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Venue and Event Organiser Responsibilities.

Planning for incidents and emergencies

You must have plans in place to respond effectively to incidents and other emergencies that might occur at your event/venue and

needs to be in proportionate to the level of risk presented by event and the potential extent and severity of the incident.

What you need to do

Consider risks to the event and those guests and staff present.

Develop emergency procedures to be followed by staff and guests in an emergency, eg a fire or structural failure.

Include contingencies to deal with incidents and situations such as severe weather, or the unavailability of key staff in your team.

You will also need to consider your response to more serious emergencies, including major incidents that will require the help of the emergency services and implementation of their regional emergency plans (which may not be specific to your event/venue).

For all but the smallest events with low risks (or those in fixed venues with established procedures), draw up and discuss your plans with the security staff, police, fire and rescue service, ambulance service.

Both organiser and emergency services should be clear about who will do what if there is an emergency or major incident.

Developing an emergency plan

Most event emergency plans should address the same basic requirements, to:

Emergency procedures

Procedures for staff and guests to follow in an emergency should include:

First aid

It is strongly recommended that you include the visiting public in your first aid plan as well as your staff, medical and ambulance needs assessment. You should balance onsite medical and ambulance provision against existing local NHS and ambulance service provision and capacity, Plans should be drawn up in conjunction with the local NHS ambulance service to clarify how casualties will be taken to hospital.


Appoint people to implement your procedures if there is an incident or emergency.

Make sure that all relevant staff members, no matter what their normal working role, understand what they should do in an emergency, eg the location of exits, emergency equipment, how to raise the alarm and from whom they should receive instructions.


Emergencies can develop rapidly. Make sure that you are equipped to move the guests and staff to a place of safety without delay. The following will be helpful:

  • Plan escape routes and make sure they remain available and unobstructed.

  • Consider signs for people unfamiliar with escape routes glow in the dark

  • Light all escape routes sufficiently for people to use them safely in an emergency.

  • Make sure emergency lighting complies with the requirements of BS 5266-1 . Use an independent power source, eg a generator, in case the mains electricity supply fails.

  • If using floodlighting, lighting towers etc as temporary lighting make sure it does not shine in people’s faces along the escape route, making it more difficult for them. As an alternative, ‘festoon lighting’ along an escape route prevents glare.

  • Plan how, where necessary, you will evacuate people to a place of relative safety from where they can proceed to a place of total safety.

  • Plan to provide additional assistance to people with a disability, those with limited mobility and children.

  • Where children are separated from their parents, as in crèches, play areas etc, make arrangements for their safe evacuation clear so that parents don’t try to reach them against the normal direction of escape.

  • All doors and gates leading to final exits, as well as site exits themselves, should be available for immediate use at all times. Check they are:

  • unlocked – if security is an issue they should be staffed not locked

  • free from obstructions

  • open outwards in the direction of escape

After the incident:

  • Once the risk has been reduced to a tolerable level, you can consider restarting the performance / event.

  • Only restart the performance after consultation with other key agencies on site, eg emergency services.


In many cases, validation of your emergency plan may take the form of a table top exercise, where you and others work through a range of scenarios and establish the effectiveness of your responses.

Test the communication systems, eg radios and public announcement equipment, before the event.

For assistance on any of these matters Defend International Security can help just click on our link:!event-security/z1da7

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