On the 26th June 1994, there was a Kampala Wedding Massacre in Uganda and 26 guests were killed at the venue. In a country like Nigeria that has been tagged one of the most terrorized countries in Africa, event security is now important than ever.
Event security is more than hiring bouncers to mount the entry door. It is the most underrated components in most events. There is a threat to security any time you host an event where guests gather physically. Every guest in every public event is in a potential danger.
In every event, large and small, security needs to be in place. In fact, we advise that you must never attend any event where your security is not guaranteed.
In the course of planning your event, you must put security measures in place. You must ensure that your event is secured and your guests are safe. The security and safety of your guests and their properties should be a priority.
1. Assess your event venue
Know the venue inside and outside. How is porous is the venue? Are there other ways someone can get into the venue without coming through the designated entrance? Is the venue or location a natural disaster zone or closer to the highway or have wild animals roaming about?
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2. Assess your attendees
You may not be able to check the attendees coming through the tickets bought, but you can guage a controversial attendee who can pose a potential risk. If one of your guest speakers is of a questionable history, it may increase the risk of protest or stage booing.
Do any of your guests attract agitators? Be suspicious of any bulk ticket buyer. This may be a potential disruptor buying tickets for their fellow disruptors.
3. Assess your team and volunteers
Sabotage from an insider can pose a serious security threat to your event. This is why you must do your due diligence on every team member and volunteer.
Work with trusted people. Give them a unique identifier like a wristband, stamp or Tshirt on the event day. Make sure that no one knows about the identifier you choose before the event day.
4. Have a crowd management plan
In a public event, there is a tendency for anything to go wrong. The larger the crowd, the higher probability that something may go wrong.
Ensure the guests don't move into staff-only or VIP reserved areas. Always ask guests who are blocking the exit or entry door to move away.
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5. Provide one entry way exclusively for your VIP guests
Vehicular and pedestrian movement into the VIP reserved areas should be limited. Some VIPs in most Nigerian events are vulnerable to embarassing gestures from other guests.
6. Properly screen your guests and teams
There are different kinds of people with different motives that attend every public event. Check their bags politely and scan their bodies as they enter.
7. Hire professional security personnels
Apart from supervision, crowd control and avoiding intruders, professional security guards are trained to look for weapons and dangerous items. The general rule of thumb is to have one security guard for every 100 guests.
8. Have a medical team
A guest may develop a heart attack, asmathic attack or medical emergencies anytime in your event. A guest may bleed or suddenly lose consciousness.
9. Prepare for fire emergency
Fire is an emergency that can occur in an event. Therefore, preventive measures must be put in place such as fire extinguishers and emergency exit doors.
10. Map boundaries for outdoor events
Outdoor events are more difficult to secure than closed venues. If your event is an outdoor event, make sure that you map out boundaries for your event venue.
11. Adhere to event policy
On no account, must the number of guests in the venue exceed the capacity limit of the venue.
12. Use armed security personnels for large events
How much security you will need depends on the type of event you are planning. Big crowds and large events are often porous and pave a potential security risk. This is why you need armed security personnels.
13. Make your security measures seen
Don't hide your security team and devices. Keeping them undercover is not the best. Some guests may disrupt the event when they notice that the event is not protected.
The goal of event security is not to respond to danger, it is to prevent danger from happening. In fact, your guests will feel more comfortable when they can see the security measures put in place.
14. Confirm the identities of your guests
Although it may difficult, but matching the identities of your guests to the details of their registration is the best way to confirm their identities.
Let your guests send a copy of their ID so that you can compare it to their ID at the entry point. This way, disruptors, gatecrashers and other uninvited people will not be able to access your venue.
15. Keep private event from the public
You don't need to make your event details known to the public, if your event is a private event. Keep the event details off social media, websites, newsletters and press releases.
16. Consider cyber security threats
Not all security threats are physical. If your event is virtual, ensure that attendees' data are as secure as possible. Event security also means data security. Ensure that no third party have access to other devices.
17. Prevent unsolicited media access
There are several events in Nigeria where media personnels try to sneak into the venue to cover your event. You must use unique identifiers to separate your official media from others.
18. Use non-descript packaging for cash
If you will be accepting cash at your event, ensure that they are carried is non-descript packaging, hiding the contents from the public. Keep it lowkey and don't draw attention to the moving of the money.
19. Ensure effective communication
There is no security without an effective communication. Security is everyone's business. Therefore, there must be a way for people to communicate and report any suspicious activities during your event.