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What the Justin Bieber water bottle incident can teach you about health and safety event planning

by , 08 November 2013
All it took to end Justin Bieber's Rio de Janeiro concert was a water bottle, hurled by a concert-goer. The bottle may not have caused him any harm (besides his bruised ego!), but it could have caused injury to the singer, his band, or any other fans in the crowd. If you host an event of any sort, be it a concert for thousands of fans, or a small office braai in the parking lot, event safety should be your first priority. And it all starts, with an event emergency plan.

An event emergency plan is essential for the successful execution of any event. This pre-event planning could mean the difference between a disaster and a successful event.
Here's some useful advice from the Health and Safety Advisor, for developing your own plan.
How to create your event emergency plan in 6 steps
Step #1: Start with your baseline risk assessment
When you host an event at a venue you're familiar with, you'll have a baseline risk assessment on record. A baseline risk assessment gives you all the information you need to get started with your emergency plan.
Step #2: Conduct an event-specific risk assessment
Your event-specific risk assessment must include everything that could go wrong. Plan for all possible incidents and list which emergency response is required for each incident.  Your risk assessment should also include possible injuries to all employees and visitors.

Step #3: Compile a complete attendance list of all your employees, contractors, etc., on site
You need this attendance sheet to do a roll call at the emergency assembly points.
Step #4: Create your responsibility list
On your responsibility list, include:
• Who is responsible;
• What they're responsible for;
• Which area they're responsible for;
• When they're responsible; and
• Everyone's contact numbers.
Step #5: List all communication methods that'll be used during the event
Emergency workers must be able to talk to each other in real-time, in the case of an emergency.
You must do two things to make sure you're in total control of communication:
1.       Look at your chain of command.
2.       List all the communication methods that'll be used.
Step #6: Clearly mark which parts of your emergency plan need to be implemented when
You're responsible for the people who're gathering together. It's vital your risk assessment is detailed. Everything must be reflected in your emergency plan.
Your event emergency plan should 'speak' to your risk assessment and vice versa. The questions your plan must answer are: 'What can happen?' and, if it happens, 'What are we going to do?'
Before you finish planning your office Christmas party, get an event emergency plan together to really avoid disasters...

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