Written by David Kramer
Once you have identified the major security risks for your event (see part 1) it is time to start evaluating and coordinating the resources that will be required to respond to those risks appropriately.
The most critical security resource is the people involved in staffing your event. The team responsible to assist with the action plan will consist of an array of individuals whose association to the event will vary. Of course you’ll have the local police department and primary jurisdiction involved, as well as the venue staff and your staff. It will be helpful to also include key volunteers, vendor and sponsor leads, and if applicable, your security firm. Should the need arise for further support you’ll want to work with your police contacts to coordinate. It is better to bring in this last group sooner than later. I’ve never heard someone say, “I wish we had waited longer to get extra help.”
Communication is another critical component of every security plan, and overlooking it can be a great detriment. If everyone knows their role but doesn’t communicate their actions or needs during an incident, things will fall apart quickly. Figuring out who will talk to whom is not something that can wait until you are in the midst of an incident. You’ll need to have your key players informed of who to go to, with what information, and when. This can get very complex for large scale events, making it all the more important to have clear lines drawn from one person to the next creating the appropriate hierarchy. Every individual should be clear who they are getting information from and to whom they share information. Test, evaluate and build redundant communication methods for all the key players. Two-way radios, cell phones, applications, and social media are all great options to consider.
In addition to the internal communication surrounding the given incident, you’ll need your Media Relations or PR team ready to go. This team will help handle the external messaging, as well as create and distribute the proper information to the event participants and those involved on the periphery such as family and friends, volunteers, and other related parties. This team will be critical to getting out ahead of issues that may arise and setting the proper tone surrounding the given scenario.
When it comes to infrastructure, consider your setup from multiple perspectives. Of course the participant experience is first and foremost, and building the site and operational structure keeping that in mind will ensure a positive experience for all. Also keep in mind what actions and resources may need to occur in the event of an emergency. And finally, what preventative event security measures can be implemented with minimal inconvenience to participants and staff.
You may or may not see it coming, but with the proper coordination in place, the details of the scenario will have less significance as you’ll have all your resources aligned and ready to jump to action. You will serve yourself, your participants, and the public best by having prepared for these situations.
For further information, start with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security (NCS4).
Participants, logistics, parking, first aid, food, signs…. So many things to get under control to ensure a successful event. Control being the operative word. What about the things you can’t control? A rowdy participant who can’t even control him/herself. A protest launched toward your event that gets out of hand. Or worse yet, the unexpected element that someone else has planned for you and your guests. These are all things to think through as your event concept is developed and seen through to completion.