The Benefits of Crowd Management
Any event that is expected to attract a crowd needs crowd management procedures in place.
Whether that event is a festival, a conference or a sporting event, lots of people gathering in the same place creates latent risks that can have dangerous and even fatal consequences if not controlled.
Why is crowd management important?
Being in a crowd presents an unusual number of situations and behaviours in people. A lot of people act in crowds in ways that they wouldn’t act on the street by themselves, and this mentality can lead to disastrous situations if not kept in check by experienced crowd management. For instance, if a crowd is particularly raucous, others may be incited by the atmosphere and energy, and violence can soon follow.
There have been all too many stories about eager and impatient crowds pushing to get closer to the stage and creating a crush that leads to people dying in horrible circumstances, and to prevent this, a clear crowd control programme needs to be in place.
What are the benefits of crowd management?
First and foremost, effective crowd management helps to ensure the safety of those at an event, from the guests to the staff, and the performers. When an event is taking place, everyone in the venue should be able to enjoy themselves without worrying about their safety.
The consequences of a poorly managed crowd can be disastrous; people can be injured and lives can be lost. Even if an event is poorly managed but nobody is hurt, it may not bode well for future events; people may have less trust in a venue, and sanctions can be imposed for poor event management.
Everything from orderly queues to the crowd during a gig needs to be managed properly. If you’ve ever been in a poorly managed queue, one that seemingly never moves or one where people push in at will, you’ll know how frustrating that can be. This frustration can lead to tempers fraying and altercations happening, so effective management can help minimise the risk of these occurrences.
What is involved in crowd management?
There are several factors involved in devising a crowd management plan, and we’re going to go through them here.
The planning of a crowd management plan is vital, and it will require input from numerous people in order to be as good as it can be. The people that must be consulted include:
- All event contractors
- Local transport providers
- Emergency services
- The owner of the venue
- Nearby businesses or residents that may be affected by the event
Your event absolutely should not proceed unless a thorough risk assessment has been carried out. The entire venue should be assessed for things that may pose a hazard, whether that’s a fire hazard or general safety issue. Any hazards noticed should be recorded and the appropriate measures should be taken before the event proceeds.
Ensure you are fully aware of how many people the venue is expecting for the event. For ticketed events, it’s important that only the appropriate amount of tickets are sold; as overselling can lead to overcrowding, which can be incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons.
There needs to be a plan in place in the event of the number of attendees exceeding the capacity of the venue. One of the most important factors in such a scenario is the ease by which people can get out of the venue, should they need to; particularly wheelchair users and small children. Clear, well-lit and unobstructed exit routes should be available at all times.
Different types of crowds can exhibit different types of behaviours but these can be prepared for. Think about what is happening at the venue; if it’s a gig, people might push forward when a big song comes on, or when the support act stops playing and the headliner comes to the stage. If it’s a screening of a sporting event, there’s likely to be a mass exodus of people at the end, so be prepared for these scenarios.
There are two types of important communication when it comes to crowd management: communication between staff and communication between the staff and the guests. For the former, what’s most important is the way the messages are delivered; walkie-talkies are the most reliable and effective way of communication, and earpieces can help, too.
Make sure all staff involved in event security and crowd management are familiar with the terms and the language that is going to be used during the event – this will help minimise misunderstandings and ensure that things flow smoothly.
Once an event has finished, be sure to discuss what went well and what did not, and make notes to build upon things that went well and improve on things that didn’t. With the right level of preparation, all of your events will run smoothly.
Crowd Management London & Birmingham
The SES Group offer unparalleled crowd management services for all types of events.
From festivals to sports events and public gatherings, we can control and manage crowds of all sizes, day or night, across London, Birmingham & the UK.