From parking and permits to entertainment and entrees, these event organisers have a lot to think about.
Unfortunately, this often means that event security can get forgotten about. Failing to properly secure an event can lead to losses from theft, illicit entry and damage. Even worse, it can put your staff and attendees in danger.
As such, it’s critical that event planners think carefully about event security. But where should they begin? How can event coordinators make certain that their event remains as safe as possible?
Like most things, proper planning is essential when it comes to securing an event – whether that’s a wedding, a conference, a festival or a Christmas party.
This means you have to conduct a thorough security assessment. Your security assessment will help you understand exactly what kinds of threats you face. And this means you will be able to put in place the most effective security measures.
Your security assessment should be carried out at the same time as your risk assessment – in fact, a proper risk assessment will include a detailed section about security.
Although every event is different – and therefore so is every security assessment – every event organiser should consider the following:
• Theft Prevention
• Access Control
• Crowd Control
• Emergency Planning and First Aid
• Evacuation Planning
In the rest of this article, we’re going to look at each of these elements in turn so that you are able to properly assess your event from the perspective of security.
Any event can be targeted by criminals. Thieves often attempt to steal:
• Equipment – such as PA systems and projectors
• Food and drink – especially alcoholic beverages
• Delegates’ belongings – including wallets and laptops
To ensure that you keep your property, your venue’s property and your attendees’ property safe, it’s important that you put in place adequate anti-theft measures.
This may include:
• Offering a properly monitored cloak room
• Locking unnecessary access points throughout the duration of the event
• Having manned security in place to spot and remove thieves
• Keeping expensive equipment and stock in a highly secure area whenever left unattended (preferably monitored by CCTV or manned security staff)
• And creating a system for staff and delegates to allows staff and delegates to report any suspicious activity they observe
The anti-theft measures you implement should be tailored to the type of event you are organising. For example, a festival organiser may need to provision mobile security officers to patrol campsites and monitor perimeters. Whereas a conference organiser may choose to provide locker facilities to delegates.
The most important thing is to think about what sorts of things thieves would be interested in stealing, how they may do this and what measures you can put in place to prevent that from happening.
Uninvited people may seek to gain entry to your event for a number of reasons – to steal, to enjoy the event without purchasing a ticket, to commit other crimes such as vandalism, and so on.
As such, putting effective access control measures in place is essential. Commonly used access control measures include:
• Placing manned security on each access point
• Ensuring proper ticket inspections
• Allocating wrist bands
• Conducting bag checks
• Creating and managing queues
When it comes to access control, vigilance is crucial. Unfortunately, even a momentary security lapse can be enough to let unwanted intruders in.
You will require specific access control measures depending on what type of event you are organising. For example, for festival organisers, it may be necessary to erect temporary perimeter fencing to keep gate-crashers out.
Crowds can be dangerous. Sudden surges and crushes can put both your staff and attendees in jeopardy. Effective crowd control is absolutely necessary for sporting events, concerts and festivals. However, crowds can form at large corporate events and even parties.
To ensure delegates are properly protected, many event planners:
• Research their audience, since some demographics and events are much more likely to require crowd control than others (for example, a rock concert)
• Control access to alcohol, since this can make people act more impulsively and dangerously
• Minimise and monitor access points – to keep access points safe, make sure they are properly monitored and that no unneeded access points are in use
• Organise event and security staff so that everyone has distinct roles and responsibilities – including managing queues
• Encourage attendees and staff to report suspicious behaviour
Many event organisers choose to open the doors to their event an hour or even longer before the start time. This gives people plenty of time to enter your event and reduces the chances of queues becoming unruly.
See How to Implement Effective Crowd Control at Your Event for more detailed information on crowd control.
Emergency Planning and First Aid
No matter how much planning you do, you can never eliminate the possibility of an emergency occurring. This could be the result of illness, violence, injury or even poor weather. Different kinds of emergencies require different security measures.
As such, you need to think about what kinds of emergency could potentially occur at your event and put in place measures to deal with them. Many event planners:
• Ensure one first aider is onsite for every 50 attendees
• Provide free access to clean drinking water
• Make sure indoor spaces are properly ventilated and have air conditioning
• Put in place plans and resources for use in the event of poor weather
• Create recovery areas where anyone experiencing an emergency can recover in peace
In the most extreme case, emergency planning can be a matter of life and death. So, the importance of properly planning for the worst-case scenario cannot be understated. To properly plan for emergencies, all event planners should put in place protocols to deal with illness, injury and crowd control. However, those organising larger events – such as festivals and conferences – will need to consider additional factors such as the threat of terrorism.
There are many reasons why you may need to evacuate your event at short notice. If people are unable to leave your premises quickly, their lives may be endangered – as in the case of fire.
Proper evacuation planning will allow you to communicate quickly in the event of an evacuation and allow you to get everybody safely off site. Event planners will often:
• Mark escape routes clearly and ensure that they remain unobstructed
• Provision trained security personnel to direct people and maintain order in the event of an evacuation
• Put in place special measures for disabled attendees
• Give staff clear roles in the event of an evacuation and run through these several times before the event takes place
• Choose a venue that complies with the emergency lighting requirements outlined in BS 5244-1
For large-scale events, you may also be required to inform the emergency services before the event takes place. This will allow them to put in place additional safety measures where required. Additionally, good event security companies are able to help you plan and implement an effective evacuation policy.
Are you organising a corporate event or conference, sporting event, festival or concert in London? If so, you may want to see A Comprehensive Guide for Event Planners. There, we go into detail about the specific measures needed to secure such events.
Churchill Security is an experienced event security provider – and can provide event security London. If you’re organising event, it’s crucial that you consider health and safety and security. Our highly qualified event security staff can help you plan your event safely and will implement first-class security on the day itself.