Monday, April 27, 2015

To Plan Successful Events, Plan for the Risks

In "Municipal Special Event Safety" (Professional Safety, April 2015, pp. 59), author Christopher Kittleson explains that a municipality must carefully plan special events in order to identify and control a wide range of potential hazards. Kittleson has worked with the City of North Miami on its Halloween Haunted Trail, an annual event that sees about 2,500 patrons pass through in 3 hours. Here's the basic steps that group takes to manage risk at this event.

  • Recruit volunteers.
  • Review budget and supplies (3 months prior). 
  • Consider event insurance coverage and hold harmless/indemnity agreements.
  • Clear trees, trim dead branches and evaluate pathways for clearance (1 month prior). 
  • Coordinate comprehensive structural evaluation by city engineer/building department for shop-made structures (e.g., haunted house, existing infrastructure, canal bridges) (1 month prior). 
  • Evaluate water’s edge for steepness and areas marked for fencing.
  • Mark areas for Scare Zones with paint for guidance in accordance with event plan.
  • Inspect at night to assess lighting conditions.
  • Evaluate sidewalks for slip, trip and fall hazards, and repair as required.
  • City safety officer conducts safety meeting and walkthrough to evaluate event plans on site (2 weeks prior).
  • Establish emergency evacuation locations, and identify and review exit signage and fire extinguisher stations with staff. 
  • Run through a full dress rehearsal to review Scare Zones with staff in the evening and correctly place lighting (1 week prior).
  • Conduct night training of staff and volunteers, including a full workshop on etiquette, scare tactics, safety and evacuation routes.
  • Perform final walkthrough including full lighting review/placement and evaluation of delineation of pedestrian walkways to determine whether lines are properly located as per the plan.  
  • Complete a final walkthrough (1 day prior).
  • Execute the event (day of event). 
  • Clean up and remove temporary structures (day after the event).

Find an event safety checklist on PS Extra.