Every year, over 7,000 major outdoor events are held in the UK, with over 85 million people attending festivals and events. However, with an increase in attacks over recent years, it’s crucial that there are security measures in place to keep all attendees, workers and acts safe.
Here, First Fence, a supplier of security measures, discuss what security steps to take to minimise any risks.
Metal detectors and bag searches
Following last year’s devastating atrocities in Manchester and London, festivals have upped their security to reduce the terrorist threats that are ever-looming.
Festival workers have received additional training to carry out more comprehensive bag searches, whilst ensuring that festival goers aren’t held up too much. Last year, organisers at Leeds Festival only allowed people to take bags into the arena that were smaller than an A4 sheet of paper.
By planning for all possible scenarios, it means that everyone can enjoy the festival and feel safe
It’s recommended that all festival goers minimise their luggage so as not to slow queues down; or take multiple trips through the barriers, as opposed to carrying all bags through in one go.
With Coachella taking place in April in California, workers have recently received emergency training to specifically deal with mass shootings; in addition to the standard metal detectors.
Whilst it's sad that we should even have to consider these eventualities, it’s important that everyone stays safe. By planning for all possible scenarios, it means that everyone can enjoy the festival and feel safe.
Educating the public
Festival organisers have been encouraged to advise members of the public to educate themselves on what they should do, should they find themselves in the horrific situation of a terrorist attack.
The government has produced a handy leaflet, detailing what to do if people find themselves in the midst of a weapons attack, and have also created a stay safe video.
This year, to help keep security tight at any upcoming festival, it is important to educate attendees on how they can stay safe should such an incident happen. Hopefully it will never come to that, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
To help keep festival goers secure, it is important to ensure that their workers are 100% clear on their roles and responsibilities
Crowd control with barriers
Security measures need to be put in place before an event even starts: get an idea of numbers attending and carry out a risk assessment. There should be plenty of entrances and exits with a clear concourse for people to walk through. It is also imperative to consider any temporary structures that could collapse, and the eventuality that people may try climbing on structures and equipment.
Having barriers in place can be beneficial for crowds, especially due to an increase in the number of vehicles being driven into large crowds (something which the Edinburgh Fringe advocated last year). However, the other thing to consider with barriers and fences, is the possibility (however slight), that a crowd surge could result in people being crushed.
To help keep festival goers secure, a company needs to ensure that their workers are 100% clear on their roles and responsibilities. Companies can’t go wrong with hiring several stewards, as they can show people around, and monitor crowds for any suspicious behaviour.
Security risk assessments
Doing risk assessments and having backup plans for all eventualities is a great way to up security at festivals, but attendees’ safety can be ensured even by working with local authorities, emergency services and the police.
Once an emergency plan has been developed, it needs to be shared with them, and they can offer advice on anything that may have been missed, or whether there’s a better, more effective way of doing something.
Whilst chance of an attack is unlikely, it’s something that needs to be considered, should the unthinkable happen
In such a plan, it is necessary to include considerations on how festival goers can escape any immediate danger, and how any casualties will be dealt with.
Ultimately, festivals are a place to have fun, enjoy the many live acts and spend time with friends; and whilst chance of an attack is unlikely, it’s something that needs to be considered, should the unthinkable happen.
By planning ahead with these four tips, one can help to ensure festivals run smoothly, whilst knowing that everyone is as safe as they can possibly be.