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16 Nov 2020

How to Host a Safe Outdoor Event

Event organizers face a unique set of challenges when it comes to ensuring guests’ safety, especially for outdoor venues. Although outdoor events, including fairs, concerts, and private or corporate functions, allow attendees to enjoy the good weather and natural scenery, the larger crowds often pose a huge security challenge for organizers.

Suppose you’re tasked with planning the security details of an outdoor event. In that case, it’s important that you take the basic precautions, including hiring screening services, to make the attendees feel safe and welcome and make the event a success. Here are some tips to secure a small or large-scale outdoor event.

Identify all Risk Factors

Whether it’s a wedding, concert, or corporate function, any event that is hosted outdoors will face a specific set of risks that are somewhat different from those indoors. There are numerous security factors that won’t be within your control and, if not planned for, may wreak havoc with your event. Fortunately, you can prevent many potential risks with the proper preparation.

You need to ensure that the venue is not overcrowded and that the exits are clearly marked and accessible. If the venue is small, you should identify a safe number of attendees and limit admission. This may require you to restrict entry once a specific number of people have been granted entry. Think about planning spaces for sub-events and staggering the activities or performances to split the crowds and extend the admission time frame, so attendees don’t flood the place at once.

For proper crowd control, consider:

  • The status of the host and performers/speakers, and if they present any unique security threats such as agitators or criminal groups.
  • The nature of attendees, and whether they attract controversy.
  • The context of the event, and if the topics are likely to create security issues.
  • Whether there is a risk of protests or counter-protests.
  • If the media will be present.

You should also plan for other security vulnerabilities that may arise due to close proximity to a highway, the possibility of wild animals attacking, or even a section of the venue flooding.

Establish a Perimeter

This means establishing the grounds of the event and determining who enters or stays out of the venue. The perimeter may be within a fenced space, with barriers, metal detectors, and security personnel strategically positioned at access points and other crucial areas to control entry.

Make Security Measures Visible

During an event, the role of security focuses more on preventing incidents from happening rather than responding to them once they start. Ideally, potential agitators should be able to spot your security measures and reconsider their plans. This is why it’s important to have your security personnel in uniform rather than undercover or to use metal detectors openly rather than concealing them. This will deter attendees from sneaking in with a weapon or other kinds of harmful devices and creating a sense of safety and security among attendees.

Create Elaborate Security Checkpoints

It’s important to set up security checkpoints for access control, at a safe distance from the gathering. This will ensure that your security personnel address any threats before they disrupt the main function. To do this, consider setting up the registration desk at the main entrance rather than the final entrance to the event. Even if the attendees are not expected to register while there (implying there’s no pre-screening), it’s still important to check their belongings using magnetometers, hand-held metal detector wands, or a physical bag check.

Confirm Attendee Registration Details

To ensure that every visitor is at the right place, collect personal information while they register. Important details include their name, home and/or email address, occupation, and so on. This will prevent intruders from using fake identities. For high-security functions, you may even request the guests to send a copy of their ID for comparison with the original on the day of the event.

Collaborate with Local Agencies

Planning the security of outdoor events requires the collaboration of multiple parties, including event staff, volunteers, security agencies, and local law enforcement. You can ensure that each entity works efficiently by being transparent and candid about vital details, such as the nature of the event, the number of expected attendees, any famous guests, and so on. Also, establish a chain of command and state your expectations of how each entity will assist in promoting the security of the event.

Provide Emergency Medical Services

It may be necessary to have a medical support team on standby, especially where the attendees are likely to be inebriated. You may, for instance, set up a medical tent at the venue to handle any injuries or emergencies that occur on-site, rather than transporting people in need of medical attention to a nearby hospital.

Screen Your Security Team

Unfortunately, many security risks usually involve an inside-person. So, it’s essential to vet every member of your security team to ensure they don’t have ill intentions. You can do this by running background and credit checks. If your team has never worked together before, or if there are new members, introduce them to one other beforehand, and ask them to be on the lookout for other people posing as staff. You can also use a unique identifier (uniform, stamp, or wrist band) for your security team to work together easily.

Have an Emergency Plan

Don’t forget to create an emergency plan with your security team, including other security entities you will be collaborating with. The objective is to draft a response procedure in the event of a serious threat or other disasters. This plan should include:

  • Options for mass evacuation from the venue.
  • Locations of safe areas or rooms.
  • How to respond to an active shooter.
  • Where staff should meet and how to communicate during an emergency.
  • Who will be in charge of directing guests during an emergency.
  • Notifications and signage to instruct guests on how to move and respond during the emergency.

Final Note

Don’t let the risk of unforeseen incidents and threats stop you from organizing marvellous outdoor events. At the same time, never assume that your outdoor function will proceed without any hitches. Having a successful event means making contingency plans for every possible risk so it can proceed safely. This ranges from meticulous access control to having a reliable security team through professional screening services.

For more information on how to host safe outdoor functions or to request a free quote for your event’s security needs, contact Optimum Security.

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