Every event host wants to provide a safe and memorable experience for guests. But hosting a great event starts long before the concert, game or show begins. It takes weeks of planning and preparation to prepare for all the knowns and unknowns. In fact, according to one report, close to 48% of event planners prepares for their event six to twelve months ahead of time.
Events security is crucial but also challenging to prepare for. That’s because there are so many people in one condensed area; it’s impossible to watch everyone at the same time. It’s important not to cut corners when preparing for any event so that the big day or evening is enjoyable for attendees, staff and performers.
Some of the top strategies for minimizing security risks at events include the designation of enclosed areas, making attendance strictly by invitation, having security operatives on standby, having an organized seating arrangement, using CCTV in event areas and displaying it on a large screen, crowd control, and strategically containing dangerous objects in and around the event place.
1. Designate the event area
One of the major points to note about event security is that potential threats are based largely on the environment in which the event is taking place. Hosts, as well as event planners, are advised to check the security level of the event place before moving forward with the show.
It is not enough to just consider the capacity or physical size to determine if the venue is appropriate for guests. You should also check up on the history of crime in the area, and anything nearby that could add an additional level of danger to the event. If, after a thorough check, there is no cause for alarm, you can then proceed to move forward with plans.
Hosts and event planners are also advised to use an enclosed area. This is because crowd management is better achieved when event areas are clearly defined. Resource management will also be dependent on the size of the space, which is why planners need to know how much space they’ll be using.
2. Make attendance strictly by invitation
Another important tip for minimizing security risks in events is to control the number of people in attendance. To achieve this, hosts and event planners either issue a limited number of tickets, or send out special invitations to guests.
Though tickets are sometimes resold or gifted, venues have at least some idea of who has purchased tickets. If invitations were issued, it may be a good idea to add a small hologram or barcode that is hard to duplicate somewhere on the invite. This will make it much harder for someone to create a fake ticket.
3. Security staff on standby
Events often have dozens of security guards on standby. Since events can happen at any time, temporary guards are usually hired. It’s easier to hire many people for a few events than have a permanent security team that only works once a month. Security guards show up hours before an event. They will continue to watch the event space hours after the event has ended.
Security guards are not only trained to handle high-pressure situations, they actually help to deter people from acting inappropriately. They also give attendees a sense of confidence that things are under control.
If you are planning an event and you need to put a guard tour system in place, you can also consider a simple platform like Patrol Points. This tour system allows anyone to quickly and easily set up routes for guards to follow. Once the durable NFC tags are in place, custom routes can be created and changed from the app. Guards who routinely work at your venue may be provided an account and can conduct patrols to ensure stairwells, bathrooms, parking lots and restricted areas, are safe.
Having security operatives on standby is a must. These are the people who will help ensure the event goes as smoothly as possible. And if there is an issue, they will be the first ones to help resolve it.
4. An organized seating arrangement
Another safety strategy is organized seating. Event hosts and planners alike are advised to set the seats that are meant for guests in an orderly manner. When this is done correctly, it becomes much easier to supervise the activities of members of the crowd. On the flip side, an informal seating arrangement in an event place increases the likelihood of criminal activities.
There should be a moderate spacing technique that prevents unnecessary closeness of people in event places. Of course, in stadiums, this is not always possible. However, most modern stadiums are designed in a way where security can easily watch large crowds and get to individuals with relative ease.
5. Use CCTV cameras and display footage on a large screen
Setting up CCTV cameras in strategic locations in and around venues is also recommended for enhancing event security. Not only should the CCTV cameras be installed, but they must be monitored before, during, and after the event. Most people aren’t looking for cameras unless they are planning to do something inappropriate, which is why you don’t necessarily want the cameras to be hidden (but you do want them to be high enough so that people can’t tamper with them). If guests can see cameras, they’re less likely to do something bad in front of them.
The purpose of the large screen is exactly what you think; it’s easier to watch activities and multiple feeds with a big screen. Security guards shouldn’t have to guess what’s going on; the footage should be clear.
Security staff watching the footage should have a reliable and easy way to communicate with others who are patrolling the venue. This will help to ensure maximum security, and those in attendance can rest assured that their safety is a top priority.
6. Crowd control
Ushers who welcome guests in arenas and venues and show them to their seats also have important roles to play in the enhancement of security. These staff are not just there to help guests find their seats; they also help to control the flow of foot traffic, and minimize rowdiness if a small group starts to get rambunctious. Giving people a polite but firm talking to, is a way of achieving this. Stopping this behavior prevents them from being escorted out of the venue, and it also keeps other guests safe and happy.
7. Strategic storage of dangerous objects
Event hosts and stadium managers should avoid the careless placement of dangerous objects around the event place. This is not only to prevent people from misusing a chemical or weapon; event staff could mistake it for something else and end up hurting themselves.
Those that do have authorization to use or handle a dangerous object must be trained about how to use it, store it, and unlock it. Permissions should only be issued on a “need-to-have” basis.
Hosting a large event is exciting; some people remember concerts or games for the rest of their lives. But events also require lots of planning and lots of resources. There are many variables to think about – and the more people that there are, the more likely it is that something will go wrong. As such, venue managers need to take every reasonable safety precaution that they can to minimize risks that would negatively impact guests, staff, performers, and the venue.