Crowd Control Checklist for Your Event
Posted by louis smith on
Crowd control and management at events can largely depend on the crowd themselves. While there are mellow crowds, there can be others who love to party wild and rugged. So wild things can stir uncontrollably and so hard that they can start breaking things (also see our crowd control barriers).
Preparing for the unknown can be pretty tricky. But with the proper crowd control checklist, you can develop strategies that can significantly reduce any risks of your event becoming a bad experience for your audience, your team, more importantly, to yourself. In this quick guide, we’ll go over some of the things to take note of and prioritize in terms of crowd control for your upcoming events.
Why Need Crowd Control?
An uncertainty of people acting quite differently whenever they become part of large crowds of faceless individuals is something event organizers deal with in almost every event they handle. The most superficial manifestations of joy, anger, and excitement can quickly escalate and spread like wildfire, easily boiling and becoming extreme expressions of emotion that can be pretty dangerous.
Poor crowd control and the lack thereof can result in definite consequences of the destruction of properties, severe personal injuries, and in general, insane and chaotic hooliganism. Typically, managing a crowd can only become relevant and of utmost importance is when the event you’re organizing draws potentially a big crowd. Small get-togethers like family soirees and reunions with close friends won’t require crowd management and that big of a deal.
However, once the going gets tough in starting your event organizing, the tough can get you going, especially for these types of huge events when crowd control will begin to become more relevant:
- Tournaments and sporting events
- Concerts and music festivals
- International business conferences and the likes
As promised, we're here to provide you with a comprehensive list of essential things to take note of in terms of controlling the crowd for your upcoming event. This list contains tips and tidbits that can help you achieve effective crowd control and management at your events.
Crowds can go one way or another – they can be smooth-sailing from start to end or become unmanageably dangerous if not managed properly. It's not rocket science when it's evident that we probably want the former rather than the latter. So, let’s dive right into some strategies in crowd control that will help prevent and avoid any disastrous moments happening at your event.
1. Know your potential attendees
Knowing who your eventual audience is and how they act in crowds can be the start of devising your overall strategy. Screen attendees whenever given a chance.
If there’s a chance that some will try bringing anything illegal of nature, have your security team do a professional and civil patting down as they arrive and enter the venue.
2. Have the correct number of staff
Because you can’t do everything on your own, so make sure to have the correct number of staff in proportion to the size of the crowds you expect. Make sure you have:
- ushers showing people around;
- your team know the venue’s layout;
- a convenient way of communicating between you and your staff, like in-ears, walkie-talkies, or a group chat with everyone included – make them carry their phones at all times;
- members of your team placed strategically around the venue; and
- people covering critical points of interest such as entrances, ticket purchase windows, check-in lines, guest service desks, seated areas, and presentation rooms.
3. Hire security
Third-party security firms are essential, especially for big events. They are trained individuals who deal with large crowds, potential rowdy behavior, and inevitably dangerous situations. Have your security personnel deal with the following agenda:
- Screen attendees for possible contraband
- Break up physical confrontations before it becomes bigger
- Contact the emergency services as soon as needed
4. Create an emergency and risk assessment plan
Contingency plans are beneficial, especially when things start to go wrong, no matter how well-prepared you plan your event.
In addition, risk assessments, especially for health and safety, are integral parts of your event planning and in developing your crowd control strategy. Try to determine potential dangers, then figure out ways to keep people away from them.
Some worst-case scenarios you should plan for can include:
- Sudden weather changes
- Inflammable objects catching fire
- Potential fight breakouts between attendees
- Catching someone stealing
- Panicking people trampling each other
Think of the best ways to manage these situations so you can have proper crowd control if they happen.
5. Inform relevant parties to be involved
After having your audience checked, hiring staff and security, and creating emergency and risk assessment plans, you can now start contacting essential parties who can potentially be affected by your upcoming event.
Additionally, inform everyone in need of knowing the kind of crowd you’ll be expecting, too. Contact the following relevant parties:
- Emergency response services
- Local authorities
- Venue staff and management
- Event contractors
- Nearby and surrounding businesses
These parties can help you work out practicalities in crowd control, as it’s very likely that they have already experienced similar events in the past.
6. Demarcate different areas of the venue
Utilize demarcation means barricades, cones, ropes, or stanchions in showing your crowd where they should queue up, especially for ticketing and registration. Create clear indications of where the main event will be by fencing off areas you don’t want people to go to and become astray.
7. Use all kinds of signages
Avoid answering multitudes of questions on the event day using proper event signages. Help your attendees find their way around and know for themselves where to and not to go. Flash big signs that are readable even from afar, especially for the following:
- Registration and ticketing queues
- Smoking areas
- Convenience and food stalls
- Staff-only rooms
- Potential hazards
8. Regulate alcohol inside the venue
Alcohol can become the deal-breaker for the overall behavior of the crowd in your event. Consider imposing certain restrictions depending on the type of crowd you’ll be handling.
9. Ask for everyone’s cooperation
Recruit more eyeballs whenever “all hands on deck” becomes a thing in your event, with you, all your staff, and your hired security having their hands full. Casually ask event attendees to report anything unusually shady or suspicious to you, your team, and the security.
Have a way to alert everyone in case there will be a need to warn everyone of anything important. Try to use PA systems in amplifying your message and ensuring it comes across. You can even alert your attendees using your event app whenever possible.
10. Review your strategy
Review your crowd control strategy once everything’s over and done with your event. Talk to everyone and ask your team and security what worked well during the event and what could be improved next time.
With a well-planned strategy, crowd control can still become a make-or-break factor depending greatly on the audience you'll be handling. But for sure, with this comprehensive checklist, your event can start and end on the right note.
Feel free to edit this checklist, whichever works for you. Go out and have fun organizing events while considering the overall experience your attendees will have, too.