Although the attendees and speakers would likely be colleagues, work events are not free of security threats. As the event coordinator, you should never underestimate the importance of security in any event. But event security is not just about filling the venue with security personnel. It entails identifying potential threats and preventing or mitigating them.
The correct measures at your work event will keep your guests safe and contribute significantly to its success. Use these tips to keep your guests safe.
Identify potential safety threats
Trying to secure an event without prior knowledge of potential threats is like trying to hit a target with your eyes shut. You will most certainly fail. So, the first move when planning security at a work event is to identify potential threats. Some of the risks that should be high on your list include the following:
- Medical emergencies and injury to a guest
- Uncontrolled movement and crowds
- Accidents during the event spills
- Unexpected calamities
- External threats due to location, nature of guests/speakers, or venue vulnerabilities
Once you have identified the risks, proceed and prepare a security strategy to embed in the event planning process. The security measures you will take will depend on the probability of the threat and the impact a threat would have. Below are security tips to keep your guests safe.
Secure the venue
Where do you plan to hold the event? Indoor venues are usually easier to secure compared to outdoor venues. If you settle on an open-air venue, map out the perimeter and mount temporary fencing and barricades. On the other hand, study the blueprints and mark your space in an indoor venue.
Whether it is an indoor or outdoor venue, learn as much as possible about the place and identify safety hazards. Pay attention to issues like ventilation, the safety of vendors, damaged sections, and the presence of dangerous substances.
Make sure the safety team is aware of these hot spots. Create a diagram you can easily share and use to communicate effectively to the team and give them visual mastery.
Advise guests concerning the company code of conduct
Does the company have an internal policy addressing personal code of conduct while on work premises?
If yes, use the code of conduct to discourage guests from irresponsible drinking and other anti-social behavior. Also, dot the venue with communications about the dangers of drinking and driving.
You can also include safety and security information cards or pamphlets in any gifting materials for your guests. Many events provide bags or baskets to attendees filled with branded merchandise from sponsors or from the host–you can use this to give the necessary information, or perhaps even safety materials such as masks, to your guests.
Communication is essential for the execution and flow of safety operations. When staff and guests know the safety steps and what to expect, they will cooperate.
Have a team briefing for the event staff and conduct some drills. Communicate to the guests using audio messages, signage, and notifications. Some of the messages you can communicate are:
- The routes to use to access the venue and where access is prohibited
- Materials guests are not allowed to have within the venue
- Smoking and areas
- Emergency numbers
- What to do and where to assemble if there is an emergency
Control the crowd
How many people do you expect to attend the event? An event with high attendance is also likely to have agitators and disorderly movement. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, crowd and movement control are vital aspects of any event.
Depending on the number of guests and the venue layout, ensure you have sufficient and robust crowd management equipment like cones, fences, yellow tape, and stanchions. Good equipment will help security personnel to be more effective in the following security measures:
- Keeping entrances and exits clear
- Organizing and monitoring queues
- Keep prohibited zones off-limits
- Segment guest zones, for example, areas reserved for VIPs
Crowd management equipment will also help you monitor guest numbers and keep each zone in the facility within safe capacity.
Document and publish a plan to handle emergencies
During the event, the unexpected could happen. Be ready to detect and respond accordingly in case the worst happens.
If there is a need for evacuation, it is crucial to keep the attendees calm and maintain safety as they exit. A well-trained security team, crowd management equipment, and clear signages will help you keep the situation under control.
The procedures for handling emergencies and contact numbers should be available for all.
To sum up
Prioritize safety and security when planning any event at work. The tips above will help you to ensure your guests are safe. Security checklists will help you to stay on top of everything, but you could drop the ball on one or two things if you handle other duties. Call on the experts and let them handle it.
If you don’t already use the services of one, consider hiring a security firm and charge them with the responsibility of keeping your guests safe.