There is so much to think about when you are organising an event. If you’re holding it in a purpose built event venue or a hotel, then many of the security and health & safety actions on your list are most likely to already have been taken care of by the venue itself. However, if you’re setting your event up elsewhere – perhaps in a temporary structure, outside or in a private venue, then safety and security are definitely aspects you will need to dedicate time and budget to.
It’s all in the planning
Even if the risk assessment has already been done by the venue and measures put in place, you still need to complete your own, as well as ensure you get all the necessary documents and insurance certificates from any suppliers you are bringing in. Also, make sure you are confident in them and their abilities – people that ask lots of questions about your event are generally the best!
If you’re starting from scratch and creating your own event venue, be prepared that there is quite a bit to get through. Sorting out security and health & safety in a field isn’t as simple as it sounds! An event manager can certainly make it less overwhelming and bring plenty of expertise and experience, so do consider enlisting some help if you need it.
The more you know about the requirements before your event, the more in control you will feel in the planning, build-up and during the event itself. You can never eliminate every chance of something happening or changing last minute, but we can control and plan for as much as possible.
Key areas to consider
So what are the key things event organisers need to get right when it comes to safety and security? The below is just a brief summary and the points included will differ depending on the nature of your event, but the basics are relevant across the board.
Risk assessment: A thorough risk assessment is essential to pinpoint the risks to attendees, contractors and staff. It will enable you to take reasonable steps to help prevent or control any issues that might arise from those risks.
Method Statement: A step by step written process for your event, detailing a description of all works to be carried out, and the methodology for completing this.
Emergencies: Have an emergency action plan in place with evacuation routes covering various scenarios, an assembly location and a process for how you will communicate with the emergency
Safety briefings: A safety briefing at the start of your event will ensure that everyone is clear on fire exits, assembly points and what to do, or who to contact, in an emergency.
Security: You will need security on site both during build-up and while the site is unoccupied (such as overnight), most likely provided by a trusted external agency. Once the event begins, security measures include checking attendees in from an approved guest list and managing crowd control thereafter.
Access: You need to know your venue inside out. Depending on size, you may need to split it into access zones to ensure people only end up where they should. For instance, ID badges can enable access to private areas for staff but not to delegates. Various attendee tracking systems can be put to good use to keep tabs on movement around the event and reduce crowds or queuing where necessary.
Cybersecurity: Make sure the WiFi connection is protected with at least a password and not just an open connection, leaving yourself – and your attendees – vulnerable to hackers. You’ll also have a lot of data to process at an event and all websites you are using on site should be encrypted with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – shown by the green padlock at the top of your web pages.
Power: Good lighting is key to a safe event, and heating or air conditioning (depending on the time of year!) is essential for the wellbeing of your delegates. Without even mentioning the inconvenience of no WiFi or digital displays, imagine the nightmare if your event suffers a power outage. Back-ups and alternative power sources are a must. You’ll also need to ensure fire exit signs will be illuminated even if the power is out.
Weather: If your event is outside, or being held in a temporary structure, then make sure you work with recommended contractors who know what equipment to use to handle the Great British weather!
Communication: Ensure you have the right staff on hand to make your event a success and stay in touch with them throughout. Radios are usual, but there are other good apps out there for successful communication.
Once your event is over, it is a good idea to review what went well and any problems that occurred. It is here that you can discuss and decide what to change next time to keep improving things in the future. Being prepared will make sure you enjoy your event, so if you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact us.