At any kind of event, the safety of visitors, staff and anyone else in the vicinity must be paramount. Whether you are organising a parade, a concert, a festival or a market, security measures must be put in place to keep everyone safe.
If you are organising an event or are in charge of managing the crowd safety for it, it is imperative to consider all of the potential risks involved, taking sensible precautions to eliminate them wherever possible.
Doing this effectively will require you to carry out a risk assessment – a procedure designed to help identify any existing issues and ensure the event can be staged safely. Here we take a look at some of the issues you will need to consider during your event’s risk assessment.
Know Your Audience
To understand how to plan for safety at your event, you first need to have a good idea of who is going to be attending. The profile of the audience can help you determine how the crowd will behave.
If, for example, the event is planning to showcase a performer that will attract a very high-energy audience, this can help you better understand how to manage the crowd.
As well as the standard audience profile, it is also important to consider audience members of all walks of life – from young children to people with disabilities. Ask yourself questions like: is your event accessible? Will it be safe for children under a certain age to attend?
When you understand who is likely to be at your event, you will then be able to put more effective measures in place to keep everyone safe.
Identify The Hazards In The Crowd
Depending on the kind of event you are hosting, the crowd can create a range of specific challenges.
The dynamics of the crowd’s movement, for example, can produce dangers for people in the crowd – a densely packed crowd that surges forwards could lead to individuals falling or being trampled on.
Also, it’s important to consider how the barriers are placed. A large crowd that sways, for instance, could end up crushing people standing against fixed structures.
As such, when it comes to organising your event, you should ideally work with barrier contractors who will be able to advise you on planning against this and a variety of other scenarios.
Understand The Numbers
As well as understanding the kind of people who will likely attend the event, it is essential to know how many people are actually going to turn up. If you are running a ticketed event, this is can be a lot easier to understand and manage. However, if you are running a more casual event, you may need to look further into the expected turnout to provide the facilities required.
If you have run the event before, take a look at the previous attendance figures or check the numbers of people visiting similar events in the area. Also, be aware that if your event is held across a number of days that it is likely to be busier on certain days than others and this should be taken into account when you are planning.
Is The Venue Suitable?
When you are choosing the venue for your event it is essential that you take all of the details above into account. Aside from the obvious questions over capacity you also need to consider the logistics of the venue, such as whether there is a large space at the entrance, where visitors are most likely to congregate.
Also, consider how well the venue would be able to deal with an evacuation in the event of an emergency. It is always essential to plan for the worst-case scenario to ensure that the risk to visitors and anyone in the vicinity is kept to a minimum.
Identify The Hazards From The Venue & Surrounding Area
It isn’t just the crowd that can cause safety issues – and it’s not always something that you will have full control over.
In poor weather conditions, the ground might be in a poor state, leading to an added risk of slipping and falling. There may also be badly maintained pedestrian paths and routes so, prior to the event, make a note of any potential danger areas you notice. That way, you will be able to source potential solutions or alternative pathways.
What’s more, you will also need to consider the aspects of your event where pedestrians and vehicles are in the same space, or where stalls and other structures can cause obstructions during busy times.