Seven things to consider before your next concert

SEATTLE — After a bomb detonated at a concert in Manchester, England, killing and wounding dozens, KIRO 7 asked a retired FBI agent to share what he thinks about and prepares for at large events.

He said people should think of the following before attending a concert, sporting event or large gathering:

1. Don’t push through crowds to exit at the end of the show

While many fans are eager to beat the traffic, David Gomez, a retired FBI agent, said he intentionally hangs back.

“I’m usually in no hurry to leave. Let the big crowds progress first. Let me have a clear space where I can watch,” Gomez said.

He said it’s harder to observe your surroundings when you’re shoulder to shoulder with the crowd. If someone on the outside is waiting to target a large group of people leaving a venue, the person will generally attack the first wave of people out the door.

2. Before the show starts, find your closest exit

Before the concert starts, look around for the closest exit. This may sometimes be a door toward the back of the venue, away from the doors where people first entered.

Gomez compares this to the way he sometimes chooses where to sit in a restaurant: “We pick a table that’s away from the front door and close to the exit, rear door so I know if somebody’s going to come in the front door and rob the establishment, or is going to shoot somebody in the establishment, I have an exit that’s not close to the front door.”

If someone enters through the back door, Gomez said he still has a clear line to the front door.

3. Note the security staff closest to you

Know where they are in case you need to report suspicious activity or ask for help. In case of an emergency, they will likely be issuing instructions.

4. Discuss a meeting place for your group if you get separated

Make plans ahead of time so that if you are separated from your party, everyone knows where to meet. Members of your group should know that this spot may be adjusted if a threat occurs on the inside of the venue versus the outside.

5. Observe who and what is around you (not what’s on your phone screen)

Matthew McLellan, a student on Mercer Island, told KIRO 7 he has attended concerts where many people are on their phones. He said he likes to send Snaps to share his concert experience.

But McLellan said that because of this attack, he’ll be thinking twice.

“It was shocking,” McLellan said. “Just seeing the numbers [of casualties] increase every couple of hours, just hurts me.”

6. If something happens and you can’t find an exit, shelter in place

Gomez said one girl who attended the concert in Manchester was reported to have stayed in her spot on the third level of the venue because she couldn’t find an easy way out. Police eventually entered the building to assist people in exiting.

7. Before you go, check the venue website for specific entry rules

Some venues require clear bags only; some performers specifically call for no use of cell phones. Read the information on your ticket and on the venue website carefully before you leave the house so you won’t be turned away at the door or kicked out.

KIRO 7 reached out to Key Arena, CenturyLink Field, WaMu Theater and the Showbox to see if their policies would be adjusted following this incident.

A CenturyLink Field spokesperson wrote, “CenturyLink Field places the highest priority on the safety of our guests and employees. In cooperation and consultation with the NFL, MLS, local and national law enforcement, we continually evaluate security and safety procedures to provide a safe environment."