While planning an event, there are a lot of aspects to consider. From finding the right vendors to making sure all the equipment works flawlessly, you have a lot of work. And above all these, you have to ensure that everything works under a security net.
What if the stage breaks down? What if a shooter enters the venue?
You have to be prepared for scenarios like this and a lot more to make sure your event finishes smoothly.
We have compiled a list of the best event security tips to help you get ready for the worst (God forbid).
A. Safety risks at events
When planning events, especially a large one, it is important to consider all critical aspects of your event that could go wrong. This is not about a pessimist outlook, but about making yourself alert and ready for any crisis.
While we pray and hope that all your events finish smoothly, there can be infinite safety risks and security hazards a large event may face. The nature and intensity of security threats may vary, so it is important to consider all possible situations to manage any crisis effectively.
Some of the biggest security threats include-
- Natural disasters
- Terrorist attack
- Aggressive or unruly behavior
- Technical failure
- Chemical spills
- Food safety concerns
- Heat waves
- Loss of electricity or water supply
- Medical emergencies
- Snow or ice storm
- Undocumented guests
B. Event security tips to uphold guests’ safety
Have a look at our tried and tested event security tips to ensure everything works as planned-
- Understand your security risks
The first step is to identify what type of risk you are likely to encounter. Different events will have different audience landscapes and risks. For example, the risk in an open-stage stadium with a large crowd is comparatively greater than a small corporate meeting inside a boardroom.
Here are some things you should consider-
- Ensure to run a background check of the artist or guests you are inviting. How is their public image? Are there any controversies surrounding them? Are they a target for any individual or group?
- The context of your event. Does your event theme attract any security risks?
- Are you expecting any protests or counter-protests?
- Assess the security vulnerabilities of the venue. Check for security cameras and if all the emergency exit points are feasible and accessible.
- Check for non-human security threats like proximity to highways, flood, and other natural calamity possibilities, or wild animals.
- Create an event risk management plan
Once you have identified all your risks, you need to develop a risk management plan to help you reduce, eliminate, and mitigate the risks. Here are some approaches -
- If you are already expecting a hazard, eliminate it by implementing a new process or altering a current one
- Substitute dangerous situations with lesser dangerous alternatives
- Alter environmental designs to mitigate or contain the hazard
- Build a team to create safe operating procedures that benefit everyone
- Train your team and use effective methodologies to help your team identify risks quickly
- Update your event crisis management plan
To be able to mitigate all risks tactfully and effectively, you should update your crisis management plan every time you host a new event. This will help you prevent unanticipated situations to best protect people, property, reputation, and assets.
Here are some things to consider when building an event crisis management plan-
- Keep a list of emergency key contacts ready for distribution to help your team quickly find important information
- Shortlist competent team members to join the crisis planning committee, who will be responsible for taking action in case of an emergency
- Build a crisis communication plan and elect an official spokesperson for media and other critical interactions. Also, discuss what and how you will share the information with stakeholders in the event of an emergency
- Establish systems and procedures to help your team detect early warning signs of a crisis.
- Devise appropriate actions or responses to be taken during a crisis. Make sure to keep a ‘plan B’ handy just in case the original doesn’t work
- Test your effectiveness by doing simulations. This will help you identify what worked and what didn’t and make changes as necessary
- Circulate safety and security protocols with exhibitors and attendees
Keeping the attendees and other stakeholders in the loop is one of the easiest ways to build trust and credibility. This not only applies to general event information but also to your event’s safety and security protocols. This will make everybody informed about what to expect when they arrive (security clearances, health screenings, sanitization protocols, etc).
Here are some additional event security tips for sharing information-
- Share a code of conduct statement with all event participants. This should include details about what they can expect from the organizer regarding health and safety measures and the appropriate behavior accepted out of them while attending the event. This should set clear safety expectations before, during, and after the event
- Design a safety plan for each event considering the journey from the minute they come through the door till they are out of the venue. This should include safe spaces and emergency exit plans
- Feature safety and security-related information on promotional emails, text messages, e-newsletters, social media pages, your event website, and app
- Keep your security equipment visible
The key goal of security is not only to respond to threats but also to prevent threats from happening in the first place. A smart way would be to place the security equipment strategically such as CCTV cameras so that the potential agitator sees your security measures and thinks twice before committing any dangerous activity.
