“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley”
A bit of poetry to start the article, for once! Well, just a line from Robert Burns’ 1785 poem “To A Mouse” contains this line which translates to how our best laid plans often go awry. And that is where safety measures come in. Events involve people, and often a huge number of people at that. As an organizer, it is your job to keep all these people safe – after all, they are taking for granted that you are! In this article, we discuss just how to ensure safety at your events.
From The Beginning
Let’s take this right to the top because safety isn’t just a bunch of emergency routes drawn on a map and pasted on a door. It is a mentality that, from the start, should be committed to taking the right decisions for the good of everyone involved. This means choosing the right contractors, suppliers and vendors based on considerations that go beyond cost. There should be criteria that are based to on their safety records and history. Be especially careful when it comes to evaluating food vendors but do extend it to building materials and the like as well. Costs are important and everyone would love to see their margins go down. But don’t compromise on safety for costs as this will be so much more detrimental in the long run.
This also applies to the people who work on making sure that the venue is well-renovated and designed and that sound or lights systems are good to go. Engage companies with the best safety practices so that abuse or neglect of worker safety is not ignored.
Work Within The Law
Always respect the laws and jurisdictions of the areas that you are holding your event in, especially those that are directly related to safety. Laws that govern potential hazards regarding fire or weather are there for a reason and it will only be a good thing if you follow them. Keep local authorities and law enforcement officials in touch with your plans and activities and have them on hand to ensure that you aren’t flouting anything that you shouldn’t be flouting.
Another way to ensure the legalities of everything are adhered to is to get adequate insurance coverage and to understand the terms of the policies well enough. This should help you be in tandem with not only the laws of the land, but also what you need to do to ensure that any situation that may occur leaves you and your participants properly covered.
Plan In Excess
There are an infinite amount of things that could happen to, well, anything so, no, it is not humanly possible to cover every single outcome. However, that doesn’t mean we should just wash out hands off this. As organizers, you should always be cynical and think about what worst-case scenarios might be and how to react to this in a way that ensures the safety of your participants, attendees and staff. Let as little situations as possible take you by surprise. When you’ve anticipated an emergency and have rehearsed responses to these, then you are in the best frame of mind and body to deal with it adequately.
On that note, consult with security and safety experts about what plans fit your event, venue, and crowd best. Every individual event would have its own special needs and circumstances so make sure that the contingency plans you have are the correct ones and are fit for purpose.
In The Know
All those plans are great but perhaps the most important thing is to make sure that every, and I mean everyone, knows what they are. Certainly, your team should know best. Every member of the organization and the staff should know their roles, where they should be, and what they should be doing in the event of an emergency. This is crucial as it means that any response to any situation can be carried out in the fastest amount of time.
The attendees and guests also need to have some kind of security briefing. While this doesn’t need to be in the same amount of detail as the staff, it is still best that everyone has a rough idea of where the emergency routes or procedures are so that panic would be at a minimum.
Except that’s not it. Safety is a very, if not the most, important issue in any gathering of people and if organizers get this wrong the consequences could be tragic. All these points we have discussed simply lead to one major conclusion – don’t take chances and compromise on safety. Hopefully, that will lead to your event going off without a hitch for the benefit of everyone concerned!