Event Preparations // A. Spencer Koulchar Updated 3.15.18
As many of us are circling in anticipation for the end of this dreadful Michigan winter, sometimes it can seem like that’s all we’re doing – waiting. I’d like to propose for a moment, if I may, that instead of remaining in a season of downtime, that we allow a renewed mindset of proactiveness and production to replace our inherent complacency. As the unfortunate, but increasing, trend of gun violence and general violent incidences steadily plagues the doorsteps of our nations churches, hallways of our public schools, and places of commerce within our communities; we mustn’t allow ourselves to be conditioned to react to these traumatic events rather, become proactive at circumventing the potential for them to ever even occur.
As an avid spokesperson of all things ‘risk management’, Caudill Thornquist Group has risen to the ranks of becoming one of the premier leader’s in providing insurance solutions and risk-related resources to nonprofits and human service organizations throughout the Midwest. For over 40 years, CTG has played an integral part in promoting and protecting thousands of special events and from our experience, Easter generally prompts many parallels to these same types of risk exposures, to include gaps in safety and security.
To best serve your ministry or general nonprofit, I want to leave you with a few reminders that promote ‘best practices’ for your event and any information that can help educate and prepare you for the future, whether you are a participant or planner of any upcoming gatherings during this Easter season.
We Advocate Reviews, so Review your Safety Plan. To be frank, a lot of unfortunate scenarios can be easily navigated if there is time set aside to revisit the safety and security plan that’s been established by the organization or event committee.
- Review and disclose all procedures to staff, coordinators, and volunteers to ensure a proper response in the event of an emergency.
- If there isn’t a plan set in place, create one! (If your organization doesn’t know where to start or how to create a safety plan, we would be grateful for the opportunity to help!)
Have a Plan, and a Contingency Plan, and even then – Another Plan. With special events, comes a correlating relationship in attendance and with that attendance, an extra care towards the logistics and planning of that particular event. As before, this plan must be clearly communicated to all staff members involved in hosting it – here are some things to consider:
- Will the established venue, whether owned or leased;
- Allow for free roaming of the premises or stay more directed and closed off to certain areas?
- Have marked entrances, exits, doors, etc. to ensure smooth movement of foot and utility traffic?
- Have fully communicated rules and regulations, regarding building or event practices?
- What are the service and/or event times, and has there been prior planning to accommodate a larger mass of people to abide by the timeline?
- Is there a maximum occupancy, regardless of whether a building or outdoors?
- If so, is there a set plan, for either a ‘closed doors’ limit or an area designated as an overflow section?
- Is there an evacuation plan in place?
A Larger Event ought to translate Heavier Security. As a combat veteran, I hold this saying close to everything I do: ‘Hope for the best but prepare for the worst’. With holiday programs for ministries or nonprofits just on the horizon, the same trend is reiterated once again; these events can draw many people and although it’s vital to promote a warming welcome to everyone attending, it’s comparatively important to not welcome those who look to exploit situations as these.
- Establish a known presence – Assemble, train, and unify a group of trustworthy volunteers, if possible, placing a leader in charge with a certified background in professional security.
- Guard all Apertures – Keep watch on all entryways, exits, balconies, large windows, and areas that are off-limits. If the manpower is available, designate a marked volunteer to monitor all specified apertures to portray a secured atmosphere. Lock all doors not being used, and mark areas with sign points if without an assigned volunteer.
- Secure Valuables – Collect money in tamper-proof bags, and deposit or lock up cash immediately after the event, based on your organization’s money-handling procedures.
To recap on our main points, review all safety plans that have been established and update as needed. If your organization or event committee doesn’t have a plan, please consider contacting us, so we can assist you in those affairs. It is so important to have an overall plan for any given service or event, and that includes having contingencies set in place to mitigate any possible outliers. Lastly, build up your security to properly protect your belongings and everyone partaking in the event, especially. The bottom line is this: taking the time to apply these practical steps to fill the safety and security gaps within your operations, could ensure the difference between staging a tragedy or hosting a triumphant event.