safety guidelines for events

Simple, easy to follow guidelines to keep your attendees safe during your event.

Major catastrophes that happened in the past, as sad as they are for everyone involved, have one positive effect. More attention is focused on the safety and wellbeing of every person involved in the event. Be it the workers that set up or the attendees that enjoy the event, a lot has been done and is still being done to improve event safety.

Generally, the more attendees expected, the more emphasis must be put on event safety. This is not to say that a boardroom meeting with 10 attendees doesn’t warrant any consideration of safety at all. It does and depending on where it’s held you’ll need to focus more or less on safety issues. 

A simple rule of thumb is this: if the event is held in a venue that is normally used for events there should not be a problem. If the event is held in a venue that never was intended to be used for events (like an old warehouse) then you must look more closely at event safety.  It’s beyond the scope of this article to go further into detail on what exactly needs to be looked at, and you will definitely need an expert at your side if you’re event is on a larger scale.

Here are general safety guidelines for any event:

1. Always have the local telephone numbers of firefighters, ambulance and police ready at hand or already punched in on your cellphone.

2. Also having the telephone numbers of venue staff responsible for venue safety at hand (in your phone) is important.

3. Familiarize yourself or someone you trust with the venue. Ask:

  • Who is responsible for event safety at the venue?
  • Where are the egress routes?
  • How are fires detected and reported?
  • Where are defibrillators and first-aid kits?

4. Before your event begins, walk through the venue with venue personnel responsible for venue safety. Use a pre-event checklist, like the one provided, to make sure everything is in place and in working order. A documented safety check done before the event is important to prove you have done your part, should an incident occur.

5. If you have security guards on duty, make sure they are briefed and have the above mentioned telephone numbers.

6. During the event, have a trusted person walk around at regular intervals, making sure all egress routes remain accessible, waste is removed, security guards are in place, etc. A shortened version of the pre-event checklist can be used.

7. In the event of an incident such as fire breaking out:

  • Keep calm.
  • Call the fire department. Don’t be afraid of any repercussions afterward. The fire department will always want you to call them first. Even if they come and find only a smoldering ash tray, you have done the right thing by informing them.
  • If the fire is small, try to extinguish it with the venues fire-fighting equipment. Do not take the risk if you think the fire is too large.
  • Make sure everyone in the vicinity gets out safely.
  • Stay in close contact with the authorities in order to inform your attendees what’s happening.
  • Inform your insurance of the incident. They will tell you what else you need to do.

The three most important things to remember about event safety is to:

  1. Prepare yourself before the event.

  2. Keep calm should an incident occur.

  3. Call for help first before trying to remedy the situation by yourself. Emergency responders will always be glad you did.