Communications for Events
Successful event planning is about organising staffing levels, insurance, health and safety and effective communication.
The communication challenges will depend on the size, scale and location of your event. If you're hosting a small event in a conference centre, for example, with less than 100 delegates, you'll have fewer challenges than a massively crowded outdoor festival in the countryside. It’s important to assess your staffing needs based on skills required, when and where staff will be needed, and the various roles as diverse as marshals, outriders and patrolling security.
Your team must communicate together and this can be achieved through using mobile phones or a radio system. Mobile phones have drawbacks, allowing communication with one person at a time and this isn’t instant. There are cost-effective radio systems available, working via the public 3G network, that are very fast and reliable and which allow communication with multiple staff at the press of a button. This technology is better than simple radio devices, which have a shorter range and are expensive licensing for multiple users. If, however, your event's in an area with poor mobile coverage, 2-way radios are the best option, or even a PA/tannoy.
You'll need to insure your event for public and possibly employer's liability, as well as for cancellation, disruption and property damage. Your broker will need to know event location, size, attendees and also specific risks. Get the advice of a health and safety professional to complete suitable and sufficient risk assessments required by law. Your risk assessment is a good starting point to assess event safety as a whole. By identifying key risks (e.g. electrical wiring, potential falls from staging, uneven surfaces, public disorder offences and so on) you can systematically put in place control measures to minimise risks. You’ll need a company/event health and safety policy to identify the various regulations with which you must comply.
Where there's people there will be ill-health and accidents, ranging from minor injuries, fainting, slips, trips and falls, to major injuries, such as broken bones and loss of consciousness. Depending on the size of your event, you'll need one or more first aid points, manned by trained and qualified medical staff who can deal with a wide range of issues from heart attack, stroke, sickness, even tooth ache and dental problems. These staff will know when it's appropriate to refer people on to further medical care and how urgent this is, such as a visit to hospital or the emergency dentist. Your facilities and medical cover will need to include disabled facilities and/or access. If staff will be in contact with children or vulnerable adults, they’ll need to have a current DBS check in place.
There's a lot involved in running a successful event but safety is critical so that everyone can get on with the core business of the event itself, whether it be learning, networking, or simply enjoying themselves. Allow yourself plenty of time to put all your safety plans in place and consult a professional to ensure you're getting it right and you'll soon become an event-planning master.