Having learnt how to organise a successful event within your locality even on a tight budget, the next thing you need to pay close attention to is how to ensure the safety of your participants, suppliers as well as your guest speakers.
The amount of work that is required to organise a big event, like a music festival or exhibition, can’t be underestimated.
The same way it is your responsibility to ensure that obvious things such as caterers and entertainment are hired for the event, you’re also legally responsible for the safety of any volunteers, staff, performers and attendees.
Big events in the UK can be unpredictable.
Everything can be calm and organised one minute, and the next, something can happen to cause people to panic and to want to leave in a hurry.
This is why it’s important to have in place adequate crowd management controls, such as barriers.
Here are some other ways to ensure the safety of everyone at a big event:
Build Your ‘Safety Team’
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Managing the safety of large crowds is a big job and you’ll need to bring on board highly experienced and qualified professionals, such as safety officers, security, stewards and first aiders.
Not only are security and safety professionals in charge of crowd management, but they’re also looking out for people who may be there to cause anti-social behaviour.
So, it’s vital that whoever you use understands how to diffuse a situation quickly and calmly.
Understanding the type of event you’re putting on and the type of crowds it is likely to attract is incredibly important as it can help you in your risk assessment.
For example, if you know that a similar event was previously targeted by people who were intent on causing trouble, then you can build this into your safety plan and prepare the stewards and safety officers.
It could also transpire that you may need a police presence at the event. Identifying this early means you’ll have time to liaise with the local police force to have this support in place.
The safety plan needs to contain details of emergency exits. You will need to have both left and emergency exit right signs clearly positioned where everyone in the room can see them. If you need to evacuate people in a hurry because of a fire, for example, you need to know how you are going to get people out safely, but quickly.
Plus, you’ll have to cordon off areas close to the venue in case emergency vehicles need access. These are just a couple of things that have to be pre-planned.
Clear and open communication is vital when hosting a big event. Everyone involved should know what they’re responsible for and who they report to.
Regular communication must be maintained using equipment that is suitable for the venue i.e. if the event is being held outdoors across a large area, you’ll need to use radios whose signal can cover that distance.
Test Your Plan
With all the above in place, it’s time to test that your plan works. This could involve bringing together everyone who will be involved in managing safety and discussing the plan to identify any areas of weakness.
The findings from the meeting should be documented and any changes implemented and retested.
People attend events to enjoy themselves and with the expectation that they’ll be safe whilst they’re at the event.
As the event organiser, it’s your legal responsibility to ensure everyone who is working, and attending is safe. One of the key event planning mistakes you must avoid is leaving everything to chance.
Preplanning and testing are important, as well as having suitably qualified support staff. With this in place, you can relax and know that your event will be a big success.