An emergency plan is a written procedure explaining to people in the workplace what to do in an emergency. The complexities surrounding an emergency plan are often difficult to juggle, as the nature of events are accustomed to change.
Although it is not easy to practice an emergency evacuation for your event, there are lots of areas that you need to consider. During an emergency you want to make sure your team will be able to react in the best way possible way for the best outcome.
Working through emergency situations as a team is the best way to think about what could happen and how that might play out during your event. It is much better working as a team to do this with my heads around the table than just one. This will also ensure that your team understand the plans and are more likely to remember what to do on the day.
Here are some examples of emergencies that you may need to consider for your event:
Natural disasters – flooding, earthquakes etc.
Missing child/persons/vulnerable person
Fatalities (natural causes/event related/medical)
Animals on site
Bomb threat, suspicious packages, terrorism
Once you have identified the possible risks, you will then want to work out a plan that will help mitigate them. You will first need to understand your venue:
Does the venue have a process in place already that you need to incorporate into your planning?
Will it work for your event or do you need an additional process?
Is the assembly point clear and large enough for your event?
Are there multiple exits? Would some work better than others?
Is there signage in place?
The following are key areas you might want to include in your planning:
What do you do in each situation?
Who is on site – numbers, is your event ticketed or an open venue?
Who is in Charge? Does the person change or is it the same person for each situation?
Who is the escalation point of contact?
Who to notify when emergencies happen? Is this straight to the emergency department or is it quicker going through your event control?
Who needs to be notified when this happens?
How will you manage media? Do you have a media policy?
Can you do drills for when this situation takes place?
Do you mention these in your briefings/inductions?
Do staff know where the exit points are for your venue?
How will you know that everyone is safe and accounted for?
Once your procedures are in place, the next step is to work on how you are going to train your event staff, volunteers and various people on your site and who will lead in this situation. Some events work through different tabletop exercises with their team throughout the year to keep them up to speed. You want your team to be able to lead in any situation with confidence and without hesitation.
It is always best practice to get advice on your venue from those that know it best, and also talking to the emergency services who would assist in a situation. Talk with your local police, fire services, hospitals so they know about your event and your processes. You want them to know how to get to you the fastest way possible in an emergency, so informing them about road closures etc. will improve response time.