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, efficiently deal with what you can’t.

Emergencies can take many forms, like someone falling ill, an electrical storm cutting the power to your venue, or an act of violence. Having an event emergency plan should lead to better outcomes and a safer environment for everyone.

Prepare for an emergency

Reach out to the venue and cover their emergency plan. The plan should include the location of emergency exits, how to contact emergency personnel, and what to do in case of a medical emergency, fire, etc. 

Identify potential risks based on your attendee demographics and venue. Consider 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 participants or others supporting the event who might need special assistance during an evacuation, how you’ll help them, and whose responsibility it will be to help them. 

Identify who to notify in case of an emergency. You should always let your Techstars community support contact know of any emergencies after the fact. Local authorities, ambulance services, the fire department, venue security personnel, facilities support, and main point of contact should be on your emergency contact list. Have everyone’s contact details printed out and easily accessible by the event team. Contact the venue’s security team immediately in case of emergency, as they can communicate venue details with paramedics or the relevant emergency support service. 

Choose a person in the organizing team who 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 a venue walk-through with your venue point of contact and cover all emergency exits and procedures. Identify where the emergency supplies are located, like a defibrillator and a first aid kit.

Share the emergency plan with your facilitator and confirm your emergency communication procedure. How will you let participants know what to do or what happened to avoid confusion and panic?