How to manage crowds at big events
Holding events can be as challenging as it is rewarding. And if you’re an event host, you’ll already know that managing the crowds and making sure everything goes off without a hitch comes with the territory. That’s why it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to identify any potential hazards and put the measures in place to ensure crowd safety. It can be a difficult task preparing for a large crowd, but with the right tools and strategies, you can greatly reduce the risk of any unplanned blips.
Here at Rubber Box, we’ve been a leading supplier of power distribution boxes for decades. And have supplied our equipment to some of the biggest venues and events, not only in the UK, but worldwide. So when it comes to events and crowds, you can count on us to steer you in the right direction. Here’s everything you need to know about the essentials of crowd management, so you can get the basics down before you start planning your big event.
Why is crowd management important?
Firstly, good crowd management helps ensure everyone’s safety. Everyone in the venue or the event should be able to do their job properly, and / or have a good time without worrying about their welfare. And in addition to safety, effective crowd management streamlines an event and makes the experience enjoyable. This can be anything from queues for refreshments or toilets, obtaining the correct amount of supplies, all the way down to running orders and schedules. Effective crowd management can also give you a competitive advantage over your competitor events. Not only will you likely get the opportunity to host another event, the attendees are more likely to return because level a of trust will have been established. Plus, they will remember how great your event was! So it’s always best to be 110% prepared wherever possible.
Steps to take to effectively manage a crowd
Large crowds can become incredibly dangerous if they aren’t managed correctly, especially at events where emotions are running high and there’s a lot of energy in the space. People rely on the organisers to work out the logistics of health and safety so they can turn up and have a great time. So here are some effective crowd management tips.
Conduct thorough risk assessments
First and foremost, risk assessments are the key to a properly managed crowd and a safe event. Organisers must first assess the risks, identify any possible hazards and take steps to eliminate them before the event planning can begin, especially where large crowds are considered. It’s also important to remember to consider overcrowding, accessibility for people with disabilities, and any other factors when deciding on the appropriate actions to take.
Know your audience
All crowds are different. For example, food festival crowds are going to behave differently from the crowds at a football match. It’s all about knowing what to anticipate so you can effectively plan for any scenario that may arise. This means having the right risk assessments conducted, as well as the appropriate amount of security and event staff hired to accommodate the numbers you’re expecting. It’s also best to familiarise yourself with the situations that could potentially arise as sometimes it’s inevitable – like a particularly rowdy football match for example. If emotions are high and a skirmish breaks out, it’s always best to have a plan in place so you can easily rectify the situation and restore calm.
Set clear roles and responsibilities
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that when managing large crowds at events, the roles and responsibilities relating to crowd safety need to be clearly defined from an early stage. This includes both normal and emergency situations, just so you’re prepared to deal with the unforeseen or unexpected in the event that a problem occurs. So whatever management structure you decide to run with, you must first:
Identify someone/designate a team responsible for various safety duties e.g crowd control, security, stewards, door staff and medical assistance
Ensure every member of staff is aware of their individual responsibilities and protocol
Assess the space in which the event is to take place
Assess the venue or location and determine its suitability. The event location should be set up in a way that crowds can easily navigate, be moved around and easily exit the site safely in case of an emergency. For outdoor spaces, the site should be divided into zones, for example: attractions, bars and seating areas. Additionally, you’ll need to clearly mark arrival and exit points.
Inform any relevant parties
Once you’ve taken care of the lion’s share of the health and safety, then you need to let the relevant organisations know what’s going on. Letting any relevant parties know what to expect so they can also prepare and assist you in the planning of the event is crucial. This could include the following:
- Emergency services (such as the police and the fire brigade)
- Event contractors
- Local authorities
- Neighbouring businesses
- Neighbouring residential areas (such as homes nearby)
- If the event is outside, prepare for all weather
The weather can be unpredictable, especially here in the UK. So when planning for an event, it’s important to plan for all possible weather scenarios, particularly when electrical equipment comes into play. It’s important to have the necessary measures in place to protect your equipment from any wet weather, to reduce the safety risks for both your event staff and the attendees.
This includes making sure all of your cables and equipment meet basic electrical safety standards, like our power distribution boxes for example. Our power distros are rated IP44, which means they’re easily capable of withstanding rain. If you think there could be danger of a potential overload, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry and install RCDs and similar electrical safety devices.
That’s all the essentials of crowd management covered. As long as you know your audience, conduct some thorough market research and complete the necessary risk assessments your event should be a resounding success!
If you’re ever in doubt or you want to learn more, you can always get advice from an expert or an organisation such as the HSE. As we touched upon above, our own power distribution boxes are designed with safety foremost in mind. You can browse our range of 63a supply power distribution equipment here, or to make an inquiry or if you have any questions about our products, please get in touch with our friendly team +44 (0)1282 677 910.