Before Your Next Event, Safety Planning Should Take Center Stage

Before Your Next Event: Safety Planning Should Take Center Stage

Blonde girl at parade

So you’ve been tasked with putting on this year’s community parade.

It’s a tall order, but one that can be accomplished with good planning and safety measures in place. It requires plenty of communication among all parties involved: float operators, vendors, maintenance personnel, security officials, and more.

But once the proper measures and procedures are put in place, your event will be on the smooth road to success. When planning a community parade, it’s necessary to:

  • Develop a written procedure
  • Assign responsibilities
  • Assign accountability
  • Outline procedures
  • Prepare the facility
  • Provide crowd control and security
  • Determine liquor liability
  • Verify event holder’s liability insurance meets your minimum requirements
  • Obtain certificates of insurance
  • Determine the scope of the event

Several elements need to be identified when determining the scope of the event:

  • Who is sponsoring the event?
  • How many attendees are expected?
  • What types of public safety arrangements will be needed?
  • Will liquor be served? If so, what measures are in place regarding the sale, dispensing and monitoring of alcohol consumption?
  • What physical grounds will be used to host the event or parade?

Wherever the event or parade will be held, the site will need to be inspected for fire and life safety codes and documented accordingly. Also, exit doors must be unlocked and fire extinguishers must be in place and in good working order.

Other considerations include secure pavement or flooring, secure handrails on staircases, good lighting in parking lots and traffic patterns clearly marked. Also, facilities must be equipped with ramps or other access for those who use wheelchairs. It is recommended that the event holder be insured to protect against potential lawsuits.

Various elements of the event or parade also are subject to certain rules and regulations to ensure safety. This includes floats, costumes, and parade throws. In addition, signage should spell out rules for the public, such as where to view the festivities safely, and advise which areas are off limits. The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) offers a helpful Parade Safety Guide for municipal governments. Among the ICMA’s suggestions for safe parades:

  • Identify to the participants the sites and specified times for parking, loading and unloading parade vehicles. Sites should be clearly identified to residents and businesses.
  • Municipal officials should check the safety standards for construction and breakdown of viewing stands.
  • Parade planning procedures should include debris cleanup and removal of sanitary units.

Event organizers should also be aware of a nationwide campaign to raise the public’s awareness of indicators of terrorism, given the tragedies at venues in recent years such as the Boston Marathon. The campaign, called “See Something, Say Something,” is designed to encourage the public to call law enforcement if they see an activity that looks suspicious, such as a backpack left unattended, or a vehicle left abandoned in a public place.

Trident Can Help

If you have any concerns about your own organization’s policies or have a compliance question, please contact Trident Public Risk Solutions’ Risk Control team.

Also, don’t forget to download a copy of Trident’s Special Event Planning Guide and Parade Planning and Safety Guide for more information.


About the Author

Ashley Bonner, Senior Risk Control Consultant, brings 30 years of safety and risk management experience. She is GE Six Sigma certified with professional affiliations that include the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council and the World Safety Organization. Ashley holds a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Mississippi, an associate degree in Occupational Safety & Health from Delgado College, and participated in Tulane University’s Master’s Program for Industrial Safety & Public Health.

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