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Aside from providing an immersive attendee experience, ensuring the safety and security of both guests and staff is a top responsibility of any event organizer. Prioritizing event security can prevent the occurrence of catastrophic situations, injury to attendees, or property damage at the venue.
If you’re in the process of putting an event together, minimize your risk by following these safety tips:
Familiarize yourself with the venue
Conducting a thorough visual inspection of your chosen venue will allow you to identify any potential safety and security risks, which can then be addressed ahead of the event. Aside from making note of the actual points of entry to the location and its fire exits, keep an eye out for any other ways an individual could get inside: loose windows or ones that can be opened from the outside, receiving bays, staff doors, and the like should be made note of and their locations shared with your security personnel. If you are holding your event outdoors, establish a perimeter with barricades or temporary fences, and keep potential entry points manned to discourage gatecrashers.
Maintain a visible security presence
Sometimes, just seeing that there’s a strong security presence at the event is enough to deter any individual who may have the intent to cause trouble or harm. Having visible security personnel at key areas can also help event attendees feel safer because they’ll know who to turn to in a crisis. You may want to hire additional security on top of the people the venue provides. Make sure that they are wearing uniforms and are easily identifiable as figures of authority.
Provide security items to all staff members
A large-scale event can make it difficult to keep track of attendees and staff members. To quickly identify who’s supposed to be there from who isn’t, make sure that all the members of the staff have proper identification and are wearing them at all times. Go for a durable nylon lanyard to hold the IDs with—they’re weather-resistant and unobtrusive.
Constant communication between staff members and the security personnel is also key to averting threats. Provide walkie-talkies to all the members of the staff and use a secure channel. You may also want to hold a pre-event orientation to acquaint your team and the security team with each other. Tell your team that security needs to be alerted to any suspicious activity or abnormal behavior.
Implement a screening strategy
Event security experts agree that inside jobs are the undisputed number-one cause of security, and they happen much more often than you think. Prevent this by thoroughly vetting every single person you hire for the event, especially those who will be staying on the premises while the event is ongoing. Ask for identification, work permits, and clearances. You can never go wrong by being too vigilant.
Put together a comprehensive emergency response plan
Planning for the worst can reduce risk. Work with both the venue and your security team to create an action plan on how to organize mass evacuations and move people into safe areas should a dangerous situation arise. Map exit routes and make sure that all emergency exits are working and marked as such on the day of your event. You should also have fire safety measures in place if your event involves pyrotechnics.
Sometimes, the attendees themselves are a security risk. Perform bag checks at the entrance and confiscate any contraband items, whether that’s food, liquor, cigarettes, deadly weapons, and so on. Large crowds can get unruly very quickly, so make sure that you’re staying within the limits set by your venue’s capacity. With enough planning and coordination, you can make your event venue a safer space for everyone in attendance.