For those who aren’t in the event planning industry, executing an event is far more complex than it seems.
Details such as venue planning, guest list, food, transportation, décor and entertainment all demand large amounts of energy and focus. In the midst of event planning excitement, there is also the responsibility of safety. Did you know that as a planner, a large part of event safety falls on your shoulders?
Often, event safety can be pushed to the bottom of the list when 100 other details are fighting for your attention. Don’t worry, we have you covered. Eventmarketer.com understands how important event safety is, and how it can easily become overlooked. Not to worry, here’s some great event advice from eventmarketer.com:
1. Enlist Expert Advice
Hire experts who know how to cope with large numbers of people and handle any situation or threat with a professional response that does not cause a scene. Ask for references and make sure they are properly insured. Many individuals state they have an event security company but don’t have insurance or experience.
2. Assess Your Event
Before requesting the number of event security guards you think you need, let the security expert assess your event based on capacity, attendees, venue and nature of your event to determine whether it is “high” or “low” profile experience.
“The organizer may describe the event as a product launch, but it could be for a sensitive product that may not be liked by certain people or groups. The same for charity events and fundraisers with corporate CEO’s and wealthy people in attendance,” Stone says. “Someone with a grudge against the company or the executive could try to come in and protest, disrupt or do harm.”
3. Prepare for Protest
Always be clear with the event security expert if the client sponsoring the event may draw hatred or negative feedback toward their mission. People may launch an attack against a company they feel discriminates against its workers, doesn’t pay them enough, mismanaged their retirement portfolios or any other reason they feel is justified.
Have the event security experts liaise with the local police department and let them know who and what is happening.
4. Screen Guests and Staff
Make sure all guests are properly screened and checked in with proper credentials. “Are you trying to prevent party crashers from sneaking in and having a few shrimp or bashing for a free beer, or are you trying to prevent a more serious disruption?” says Stone. The event security staff will familiarize themselves with the guest list and turn away those who have not been formally invited.
Additionally, have your event security partner screen all vendors and their employees supplying services, to see if they are biased towards the event.
5. Skip the Surprise Searches
Invitations should disclose that “all persons and property are subject to search” and proper ID is required. That way there will be no surprises at the door. Some events are no-cell phone zones. “We take their cell phones away so they can’t photograph what is going on, or post it to a social media site,” Stone says. “We check them with a coat-check ticket and they get it back on their way out.”
6. Budget for Safety
In today’s world climate of terrorism, for high-profile events save your money on the shrimp and lobster and direct it towards event security, walk-through metal detectors, K-9 sweeps and more. “If you shop by price, you will get your unwanted guests and sleeping guards,” Stone says. “Budget is very important. People need to know what they are getting themselves into and what the scope of their event is.”
A red-carpet affair with top-level security normally requires “platinum” level event security from a top-level provider with mostly off-duty police officers on hand. A middle-level package involves licensed security guards, perhaps someone who works as a janitor during the day and moonlights as a security guard by night. The lowest level provides fire guards, which are required by law and varies from state-to-state.
7. Have Medical Support
For large capacity events always have an emergency medical crew onsite for first response and to handle the unexpected food allergy, medical condition, heart attack or slip and fall head injury.
8. Create Clear Credentials
Always make sure that staff is clearly identified as staff, and not guests, with clear description of credentials.
As an event planner, safety will often start with you. That’s why it’s so important to equip yourself with the right tools. Be proactive and be prepared.