Summer is upon us which means it’s the season for outdoor events! With festivals, walks, rides, parades and other outdoor soirees all on the horizon, it is imperative that we, as event organisers, ensure the safety of everyone involved.
During the planning stages, it is important to take time to think about all the risks associated with your event and create an emergency action plan. What happens if there is a storm? Wind, rain, heat? What will you do for power? Is food being served? How will you ensure it is safely prepared without proper kitchen facilities onsite? What is your garbage disposal plan?
You need to be prepared for all possible scenarios, so be sure to give yourself time to create a solid action plan. Review your plans regularly and continue to update actions as you progress with the planning of your event.
Once you have an emergency action plan ready to go, share it with the local emergency services, the core planning team and venue.
So where do you begin with creating your plan? See our list below to help get you started.
Event Details and Site Plan
List the date(s), time(s), guest count and location of your event and include a site plan or map of all areas you will be using. You will need to identify emergency exits and fire routes. Accessibility routes should also be identified.
Ensure you have all your permits in place. Emergency services may ask to see your approved permits so be sure to do your homework and have all your paperwork and approvals in order.
If the location of your event does not have any kitchen facilities onsite or running water, plan to communicate with public health to ensure food is prepared and served safely to your staff and guests. You may need to arrange training in advance and a health inspection on the day of your event as well.
Electrics and Power
Be sure to provide a map clearly indicating your power requirements, location of generators and cabling. Depending on how much power you need and the size of your generator(s), you may need to arrange a permit / inspection with the local authorities.
What will be your plan for waste? Explain your plan for garbage removal and disposal during your event. Include details about how you will manage this in every area, as well as staffing.
Staging and Décor
If your event includes staging and build elements (trusses, scaffold etc) work with the right contractors to ensure the safe installation and removal at the event. Provide a full assessment on the safety of the structure and be sure to have permits in place as necessary.
Depending on the size of your event, consider arranging for paramedics and paid duty officers to be onsite for the duration of your event. Paid duty officers or even licensed security companies can help manage crowds and movement of people throughout the space. This is particularly important if you plan to serve alcohol at your event.
A fire inspection will help ensure you have all the right plans in place to deal with a potential fire onsite. Include details on fire exits and routes as well as location of any hazardous equipment (generators, propane, BBQs, fryers etc.) you will also need to identify the location of fire extinguishers and their class.
Ensure you include the location of washrooms and hand washing stations in your plan. Be sure to include details about servicing and quantity in all areas too. You will need to ensure you have enough facilities for the number of guests you expect to attend your event.
Contingency Planning and Risk Log
You will need to show that you are thinking about all the possible scenarios. Include a breakdown of all the risks associated with your event, the level of impact and your action plan to mitigate each of those risks. This will build confidence in the local authorities and emergency services that you are well prepared and equipped to deal with emergency situations onsite.
Outdoor events are most definitely fun, but safety always comes first. If you need help with your upcoming event, send us an email. Let’s chat!
Have a safe event!
Ruby Sohi is founder and lead event planner at Royal Blue Events Management. She has extensive experience in event production and marketing. Actively involved in the community, she volunteers for the Sikh Foundation of Canada and Women of Influence. She is also a board member for the American Marketing Association (Toronto) serving as VP of Programming & Events. Ruby has delivered events across Canada and is passionate about enhancing the industry and empowering women. Read her full bio here.