Are you ready for a stadium evacuation?

When fans make the decision to attend an event there is an expectation for being entertained in a safe environment. In addition to a secure atmosphere, there are growing expectations about the competencies and preparedness of event managers regarding how and when to make decisions that may change the event. According to the NCS4 Best Practice guides (2019), the most common change tends to occur as a result of extreme weather conditions that force participants and spectators alike to evacuate. Venue managers must be prepared to do more than simply evacuate. There is a need to know how to best protect. There are various protective actions that best protect the guests. Some of the different protective actions include evacuation, sheltering, or relocation. Each of these methods serves as means to best protecting patrons from potentially contrasting situations. The decision regarding the best approach to use during an incident involves a complicated process and requires input from various entities knowledgeable in the following:

· The structure and size of the facility in use.

· The distribution and condition of the spectators/participants in and around the facility.

· The various hazards involved with the incident.

· The anticipated response from the spectators to the specific hazard(s).

Each incident will have the previously mentioned factors that must be looked at each time protective actions are deemed necessary at an event. The risk management team should determine the least invasive and most effective method to protect guests against dangerous conditions. All of the decisions should be based on a risk assessment that takes time and guest mobility patterns into account. The ability to make these decisions quickly is critical to successfully identifying a protective action. The longer the decision takes to be made the greater the risk guests will be susceptible to while implementing the protective action. Each decision may be predetermined through the EAP that is developed with public safety partners and venue/event teams. Within the EAP you may potentially consider using trigger points that provide decision guidance regarding what should or should not be done at that specific time.

Along with the specific decision being made, another critical component is identifying the final decision maker for a particular event. When the decision maker is selected, all entities should know that this individual has the final regarding decisions. By selecting a single person, confusion between who has authority is reduced. This individual will be able to analyze all information that is provided to them and synthesize this in formulating an informed decision. A more streamlined approach provides the most expedient and effective way on how to best protect. For more information on the Best Practices, download the 2018 editions of the NCS4 Safety and Security Best Practices Guides here.