For your upcoming event, you want complete confidence that all volunteers, staff, and attendees will be safe - particularly with the increasing threat of terrorism. Here are 5 simple steps to help you plan for a safer event.
Calculate your risks
It’s Murphy’s Law; anything that can happen will happen. As you start planning the intricate details of your event, it is important to strategize around the “worst-case scenarios”. Assess your event and try to come up with a list of possible risks, threats, hazards and endangerment that will affect anyone on site, including the participants, attendees, special guests and staff. When calculating your risks, take into consideration the venue, region, date, attendee base, weather, industry type, and event type. Once you’ve highlighted all of the possible risks, document the tactics you will use to overcome each risk.
Create an action plan
As a planner, you need to be able to address the safety concerns of your participants, attendees, special guests and staff, before, during or after your event. An action plan is a document containing critical information about your event including your risk management tactics. It should also include details such as event dates, locations, the number of attendees, a communications plan, a safety plan, a contingency plan, and all permits. Your event organizers should always have an action plan on hand in case of an emergency.
Train your staff and volunteers
Chances are your staff & volunteers are spread out across your event; they could very well be the first witnesses to an emergency situation. The more time you take to properly train your staff, the safer your event will become.
Before the event, have your team go over the event action plan and run safety drills with them. Take the time to answer any questions they might have. The more questions you answer, the fewer questions they will ask you on event day, giving you more time to focus on other tasks. The training session and practice will make them feel more comfortable with their roles on event day, and even more comfortable in emergency situations.
Develop a communication strategy
A communication strategy determines how you are going to keep in contact with segmented groups of people during the event. For example, many planners resort to sending individual SMS text messages to their set up crew, or travel by foot to relay a verbal message to their registration staff, use social media chat groups to contact their volunteers or walkie-talkies to communicate with their security officers. In the case of an emergency, using all of these mediums to communicate is not ideal and takes a lot of time, which can be dangerous. When coming up with your strategy, consider narrowing down your forms of communication and use a tool that can reach a segmented group quickly and efficiently.
Take advantage of new event technology
The event technology industry is emerging fast; don’t make the mistake of not researching what is out there before your next event.
Many planners still like to plan using tools they already know (but aren't ideal) such as email, excel spreadsheets and walkie-talkies. Using a variety of tools that aren’t designed to connect with each other can cause more problems in emergency situations by slowing down the protocol process. Using a single tool designed for event purposes can improve safety at your events by changing the way you handle event-day communications & scheduling.
Spending the time to get to know a new tool can ultimately save you planning time, and help you improve managing event day commotion.
Once you have those steps covered, you should be well on your way to a safer event!
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