15 December 2023

Planning for Incidents and Emergencies at Events

Planning For Incidents and Emergencies at Events

The safety and security of attendees, staff, and performers are paramount when organising an event. Planning for incidents and emergencies is a critical aspect of event management that can’t be overlooked. Here’s a comprehensive guide on preparing for potential event incidents and emergencies.

Assessing the Risks

The first step in planning is to conduct a thorough risk assessment. This means identifying potential hazards that could lead to incidents or emergencies during your event. Consider factors such as crowd size, the nature of the event, the venue layout, and any specific threats that could arise.

Developing an Emergency Plan

Once you have identified the risks, you should develop an emergency response plan tailored to the specific needs of your event. This plan should include:

  • Communication Strategies

Establish clear lines of communication between all parties involved, including security personnel, event staff, and local emergency services. Determine how you will communicate with attendees in the event of an emergency.

  • Evacuation Procedures

Outline the steps for a safe and orderly evacuation. Mark all exits and ensure they remain unobstructed. Establish meeting points where attendees can regroup after an evacuation.

  • Medical Response

Plan for emergencies by having trained medical staff on-site and accessible first aid stations. Determine the procedure for handling medical incidents, including transporting injured individuals to local hospitals if necessary.

  • Crowd Management

Develop strategies to manage crowd behaviour to prevent incidents like stampedes or violent outbreaks. Train your staff to recognise signs of unrest and to de-escalate situations.

  • Liaison with Local Authorities

Work closely with local law enforcement and emergency services to ensure they are informed about your event and can assist if required.

Training and Preparation

Training your staff and volunteers on emergency procedures is essential. Everyone involved should be familiar with the emergency plan and understand their role in executing it. Conduct drills to practice the emergency response and refine your procedures.

Incident Command System

Implement an incident command system to manage emergency response efforts efficiently. This structured approach assigns personnel specific roles and responsibilities, streamlining decision-making and resource allocation during emergencies.

Equipment and Supplies

Ensure you have the necessary equipment and supplies to deal with incidents and emergencies. This includes two-way radios for communication, emergency lighting, signage, first aid kits, and any other specialised equipment that may be necessary.

Continual Monitoring

Throughout the event, continually monitor the situation. This includes keeping an eye on weather conditions, the behaviour of the crowd, and any other variables that could impact safety.

Post-Event Review

After the event, conduct a debriefing to review how well your emergency planning was implemented and identify improvement areas. This step is crucial for enhancing your procedures for future events.


Planning for incidents and emergencies is a crucial aspect of event management. By assessing risks, developing a comprehensive emergency plan, and ensuring all staff are adequately trained, you can be prepared to handle unexpected situations and maintain the safety and security of your event. Remember, successful planning is about preparing for the worst while hoping for the best, ensuring peace of mind for you and a safe experience for your attendees.

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