Rope lines, numbered tickets and walkie-talkies for store employees could help control frenzied bargain-hunters, police said in a report issued after a Wal-Mart worker was killed in a Black Friday stampede.
Nassau County police released recommendations Wednesday, two weeks after meeting with 75 Long Island retailers about how to stage major sales events safely.
Retailers and police had debated who should take the lead on securing discount-hungry crowds after temporary Wal-Mart worker Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death the day after Thanksgiving in Valley Stream.
The report said that while county police would respond if needed, "the responsibility for the security and control of these sales events rests with the store. Store administrators should never market a sales event without having a plan, and the proper resources to manage it."
A pre-dawn horde of about 2,000 shoppers broke down the electronic doors to the Wal-Mart and rushed past Damour, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound man stationed near the entrance to assist with crowd control. At least four other people were hurt.
The police report said stores should plan security for sales events months in advance, assign enough staffers to manage expected customer traffic and train workers before the event.
Police said in the days after the stampede that Damour, 34, had no experience with crowd control and had been hired a week earlier from a temporary agency. He died of asphyxiation after being crushed by the crowd, authorities said.
The report recommended setting up barricades or rope lines to manage crowds before the sale, handing out wristbands or numbered tickets to arriving customers, positioning store employees in the parking lot and providing them radios to share information.
Patrons should enter the stores in smaller groups, not all at once; retailers should have maps showing where to find the hottest sales items, and patrons should be kept out once the store reaches maximum occupancy, the report said.
Stores should call police if crowds become unruly and plan whom to call in a medical emergency, but they should also have defibrillators on hand and staffers trained to use them, the report said.
"We look forward to continuing to work with local enforcement to make our safety measures even stronger in the future," Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokesman Lorenzo Lopez said in a statement Thursday.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based company has said it tried to prepare for the Valley Stream crowd by adding workers, putting up barricades and consulting with police.