Ask any event marketer to describe the nature of live events and the word “unpredictable” inevitably comes to mind. Last-minute cancellations, faulty technology and countless other challenges frequently arise. And while most industry pros have enough experience to swiftly overcome these obstacles as they occur, there’s one element that requires more time and preparation, no matter how long you’ve been in the biz—event safety.
From medical care to risk assessment, in today’s volatile world, having the right resources to keep your event safe and secure is about as important as it gets. Here are a few ways to make it happen:
1. Hire a security firm to keep your guests safe and your staff focused on the task at hand. Plenty of companies specialize in this kind of work, but you’ll want to make sure the one you select is equipped to handle the specific type of event you’re holding. And remember: brains trump brawn. Bodyguards don’t provide the same kind of protection as a collaborative professional event security team that you can develop a plan with.
2. The organizational structure of your event is also something to keep in mind. In the event of an emergency, having clear egress routes, and staffers who know the ins and outs of the venue, can save time and even lives. Remember, communication is half the battle, so supervision is key. Everyone should know who reports to whom and what their individual responsibilities are—including volunteers.
3. Another trend gaining momentum in the outdoor event safety space is the rise of partnerships with weather experts. Plenty of event organizers are hiring professional meteorologists rather than relying on weather apps, which often don’t provide the most accurate or up-to-date information on storms. One look at the tragic stage collapse during Sugarland’s performance at the 2011 Indiana State Fair will tell you all you need to know about the repercussions of severe weather.
4. In this day and age, terrorism is another threat that all event marketers should be prepared to handle. As the likelihood of terrorist attacks increases, it’s vital that anyone involved in the execution of a live event is armed with the knowledge needed to keep attendees safe during these kinds of incidents. Staying alert of your surroundings at all times, for instance, is a simple but effective way to help identify suspicious people before an attack occurs or escalates.
5. Looking out for VIPs is another critical component of event safety for companies who work with celebrities and influencers. Although your average guest may not have much to worry about, celebrity attendees risk being mobbed by fans and curious onlookers if you don’t plan your event properly. Implementing a private entrance and exit for these guests is a good place to get started.
6. And finally, the ever-important topic of medical services must be addressed. You’ll have different needs depending on the size of your event, so make sure you know the difference between EMTs, paramedics and other medical professionals, and what types of services each is equipped to provide. Having a doctor on-site is another option to consider for larger events, especially because it reduces the time it would take to transport a seriously ill attendee from an EMT to a higher-level medical professional.
The moral, legal and financial responsibilities associated with event security are enough to keep any event marketer committed to safety, but in the end, it’s the peace of mind that really pays off.