A thorough security plan is a necessary and critical component of ensuring the safety and well-being of your attendees. Putting that plan into place should begin around the time you choose your venue and include the following steps:
1. Risk Assessment. What kind of event is it? Is the focus of the event controversial? Are any of your guests or featured speakers high-profile? How many guests will attend? Does the venue team have a clear and executable plan in place for emergencies? Consider these and any other factors that could potentially place your guests at risk.
2. Hire Security Experts. Event security professionals are specially trained in issues such as crowd control, evacuation, and venue access, among other things. Include your event security supplier in your assessment meetings to ensure they are up to speed on logistics, schedules, personnel, venue layout, and other important details.
3. Be Prepared. Once you’ve assessed potential risks, identify solutions and protocols for applying them. For example, what is the procedure for evacuation in the event of a fire? How will security personnel deal with protestors or anyone trying to gain access to the venue without permission?
4. Communication. Make sure to communicate your security plan to both staff and security personnel. Identify security personnel in charge to staff and coordinate the process for reporting safety and security issues to those key people. Confirm that the security team has reliable communication equipment.
5. Vetting. Screen all staff and vendors for security issues prior to the event. Make sure all staff have clearly displayed badges or credentials. Establish a process for checking in guests with identification, and ensuring they are on the guest list. Let guests know prior to the event that they and their personal belongings are subject to search.
6. Contact Local Authorities. Establish a relationship and line of communication with local fire, police, and emergency services. Identify contacts within each organization and the methods by which you will reach them.
The number of guests, event location, weather, and even alcohol served at the venue can pose risks at an event. By putting a comprehensive security plan into place long before the event, you can feel confident that your attendees and staff will have a safe and enjoyable time.