No two events are the same, and therefore it is impossible to control every detail. The key to dealing with emergencies is to be flexible and resilient. Prepare for what you can and calmly and efficiently deal with what you can’t.
Emergencies can take many forms, like someone falling ill, an electrical storm cutting the power to a venue, or an act of violence. Having an event emergency plan should lead to better outcomes and a safer environment for everyone.
We recommend that you:
Reach out to all venues and cover their emergency plans. The plans should include the location of emergency exits, how to contact emergency personnel, what to do in case of a medical emergency, what if there is a fire, etc.
Identify potential risks based on your attendee demographics and venue. This is an appraisal of the most likely emergencies to arise using factors like age, activities, location, etc. as guides. It can help you understand what your most significant risks are and how you can mitigate them.
Identify any attendees or others supporting the event who might need special assistance during an evacuation. Determine how you’ll help them, and whose responsibility it will be.
Identify who to notify in the event of an emergency. You should always let your Techstars community support contact know of any emergencies after the fact once the issue has been safely dealt with. Local authorities, ambulance services, the fire department, venue security personnel, facilities support, and main point of contact should be on your emergency contact list. Make sure that you have everyone’s contact details printed out and easily accessible by the event team. In many cases, it’s best practice to contact the venue’s security team immediately in case of emergency, as they will be able to best communicate venue details with paramedics or the relevant emergency support service.
Set expectations for who in the organizing team will be responsible for reaching out to the emergency contacts. Create a responsibility hierarchy where, if someone isn’t available, the next person takes charge, and so forth.
Do venue walk-throughs with your venue point of contact and cover all emergency exits, procedures, and where the emergency supplies are located, like a defibrillator and a first aid kit.
Make sure that you share the emergency plan with event support staff and confirm your emergency communication procedure. How will you let attendees know what to do or what happened, to avoid confusion and panic?