Organizing an event brings a whole array of unique challenges. You have to find a venue, make sure that there is enough seating for everyone, you need to find an appropriate sound system, and so much more.
That being said, offering adequate security is by far one of the most important aspects of event organization, which also happens to be one of the most overlooked parts of the process. Here are some tips and advice on how to get adequate security for your event.
Perform a Risk Assessment
Proper risk assessment is often the job of a security advisor. However, you can do a basic risk assessment that will tell you roughly what kind of security is needed for the event, how many people, and more. To run a risk assessment, you need to know what type of event you are dealing with. Organizing a bingo night for seniors will bring different security issues compared to organizing a beer-drinking contest.
If the event is held outside, you have to include the surrounding area. Will the event attract unwanted attention from the outsiders? Are there any security vectors you can’t control, such as buildings surrounding the area where you are holding the event?
Assessing the Venue
Every venue is different from a security standpoint. Some venues include wide-open spaces, while others are riddled with hallways and other funnels. Some have a vertical dimension to them, while others could lack an elevated point. In short, every venue brings its own set of challenges.
Assessing the venue, understanding its layout, and how it affects security, is a crucial part of planning your security detail. If you have 3 exits that need to be covered, that will mean at least 3 members of security that are permanently occupied. The same goes for different floors.
Additionally, you need to take into account emergency procedures, such as evacuation plans in case of fire, or points of ingress for the responding emergency services.
Dedicated Command Center
Security means organization. The people in your security detail need to follow a structure — a basic one for smaller teams, but a structure nonetheless. As argued by the Security veterans at Armorous Security, every team needs a dedicated command center. Pompous terminology aside, there needs to be a command post with dedicated command personnel who will watch over the entire security detail.
Such posts are commonly located near camera feeds. If those are unavailable, command posts are often located in places where the team has a decent vantage point of the entire (or most of them) venue.
Define Points of Domination
Maintaining security over a larger venue requires you to plan and define points of domination. These are locations within the venue where your security team can have overlapping fields of responsibility. That way, in case something goes wrong, your entire team can collapse on the incident location within seconds.
Of course, the nature of the venue, its layout, and floor plan can make this task easy or difficult. That being said, you need to be able to work with what you’ve got.
Making a security team roster for an event is another important process that has to be adapted to the nature of the event as well as the venue you are working in. Security personnel come with varying levels of skill, experience, and physical abilities.
Someone who has extensive experience in the security industry, but is not physically capable of restraining a full-grown adult, may not be the most suitable pick for a party full of 20-something-year olds. Then again, that same person will be more than enough to provide security for a business conference where the risk of severe incidents is minimal.
Your security staff also needs to be vetted, especially if you are working with a crew that you are not familiar with. The vetting process will identify personnel that has had issues in the past, personnel who are a security risk themselves or are known to be combative on the job.
The nature of the event you are organizing can also affect your selection of equipment. The term equipment in this context includes both PPE as well as barriers, various security tools, crowd control tools, and more. When you are planning events, especially outdoor gatherings of political otherwise volatile nature, you have to account for all possibilities.
This point of the guide ties into everything that was mentioned before. Good risk assessment, venue assessment, and points of domination (or lack thereof) will provide you with enough information on what equipment you could need to ensure security at such events.
None of your security measures will do you much good unless you can maintain performance at 100%. This means checking every ID (if that’s a security measure), ensuring that every single person who is processed by your security meets the criteria, maintaining consistent control over the venue, and more. In order to guarantee all of these things, your choice of staff needs to be on point and whoever is in control at the command post needs to be on point as well.
Have Resources on Standby
Working with zero headroom is never a good idea, especially in the world of security. Even if you account for every possible scenario you can think of, there is still a chance that you can be blindsided. Because of that, it is always good to have a backup for your backup. That means having manpower and equipment on standby if possible.
Invest in Security
Event security is not only necessary, it is essential for the wellbeing of everyone in attendance. Security doesn’t only mean providing physical security against physical threats, it also means coordinating the attendees in case of fire or other emergencies, ensuring that everyone leaves the venue in a calm yet efficient manner.
You are responsible for a whole spectrum of tasks that will define how well your event goes. Because of that, it is necessary that you invest in proper security, whether it is an in-house team or a third-party security company.