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How mission-ready are you?  Take our quiz and see how you measure up.

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When it comes to being "mission-ready" around risk and safety management at events, only 17% of organizers are confident that they are fully ready to rock and roll.  61% consider themselves "somewhat ready", and only 22% say that they are not ready at all. 

  • Sounds pretty good, right? 78% of event organizers are at least somewhat ready for that day that something goes wrong! If we look a bit closer, though...
  • 59% don't conduct evacuation drills
  • 37% don't have an evacuation plan
  • 75% don't do any emergency response training with their event workforce 

2019 saw the first comprehensive events industry survey on risk management, resilience and preparedness conducted by Blerter and Event Risk Management Solutions. And while the results were shocking, let's be honest... they weren't a surprise.

Event directors are the most multi-talented, efficient people we know, and yet almost all are managing and resolving incidents as they happen. Which is not the same as being truly mission-ready.

So, how mission-ready are you?  Answer the questions below and see how you match up with the industry average. 

Question 1 : risk management planning

When did you last review the risk management plans for your events? (And yes, that's each individual plan, because we know you're not using the same one for everything!) 

A. Less than a year ago

B. Sometime in the past five years

C. We've had the same plan for more than five years 

D. What's a risk management plan?

Results : if you picked A, then you're in a pretty rarefied group.  Only 18% of people have an up-to-date risk management plan. If you're in the B category, then you're with 33% of your peers in having a plan, but (let's be honest) not one that is really fit for purpose now. 

If you picked C or D, then it's time to get serious about the safety of your participants, attendees and crew.  49% of organizers fall into these categories, but it doesn't have to be this way.

Question 2 : Emergency response training

Which of the following types of training do you carry out with your event workforce (including your volunteers and interns)?

A. Incident response training

B. Event-specific training sessions (prior to the event)

C. Onsite training for dealing with emergencies 

Results : If you said yes to all three, we salute you and if we could, we'd courier a gold medal straight out to you for being awesome!

If you breathed a sigh of relief and say "yes" to A, well done!  You're with 63% of people in making sure your crew know what to do if there's an incident at your event.

If you said "yes" to B, then you're in a slightly smaller group.  43% do pre-event tabletop or formal training sessions for risk and emergency management (so 57%... well, you know where we're going with this...). 

C is the shocker here... While access to your venue is often time-limited, we can all agree that only 25% of people carrying out emergency training with their workers onsite is a pretty dismal statistic.    

Question 3 : Event evacuation preparedness

Outdoor events are at the mercy of the weather, and with the best will in the world, sometimes you just have to close down and send people home to keep them safe. In fact, 43% of people surveyed have had to do that at least once. Only 23% have event cancellation insurance, but that's a discussion for another day. 

How often do you carry out evacuation training and drills for your event?

A. Just prior to the event

B. Once a year

C. Once in the past five years

D. Never / don't remember the last time

Results : if you picked A, then you're with 22% of your peers, and while "just-in-time" training for such a huge disruption isn't ideal, it's a whole lot better than the 54% who fall into the D category. 

If you have an annual evacuation drill and picked B, then you're like 19% of people.  If you picked C, then we hope your team members haven't changed and that they have amaaaazing memories... but you know what you need to do.    

Question 4 (last one, you're almost there!) : Emergency communications

It's a sad fact that things can go wrong, no matter how well you have planned, trained your people, and adopted the right procedures. The most common incidents for people in our survey are slips and falls (56%), lost children (or lost parents, as is sometimes the true case!) (47%), severe weather (29%) and event cancellation (29%).  

So when something does go wrong, and you need to inform and empower your event crew to deal with it, what's your go-to for communicating with them?  (You probably use a couple of these, but think about which method you head for first.)

A. Text messages

B. Radios

C. Email

D. Social media 

Results : If you picked A, then you're with 71% of people in harnessing the power of people's personal mobile devices to get the message out in a hurry (77% say that all or almost all of their event workers have smartphones). Using people's personal devices saves time and money, but you might need to think about how secure the information is - you wouldn't want to put your volunteers or workers at risk by sending out photos of lost children, for instance.     

If the first thing you reach for is your radio, then you're definitely with the majority - 89% of people picked B. The follow-up question is how many of your workers have a radio, are on the right channel, have battery power and are listening at that moment... 

If your emergency communications are going out to your people by email, you're with a surprising 27% of people who admit to using that method. It's not snail-mail, but... really?

Social media is probably a key part of the way you connect with your attendees and participants, and it's great for getting your event message out there and driving people to buy tickets or register. If you picked D, then you're in the minority among event organizers, and may want to consider why only 13% are risking their event security, individuals' privacy and reputation by posting important information on SocMed.

Summary 

Keeping your crew and your event attendees safe is one time when you definitely want to be an A student. As our partner from Emergency Risk Management Services, Peter Ashwin, would say "hope is not a strategy".

So if an honest self-assessment suggests that you have some gaps in your risk preparedness and resilience, it's time to crack the books (metaphorically, kind of), and make sure you have the knowledge, skills and processes you need to deliver spectacular and safe events.  

Get your snapshot of the survey results

About author
Melanie Wilson
Mel is part of the Blerter team, carrying out research and managing special projects. She has experience in health and safety, telecommunications, education and property, and is a keen participant in outdoor sports, although a little less concerned about times these days and more interested in enjoying the moment.

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