Event Safety – How to Organize a Safe Event
If you have never put an event safety guide together for your events then I strongly recommend that you work with somebody who has done one because they can be quite comprehensive and very detailed and very specific depending on the type of event you’re planning.
In many cases, you can create one and then use it for all of your events moving forward and then update it, but they can be very comprehensive and it depends on the scale of your event, so let’s get into a few things that you need to think about before you build a safety guide.
As an event organizer, you want to think about the scale of your event, what type of event you’re planning and also the scope of your event. Who will attend your event? Is it families, children, will there be elderly people there, or maybe disabled people? Do you need to be aware of things like wheelchairs?
Where is the location of your event, is there going to be anything standing in the way of people getting to that location or to the venue?
What about weather, and what is the duration of your event – what time of day will it take place, will there be anything that could prohibit people from getting to the event – any sort of safety issues that may come up because of the location or the duration or time of your event. For example, if it is taking place in winter and you’re in a location like where I live in Toronto, Canada, then you might run into things like snowstorms or ice storms so you need to plan ahead for that kind of scenario.
Event Safety – How to Organize a Safe Event
Those are a few things we talk about in today’s video that you need to be aware of before you start your safety guide. Watch Now!
This is a very sensitive topic because it wasn’t long ago but, the incident that happened in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. In my opinion, and in all honesty, I don’t know what the situation was for the event planners because there has been very little discussion about what was planned beforehand. But, in my opinion, and I don’t know anything about it but I’m sure that they did everything possible, and unfortunately in that case, you can’t foresee something that severe and that drastic. It is devastating, it was very close to home and I know a few people who were there it’s an unfortunate circumstance but it is something that – again depending on the scope of your event, you definitely need to prepare for.
I planned events for 30,000 people so on some level, I can understand the safety needs that would have to go on at a festival like Las Vegas. You have to think ahead with safety plans, you plan for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to safety and to your events but anything small can happen, like someone cut themselves, they tripped, they broke an arm, they break a leg, anything like that, no matter what even if you’re planning a very small event in someone’s home, maybe you’re planning baby showers or celebrations, those things can happen still and so you still want to have a plan in place for your events, this doesn’t just happen with large events where there are going to be hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of people, so it is really important as an event planner to have this plan in place so let’s get into some of the factors that can help you determine some of the resources and the facilities that will be required, so like I said, if you have any questions as you’re watching this, please pop them into the comment box just below there, and if you’re watching the replay, feel free to pop them in anyway because we do answer your questions even after this has been broadcast, so as you’re watching and you think of something, feel free to make a comment or like I said pop in a question and we’ll get back to you and that goes for either Facebook or YouTube if you’re watching the replay.
As an Event Organizer, it is your responsibility to put a safety plan in place and there are going to be a number of different components that are going to involved as I mentioned at the beginning of these video, we are only going to give a general overview because it really depends on the size and the scope of your event also the location of your event. You have to think of those things before you start putting a safety plan in place and let’s just go through a couple of things that are fairly general but almost always going to be included no matter what size of event that you’re planning.
So, this are in no particular order but they will definitely need to be included in your plan and if you’re running an event that is larger than what we are talking about and you have a few questions about it, just ask and we’ll do the best to help you out with that. So, a couple of things to consider; when you are going to do your venue walkthrough, say you are going to look at a couple of different venues, you haven’t decided on what venues to choose yet, this may even help you decide which venue is the best type of venue to choose for your event.
Think about the type of people that are coming to the event and if they may have some limitations, even if they don’t what kind of access does the venue have? So that includes public access, so all those entry, exit locations, you know, just general doors. What about public parking? Or the parking around the building? Does the venue actually have parking and how easy is it to access? Is there an emergency lane? Say you need to call the police or an ambulance, is there an emergency lane for them to come in and have easy access, so think about that, so public entry, exit, public parking, what about emergency access? Again, just going back to what I just mentioned about if you have to have police come in or emergency vehicles like ambulances coming in, is there easy access for them at those venues, now typically, depending on the type of venue that you are using, they typically will be access with them but you do want to check that and you definitely want to make sure that you and your team are aware of all those access points or access entries are. So those are a couple of things …and the other thing I want to mention about access points and venues is; they have to be clear of all obstructions.
Now I know this is often something that people want to… maybe they don’t just think about or aren’t unaware of or sometimes you want to be sneaky and you want to just be like because it’s going to be better for your event, you want to close the door or block the access to a door and you can’t do that, so here is an example: When you are working in a hotel, in a banquet center, so you are in the banquet room and you have meetings going on and there is a speaker at the front and people are coming out, maybe they are going to different sessions, maybe they just need a bathroom break. They are going in and out of the main door and sometimes those doors can be very heavy and they can slam or they creak or they are very distracting for the participants in the room watching the presenter and especially for those people who are closest to the door. Quite often, as event organizers, what we want to do is minimize the noise by closing those doors or even locking them. But you can’t because they are emergency exits so if anything was to happen, the fire alarm goes and people are running out in mass then you caused a danger to those people and so it’s really important to know what the rules are within that venue and where does exits are and also knowing that you cannot obstruct those exits and entry points and then making sure that your team knows that as well. This can happen in a house, you know, if you have the main doors blocked for some reason and say something happens then it makes it very difficult for people to get out the door. So just think about that when you’re planning your events.
