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Controlled Chaos: Preparing for the Unexpected at Large-Scale Planned Events

2019 08 9 / by David Layman

Have you ever been to a major sporting event, concert, or festival and looked around at the multitude of people and wondered what might happen if there was an emergency? How would event planners or first responders be able to navigate the chaos if a crisis occurred, and react quickly and effectively in the midst of a large crowd of people?

Whether it’s a large-scale “planned” event like the example above, or an “unplanned” critical incident or disaster, situational awareness is the name of the game. Situational awareness enables key personnel like event planners, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders to respond quickly and effectively to prevent smaller incidents from becoming larger, more dangerous and potentially life-threatening ones.

Situational awareness is vastly improved by using critical incident management to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from all types of events – planned, unplanned, or day-to-day activities.

 

What is considered a “large-scale planned event”?

FEMA categorizes a large-scale planned event as one that is a non-routine occurrence that has the potential to put a strain on community resources, might involve large numbers of people, may necessitate coordination between many agencies, and likely require special permitting and additional planning, preparation, and mitigation.

With pre-planned, large-scale events involving hundreds or thousands of people, there is the potential or threat of incidents occurring that could threaten the health and safety of participants, attendees, or the community at large. There is also the possibility of damage to property and even the brand reputation of event sponsors or the event itself.

There are numerous well-known examples where otherwise well-planned events were marred by unexpected incidents or disaster. The cause of these incidents can vary, ranging from weather, fire, active shooter/violence, terrorism, or other unexpected actions. Critical incidents can even be triggered by more random causes, like “panics” in which crowds run from a real or perceived threat, or a “craze” in which a group rushes to enter a location or toward an item. Event planners and stakeholders must identify threats and be prepared to act in any of these scenarios.

 

How do critical incident management platforms help?

In addition to offering situational awareness to stakeholders in an event, critical event management platforms often provide many other capabilities to help ensure safety at large events.

Here are just a few:

  • A centralized command center for monitoring events, activities, incidents and coordinating response
  • A common operating picture across collecting pertinent data, available to all stakeholders, event staff, first responders, etc. – which enables faster, better decision making
  • Effective communications allowing information to be shared in real time, anywhere, any time, on any type of device

 

What's Your Plan?

Having a plan for large scale, planned events is critical, across a wide variety of sectors, organizations, companies, or communities.

For more information about how to prepare, respond, and control the chaos of a large-scale planned event, read our guide Using a Critical Incident Management Platform to Manage Planned Events.

In the guide, you’ll learn:

  • Essential features of a critical incident management for managing large events
  • 5 ways a critical incident management platform can be used for planned events
  • How critical incident management technology helped during the Super Bowl
  • And more…

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Topics: Incident management, Crisis Communication, Events

David Layman

Written by David Layman