items are less likely to fall out of front pockets. Also, it is more difficult for thieves to pick valuables from front pockets.

We strongly urge you to take public transportation to large special events in Philadelphia. If you do drive, make sure you know where you parked and write it down. Think about taking a photo of where you parked.

Special Events: Stay Safe and Healthy

“When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!”

Thunderstorms may include strong winds, lightning, hail, heavy rain, flash floods and flooding, downbursts, and tornadoes.

While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the U.S.

On average in the U.S., lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more each year. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of longterm, debilitating symptoms.

Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule:

  • If you count less than 30 seconds between a flash of lightning and the sound of thunder, you need to seek shelter immediately.
  • Wait until at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before leaving shelter.

Seek Shelter
No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you:

  • Go to a sturdy building or car immediately. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
  • If lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard-top vehicle and keep the windows up.

Last Resort: Reduce Your Outdoor Risks
If you are caught outdoors and no shelter is nearby:

  • Find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles. Make sure the place you pick will not easily flooding.
  • Stay away from barbed wire fences, power lines, and other objects that conduct electricity.
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees.
  • Never lie flat on the ground.
  • If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible, and minimize your contact with the ground.
  • If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!

Check the Weather.
If you’re going to be outside in the cold, layer clothing to stay warm. Be sure you have heavy socks and warm gloves or mittens.

For events in hot weather, remember to use sunblock, dress lightly, and keep drinking water. Being hydrated means that your mind stays clear in case of an emergency. Wear a hat to block the sun.

Always wear the right shoes for the weather. They should be comfortable shoes to walk and stand in, such as sturdy sneakers in the summer, or a comfortable boot in the winter.

During large outdoor events, City officials coordinate with the National Weather Service and monitor the weather continuously, especially for extreme temperatures, storms, lightning, and high winds. If an announcement is made urging you to leave the area, please do so calmly and immediately. We encourage you to sign up for weather and other emergency alerts from ReadyPhiladelphia at http://www.phila.gov/ready.

Stay Safe and Healthy

Stay Healthy
Be sure to protect yourself. Big crowds can also mean a bigger chance of getting sick.

  • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you go to the event.
  • Bring hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes if possible.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces such as door handles and railings.

Once you arrive at the event, it is important to have fun, but also remember to take care of your safety and health.

Let someone know if you feel sick. If you start to feel dizzy, overheated, or nauseous, ask for help right away. Be sure to let people know if you have medical conditions or allergies. A friend or event official can make sure you get medical attention as soon as possible.

Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages during hot summer events. They don’t help you keep hydrated. If you plan to drink alcohol at the event, make sure that you have a safe way to get home. Don’t drink and drive. Have a designated driver, take a taxi, or use SEPTA to get home.

Special Events: Be Patient

Anticipate that there will be large crowds at special events. You will probably have to wait to get into the event and may be in a hurry to get home when the event is over. With big crowds, you may have long waiting periods for security, bathrooms, food, public transportation, and traffic. Be patient with those around you and be ready to wait in lines and navigate the crowd.

Special Events in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA MARATHON Running past history. . .
The Philadelphia Marathon race weekend happens the weekend before Thanksgiving every November and is a series of events, culminating with both a full and half marathon.

During the Marathon there will be street closures, alternate bus routes, and parking limits. It will be very crowded along the route, especially at the start and finish lines. “No Parking” rules will be enforced. Any vehicles parked on the race route will be towed. Streets will be closed along the route for all or part of the day.

We strongly encourage runners and spectators to use public transportation. If you are using public transportation, or do have to drive near the marathon route, please give yourself extra time.

There will be a lot of security around the city-wide, 26.2 mile race route especially at the start and finish areas. The start area is 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The finish area is in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Runners and attendees may not bring backpacks or satchels to these areas. Only clear plastic bags will be allowed. All items will be inspected, and they may be inspected more than once. You may also bring small personal items, including factory-sealed water bottles. No coolers are allowed.

Please check http://philadelphiamarathon.com for the most current race course, road closures, bus detours, parking limits, and the most current information.

The annual Broad Street Run has been held in Philadelphia every first Sunday in May since 1980. Annually, 40,600 participants take part in the largest ten-mile road race in the United States. In comparison, the Boston Marathon attracts an annual average of 20,000 participants. New York City Marathon, the largest marathon in the world, attracts an annual average of 47,000 participants.

Runners are given clear plastic bags to use for their personal items. All items in the bags must be clearly visible. Backpacks are not permitted in the start area of the race, and are not accepted at the gear check-in point. The start area is near Fisher Street. The finish area is near the Navy Yard. Please visit http://www. broadstreetrun. com for current information on the race route, parking limits, street closures, bus detours, and other safety tips.

ARMY-NAVY GAMES, LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD Philadelphia’s Honor… Supporting the tradition. . .
Philadelphia is honored to be the primary host and home city for the Army-Navy Game. It is considered to be one of the greatest college football rivalries.

An influx of military cadets and top brass, dignitaries such as the Vice President of the United States and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, plus 50,000 visitors come to witness the intense rivalry between the Navy Midshipmen and the Army Black Knights.

There are new rules at Lincoln Financial Field. You may bring clear bags that are no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, and one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags. You may bring a small clutch bag, approximately the size of your hand.

You may NOT bring large purses, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cushions, camera bags, or any large bag.

For more information, please visit http://armynavygame.com and http://www.lincolnfinancialfield.com.

MADE IN AMERICA FESTIVAL, Jamming on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway…
Jay-Z’s inaugural Made in America festival successfully debuted in Philadelphia in 2012 with a lineup of 30 major music acts. The annual festival has hosted some of the greatest music acts including Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Nine Inch Nails, and more.

You’ll be allowed to bring in one backpack or bag, which is subject to being searched, along with blankets, towels, umbrellas, empty plastic bottles and one plastic water bottle per person. NO chairs, glass containers, coolers, outside food, beverages other than water, fireworks, or weapons are allowed. Pets are NOT allowed.

The Welcome America! celebration attracts an estimated 600,000 attendees to events held all over the city. Welcome America! is the nation’s foremost celebration and has the largest free Fourth of July concert. This weeklong celebration offers dozens of free events and family activities here in America’s birthplace.

Security is tight for July Fourth festivities. Alcohol, coolers, open containers, or cooking equipment, BBQing, contraband, and illegal substances including firearms and fireworks are strictly prohibited. Attendees are asked to not bring backpacks, but to bring clear bags and containers instead.

Please visit http://www.welcomeamerica.com for more information.

Be In The Know Before You Go

How to Stay Informed

Take a Look Online
Many of our local venues have information on their websites about safety and security. Take a look before going to an event since these rules can change. This way, you won’t be turned away because you’re carrying a backpack or not dressed according to the dress code.

Lincoln Financial Field

Philadelphia Marathon

Broad Street Run

Lincoln Financial Field, Army/Navy Game
www.lincolnfinancialfield.com and

Welcome America! Festival

The Wells Fargo Center has information on Accessibility:

Xfinity Live offers these FAQs: