The word event paints a happy picture of gathering- in the form of ceremony, concert, sports festival, party etc. But of late, certain incidents have changed the way the world perceives such gatherings.
And this new development is not even a bit baseless.
There are a few recent terror incidents have shaken the world and has made security a major concern for the society:
1) Manchester Bombings, where an Ariana Grande concert ended on a terrible note with bombings killing 22 people and injuring 116 others.
2) Boston Marathon Bombings, where the participants were welcomed at the finish line with bomb blasts.
3) Orlando Bombing incident was that of a hate crime where a shooter killed no more than 50 people in a bid to oppose the LGBT rights.
Millions of people have talked about their effects on the economy as a whole. This discussion has made its way to the Event Industry as well.
Event professionals are concerned about making their events a safer space, assuring the attendees of their security. It has been noticed that a widespread concern persists among the masses at least in that particular area even after being notified about the measures taken for their safety.
This is why there is a need for the organisers to walk that extra mile and ensure that the arrangements are in place to stop any untoward activity from taking place. This is what actually builds the confidence of the audience for the event.
So what is required to be done on the part of the event planners in order to gain this confidence and make sure that the attendees have a secure and overall amazing event experience?
Here are few tips event planners can keep in mind for organising safe and secure events:
1) Selection of Venue:
The planning for event security must begin right from the inception of your event plan. While selecting a venue for your event, be sure to keep in mind the safety aspect of the venue.
Select a venue that is convenient and also in a city and an area with the lowest crime rate. Be sure to double check if the venue that you are booking has their own trained security staff and proper surveillance facilities. Better safe than sorry.
2) Crowd Control:
Managing the crowd can be really difficult especially in case of large-scale events. It is impossible to keep tabs on all the attendees. It requires more number of security staff. This will surely interfere with your budget.
This can be simplified with the help of event technology such as event apps, beacons, Near field communication systems, etc. that facilitate geo-tagging of the attendees, thus making it easier to track the attendees and control the crowd.
3) Digital check-ins:
Digital check-ins will simplify the process by eliminating the tedious process of manual check-ins and long queues. This makes crowd management easier.
It also helps in creating an accurate and reliable database of the attendees present at the venue, reducing the possibility of mistakes. Such check-ins is secured by a digital key or password. The event organizers can easily track any unauthorized member if present at the venue.
4) Trained Event Security Team:
Most venues for such events no matter the scale of events have some form of in-house security arrangement. But, it is always better to hire a trained private security team. Have an event security plan ready at hand and have a security briefing before the event.
Set specific guidelines for luggage checking counters and secure both interior and exterior parameters of the venue. A trained security team equipped to reduce risk and manage any such situation is always a good investment.
As mentioned above, it is difficult, almost impossible to manually track every single attendee at every corner of the venue. CCTV cameras are the most preferred tools for digital surveillance.
Drones are now an add on event tech tool that can be used for such security purposes. Drones provide a bird-eye view of the entire venue and are a suitable option for large-scale big budget events.
With the advent of technology, event professionals now opt for digitizing multiple aspect of event-planning such as registrations, event promotions and feedback. With the entire attendee database being in digital format, cyber security too should be a priority.
A few points to be considered for cyber security are:
1) Social Media Monitoring:
Monitor all you social media accounts in terms of posts and engagements. Keep track of all your posts and the engagement you get on them.
Monitor the audience that engages in these posts and check their profiles to ensure their legitimacy. Social media is always prone to hacking or mischief. Secure your accounts as much as possible and monitor them regularly.
2) Data Safety :
Having a detailed event analytics system in place really simplifies it for the event planners. They can gain access to a comprehensive and detailed database generated automatically with no additional efforts.
But, it is important to secure and encrypt all these databases with a digital key for data safety. The access to the data should be with authorized personnel only.
3) Experienced IT support:
Take as many precautions as you can to secure all your digital presence. But, be sure to have an experience IT support equipped to deal with any kind of mishap if at all any such incidents occur.
Have all your accounts and database encrypted, check up on your digital security arrangements regularly and keep updating your security systems.
4) Digital Payments:
This is one of the most important aspects to be considered in terms of cyber security.Event planners usually prefer online registration and ticketing. Be sure to have a secure payment portal for such online transactions.
Tie-up with trusted platforms such as Paypal. If you’re building and using your own payment gateways hosted from your domain, be sure to encrypt it properly.
There are some event organisers who have addressed this issue in the past. Major international events of the sorts of UEFA (for a detailed report; click here) and various summits like G-20 have taken major steps towards event security in every way possible.
Although the safety of this sort in small events is not possible, has been said time and again. But if not every bit of their security plan, basic security steps such as checking of a person by a metal detector, availability of disaster management plans, social media checks, etc. can at least be inculcated in all the events.
Use of event technology, sustainable event-planning, etc. can help save up resources, thus sparing a part of budget that can be spent on security if required.
Event-planners must always have a holistic approach to event security, in matte the case of event. Go with your instinct and most of all be alert. Always double check the availability of help in and around the venue, list down all emergency contacts and a team for crisis management. Most of all be calm and think fast if at all something goes wrong.
Stay safe and stay strong!
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Himani Sheth is a Mass Communication major with a passion for writing. She has helped organise multiple events in the past from conferences to college fests. She has a keen interest in event tech and is a major travel addict, a movie buff and an avid reader. Say hello to her on Twitter @HimaniSheth
On – 19 Jun, 2017 By Himani Sheth