Hiding your security team and equipment or putting them undercover can make the possible agitators think the event is unprotected leading to unfavorable actions. By making your safety devices visible, you also provide a sense of security to your participants.
- Create security checkpoints
Set up checkpoints away from the gathering that attendees must pass through to get inside. This will force potential agitators to confront security personnel long before they can cause any damage.
For example, instead of setting up your registration desk outside an auditorium’s doorway, you would want to place it a few feet away from the facility’s lobby. This way it will be easier to prohibit an uninvited person from entering before they reach a crowd.
- Check IDs carefully
When you register people for your event, make sure to collect all important personal information including name, date of birth, and address, to make it harder for an intruder to assume someone’s identity.
You can also ask them to send a copy of their ID to make it easier for invigilators to compare the information at the gate. This may be one of the best ways to confirm identities but may not be feasible in a large crowd.
An easier way would be to use QR codes for entry. They are easy and convenient and can be generated while registering. Each QR code is unique and is sent to the attendee’s phone, so there will be fewer chances of intruders stealing this information.
- Keep private events private
If you are hosting a private event that is not open to the public, it is best to not announce it on websites, newsletters, press releases, and social media. It can attract unnecessary security risks.
For example, you don’t need to inform everyone about a company dinner as it is not open to everyone. This is a form of precaution. If agitators don’t know about the event, there will be no chance for them to disrupt it or cause harm. This is especially important for companies that work in an industry with politically charged opponents.
- Keep the emergency plan ready
A ready emergency plan is a must before hosting any event. Sit with your security team to create an emergency response plan to determine how everyone will act in the event of a disaster. Different events have different venues with differing layouts and audience masses. So it is important to consider all these factors while crafting a plan and update it every time you host a new event.
Critical components to include in the plan-
- Things to do when there is an active shooter
- Different ways to execute the event
- Locations of safe rooms or areas
- Meeting point of staff during an emergency
- Communication during an emergency
- Signage and notifications for guests regarding appropriate action
- Screen your staff carefully
Security risks can come from anyone including your staff. So it is important to carefully scrutinize anyone who works for you to ensure they don’t have any malicious intent.
The best way to do this is it to-
- Run background checks on everyone who works for you
- Run credit checks for people to have access to the event’s money and resources
- Familiarize your staff with each other and instruct them to watch for people who don’t belong to the staff but posing
- Give your team a unique identifier like a wristband or t-shirt and make sure others don’t have access to it
- Build strong relationships with vendors so they offer competent people to serve in your event
- Perform health check-ins at the door
After the pandemic scare, health check-ins are the new normal. You can start by placing thermal cameras at entrances to provide extra protection for attendees. Thermal cameras detect an individual’s body heat to estimate their core body temperature. If someone is found with an unusually high temperature, it is best to isolate them before they enter the event. This is a faster and more efficient way of verifying temperatures than individual checkups.
- Go for contactless options
Going for contactless solutions is not only a safer way but also the most convenient and time-saving. You can do so by opting for event management software that offers contactless solutions such as QR Codes.
Every time a person registers a unique QR Code is generated and sent to them. They have to show this code at the gate and have it scanned to validate their entry. It takes only a few seconds and is way more convenient than manual verification.
Upholding your attendee’s safety should be your top priority while attending any event. While there are aspects of it that you can manage manually, using an event management system can accelerate and simplify your efforts in managing attendee safety.
Ticket Generator is a super convenient event registration and management system that can help you organize your events with ease and comfort while keeping audience safety at the forefront. Some of its key features include-
- Event ticket validation with a unique QR Code
- Custom ticket template
- Mobile-optimized landing page
- Event tracking and analytics
- Bulk ticket generation and distribution
- Ticket validator app