Safety at events always needs to be a top priority for event planners. A disrupted event leads to negative publicity. Security has actually become an event trend as more planners begin to place a heavier emphasis on safety. Being an event organizer or planner, an important part of your responsibility is making sure that everyone in attendance at your event is in a safe environment. With a large number of people gathered at events, it’s really important to be alerted from a security point of view. From threats, protests, mishaps to general emergencies, there are a lot of scopes to ruin your well-planned event. Don’t let it happen, follow few tips to ensure safety at events.
1. Choose a Responsible Venue
Choosing a responsible venue is the first step towards ensuring safety at events. You must always visit potential venues to check out the security facility with your own eyes. You must ask the following questions to the venue administrator: Are there sufficient emergency exits spaced out evenly? Is the building on par with local codes, & when was the last building inspection? Are there access points for paramedics to enter the premise? How about an emergency parking spot for a fire truck & police vehicles?
It is also important to answer the following questions:
- Is your event unusual for the space or similar to those that have taken place in the past?
- How can you ensure that such routes are both accessible and visible?
- Will usual safety routes be compromised in any way by physical obstacles or lighting issues?
This may seem like a lot of questions, but you don’t ever want to compromise safety at events. Most of the event management companies in Dubai keep a note of all the nearest police station, hospital & fire department.
It is also essential to consider whether or not any large events will be concurrent with yours in the area that may impair exiting the larger city or town. Especially crowded areas can lead to additional safety concerns in terms of risk of attack and ease of large – scale evacuation.
2.Know your audience
For many events, the actual number of people attending fluctuates widely for many events. Those who plan to attend the whole time arrive late, or leave early can have a huge effect on the number of persons occupying your venue at any one time. It is essential to remember that an overcrowded venue can be as dangerous as an overt attack, making number-based planning critical. Make sure to answer the following questions to ensure safety at events:
- Would unforeseen incidents like the blocked access ramps, the shutdown of elevators, or other issues leave disabled persons vulnerable and in need of extra assistance in the case of an emergency evacuation?
- Will the people with mobility issues, including those with physical disabilities, the elderly, and children, be able to exit the venue independently?
- Will any animals be present who may put crowds at risk if left unattended?
- Will any guest be at particular risk of physical harm as a result of celebrity?
- Is there a performer who may excite your crowd?
- Is there content in any presentations (video, speaker, slideshow etc.) that is potentially divisive or likely to rile up your audience?
- If food is provided, is there a plan in place for food service to avoid people rushing the table or forming unsafe queues?
Before your event takes place, speak with all the planners to ensure that such issues are addressed and that a safe exit is guaranteed for all participants. Most of the event management companies worldwide including event planners in Dubai anticipate scheduled activities or presenters at the event that may generate particularly emotional or rowdy responses.
Dietary restrictions and food consumption is another area of concern with large events. Make sure that food offerings are clearly labeled, especially if you are aware of certain food allergies among event attendees.
3. Have a Backup Plan
You should have the mindset that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This will make you prepared and ready to act accordingly in a worst case scenario. The way we do a lot of research to select the theme of an event, similarly we must also work on a contingency plan in case of any natural disaster or bomb threat? If guests have to be evacuated, then will you be able to organize it & keep attendees calm as they exit in an orderly fashion? In order to ensure safety at events, you must develop a security plan that outlines the steps to take in an emergency. For example: If a guest is injured, then the plan should include steps like calling an ambulance, locating a room for the injured guest while awaited with medical arrival. You must also make sure that the venue staff is well equipped to respond such a situation that involves dozens of injuries.
4. Know your Exit plan
Everyone involved in the planning of your event & crowd management on the day should also be briefed on contingency plans. This will ensure that guests can be guided from enclosed spaces without becoming panicked by a lack of direction. This type of traffic direction also ensures that crowds utilize efficient and clutter-free exit routes. Make sure to have the following two key components in place to ensure safety at events:
- Clear instructions for staff on where and how to guide guests in the event of an emergency
- Backup escape routes in case preferred exits are unusable
Such exit plans can be more widely disseminated through the use of certain print and electronic sources. An Incident Command System or ICS can greatly ease this process both in terms of planning, access, integration of resources, and ensuring a chain of command.
5. Hire a Security Firm
Some event organizers in Dubai hire their own security staff to ensure safety at events. However, higher profile events require security personnel from an actual security service. Having actual personnel complete in uniform and gear also sends a more imposing message to people who may think about crashing your event or acting unruly.
Much like picking out a venue, you should also be asking multiple questions when selecting a security firm for ensuring safety at events. Questions to ask should include:
- Can they name an incident where their personnel had to act in an actual emergency?
- Do members have experience using items like a metal scanner, zip cuffs, etc.?
- Has the company ever been sued?
- What kind of certification and training do personnel go through?
- Who are some of the company’s previous clients?
While you may be providing private security for your event, it is often useful to keep in contact with emergency response services in the area. Such organizations can be immeasurable resources in terms of communicating potential safety issues, ensuring that their forces are properly staffed to deal with any potential issues, and even helping you remain in accordance with local ordinances.
6. Check Staff and Guest ID
You must arrange a mechanism to verify anyone who enters the venue; that’s another great step to ensure safety at events. There should be a list of everyone that’s attending and cross them off as they register. If you have walk – ins, then there must be a speedy process for getting them verified. If you are handing out official name tags, ask that guests have them visible at all times. Staff should also not hesitate to approach occupants that don’t have a visible tag. You must also be ready to call in security personnel if a guest refuses to show verification.
7. Search all Bags
Apart from undergoing a metal scanning, another way to ensure security at events is to let the guests prepared to have their bags searched. Just before the event, be sure to inform guests that attendees will be subject to an inspection of their belongings. Searches & scans must be done by security rather than by your own staff.
Guests must be more willing to go along with the process if it is carried out by uniformed personnel. There should also be an area for tagging and storing contraband items and of course a well-defined process where guests can retrieve them once they leave.