As we’ve officially turned the calendar corner into spring, it’s actually starting to feel a lot more like spring. In a relationship with the season, there is a lot of excitement in the air and on the minds of many of us, myself included. Some of these might be trying to remember to do your taxes on time this year, possibly searching for a vacation spot or getting an early jump on scouting out candidates for your child’s next school in the coming season. If really desperate thoughts captivate you, like me, maybe you’re trying to recall the last time you went on a date with your spouse and how you’re going to find time to do that. Well, wherever you’re at, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone in your endless thoughts of life provisions, as many of these situations might resonate with you.
Out of all of this, however, I’d like to point out something very important from a practical sense, which should be on ALL our minds. With all of the grand plans, upcoming events, and hustle and bustle of this renewing season, it seems that though the big picture is there, sometimes the small things can be easily overlooked.
Although not as prominent as other holidays celebrated within the United States, Easter is undoubtedly a large attracter to special events. Whether sponsored by local churches, nonprofit organizations or even held by the community, there can be inherent dangers commonly associated with large-scale activities. With that being said, I want to leave you with a quick reminder and any information that can help educate and prepare you, whether you are a participant or planner of any upcoming gatherings during this Easter season.
As being the premier leader in Nonprofit Risk Management in this region for 35+ years, the Caudill Thornquist Group has been involved in thousands of special events. As subject matter experts, my colleagues and I have put our heads together in order to craft some specific considerations we feel are fundamental and should bring us back to the basics.
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 in order 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, Brotherhood Mutual has some great resources. 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 echelons 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 in order 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 a large number of 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 in order to portray a cordon. 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 updated if need be. 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 event, and that includes having contingencies set in place to mitigate any possible curve balls. Lastly, buff up your security to properly protect your belongings and everyone partaking in the event, especially. All in all, taking a small amount of time to apply these basic and practical steps of preparations, precautions, and considerations will polish any hard edges of your special event and assure for a fantastic big picture event for everyone.