These days, event security is a hot-button issue for everyone. No matter where you turn, you are touched by security concerns at home, school, work, or on the road. Event managers are no exception to the security concerns, and due to the tragedy in Las Vegas several weeks ago, ensuring that the proper security measures are in place can ease the minds of anxious event attendees, speakers, and even reduce event insurance costs.
Here are five tips to keep in mind when planning safety protocols for any event.
1. Conduct a risk assessment.
Make sure to go over all details prior to the start of your event. Assess your event based on venue capacity, attendee demographics, and nature of your event to determine what the risks are. Once the assessment is done, ensure you have the right amount of security guards and operations staff to ensure a safe event for everyone in attendance.
2. Create an emergency response plan.
Planning for a disaster can mitigate risk, and so it’s important to sit down and create an event emergency response plan well in advance. If your event is large enough, you can hire an event security service to help you draw one up. Building out such a plan requires close work with the venue. Make sure to address procedures for mass evacuations, active shooter situations, and how to move people into safe areas or rooms. You should also work closely with your venue to map out evacuation routes and ensure that all routes are marked clearly on event day.
3. Create a visible safety and security presence.
Hiding your security force or putting them undercover may do more harm than good, mainly because attendees now rely more than ever on security to direct them in a time of emergency and distress. Situational awareness is critical; ensure that your safety and security teams can be seen. For large capacity events, make sure to always have an emergency medical crew onsite for first response and to handle the unexpected food allergy, medical condition, heart attack, or slip-and-fall head injury.
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4. Widen the event footprint.
Event security risk reduction can start with both expanding the physical parameters of your event and widening the radius of your event security, not reducing them. With the attacks on the Bataclan Theatre in Paris and the Harvest 91 Festival in Las Vegas, the environments were densely-populated, concentrated areas.
5. Communicate on every level.
In order to keep your event safe, make sure everyone working the event is clear on the procedures and what happens if the worst comes to pass. If something does happen, event managers and staff need to react swiftly and decisively, alert the appropriate authorities, and put the emergency and contingency plans into action. Event managers also need to communicate with attendees to ensure they exit the venue safety and effectively.
In conclusion, the two keys to establishing solid event security are advanced preparation and vigilance before, during, and after the event itself. The more resources and effort you put into these matters, the better prepared you are to fend off serious threats.
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