Again, we are planning here for worse case scenarios and most of the time, this don’t happen in my experience, I think I’ve had maybe one or two things happen and they were very small but we always had a plan in place for the just-in-case, that’s why we are talking about it today. Okay, so another set you want to think about and one that is often overlook are Staging & Structures. So if you’re putting a stage up, at the front of your venue, you want to make sure that it’s very secure so that they people that you’re hiring, who are coming in to do that, they need to be professionals, they need to have experience doing it and you want to make sure that they have those credentials, so just check in their credentials before you hire them, using someone whose reputable, getting referrals from people if you haven’t used anyone before is valuable experience or using their experience is invaluable.
The next thing is First Aid Stations and as an event planner, this should be in your list anyway, regardless of size of the event. So even if you’re just having a few people at the event, it’s a very intimate affair, throw some band aids and some antiseptic into your event toolkit and have those on hand, you never know, someone might get something as simple as a paper cut and having that there for them, makes it a lot easier and it just shows that you kind of care on a bigger scale, having medical personal on site is really, really important as well so I worked an event, it was a nonprofit event, it was actually a fund raiser – as a national fund raiser and we had ambulatory care there, on site for the entire duration, this is a 24 hour kind of relay type of event and we had ambulatory care there the entire time and people knew where it was, it was very visible, we had an actual ambulance there so it was easy to spot, it could be something like people get tired, maybe they are dehydrated, maybe they just need a band aid or something small but having people there for that who are actually professionals is really, really important for those larger scale event.
Security is another important aspect and depending on the size and the scope of your event. Well, it depends on whether or not you need security. If you’re going to have line ups for your event then you definitely want to have people who are doing crowd control so having security on site… security is typically for larger scale event, those festivals, any sort of public event that you might be planning in parks, anything like that, where there is going to be a lot of people.
Control rooms, now this works really well and what a control room is – I actually use control rooms a lot in my events, so I would do all the planning for the events then I would have different people executing the event during the event if they were multiple days and having your safety procedures and your safety room set up in your control room works really well. Now this type of control room works well if you have a larger event where you’re going to be using a lot of space in a venue. So for example; using a hotel, and you’re using various rooms in that hotel, you may want to have a control room where you have all of your stuff piled, you have the computers so people can look things up, it’s also where you can store all your snacks for your team, the water, it’s a room for them to come where they know they can get all their answers, but it’s also a great spot to set up your safety network there as well and regardless of whatever you’re doing make sure you’re talking about all of these procedures with your team before, during and even after the event, so we’ll get into that in just a minute. The control room is a great place to set up everything, so it’s all centralized.
Communication – now, I just talked about this just a little bit and I mentioned it a couple of minute ago. Talking to your team about these safety procedures for your event and so let’s just say for example; a few years ago, I planned an event it was a very intimate event at my client’s house, so we had all the furniture room moved from the house so we can create a party atmosphere, we had a band put in, we had bars put in through bar stations and then we had service provided. Now, you’d think this is somebody’s house, chances of it going wrong probably very slim maybe non but the thing is that there is alcohol involved in those situations and there are stairs, people have to come up and down and then there are inside, and there are outside and you just never know what they could trip over, it could be something as small as their own feet, I mean, it happens, so just having those things in place I know it can be easy if you’re in North America to just call 911 or whatever emergency line you have in your country but you still need to have this communications in place so talking to your team about what the procedures are – and again, you want to do this before the event so that if there are any questions that they have that come up you can answer them, you want to do it during the event if something is happening, have a line of communication open so each person knows who they need to speak to in an emergency. Most of the time it’s going to be the lead event manager if there is an emergency but you may – depending on if you have different locations – you may have different people that they’ll have to go to or they have to contact and then after the event just do a debrief on it especially if anything happened and that way you can improve your safety guide and your procedures when you’re having events moving forward, so that’s for communication.
Another great thing to add to your communication is the public address. So, if you’re having an event, make sure your team knows the address because if they ever need to call 911 in an emergency, then they have it on hand so in all of your forms make sure that you’re including the address of the venue and then even the core streets and the telephone number so that they can give it to the emergency personnel or anybody else that they need to during the event, so make sure that you put that on all of your communication pieces.
The last but not the least, the one that we’re going to talk about today is Water & Food Safety and this can be a whole guide in its own so we’re going to just touch on it briefly but having water on hand can be a safety issue, so making sure that you have bottles of water or even jugs of water available so that people aren’t getting dehydrated and you would think “okay, they are in a hotel, or they are in a venue and my team doesn’t need water, they can go and they can go to the bathroom and they can ask for it themselves” but what happens during an event is you get really, really busy and you forget and then you get dehydrated and then you get sick. Yeah, thumbs up for that, thank you so much. So, it’s really, really important and I’ve mentioned this in a few videos to really take care of your team and have water on hand and have food on hand, have snacks especially if you have events that are over 3 or 4 hours, then you need to account for those meals and for nourishing your team. Now, this also is applicable to the event attendees. Now you may not be providing all the meals but maybe you can have food trucks coming in or maybe you need to let them know to bring their own food or their own snacks because of the duration of the event. There are many fund raisers that involve a lot of physical activity and so you need to just make sure that you’ve outlined that for everybody, for all of the attendees for anybody whose participating for your vendors and also for your team if you’re not going to be providing food, just let them know. Sometimes it’s not in the budget, water in my opinion is a must no matter what, there is always ways to provide water no matter what your budget it and it does fall into that safety guideline.
Those are a few things that you should include in your safety guide. If you have never done one before they can be quite comprehensive so make sure you’re working with someone who has done them, and if you have any questions as you’re watching this video, pop them into the chat box and below and I’ll be sure to answer them for you.
I want to thank you so much for joining me.
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