Below are a number of scenarios that indicate the range of risks
associated with crowds at sporting events. Although some of these
scenarios may seem to have a low probability, they do actually occur.
As an event manager you are expected to have some kind of plan to
deal with these problems if and when they occur.
What happens if . . .
a spectator in one of the stands
has a heart attack and requires urgent medical attention?
someone in one of the stands
sets off a smoke canister and there are surges of people pushing
in all directions trying to get away?
one of the parachutists (as
seen in the picture above) lands badly and is suspected to have
the number of people in one of the stands
exceeds the design limit?
there is an earthquake during the event?
there is an electrical storm during the
and of course there are many more possibilities!
It is extremely important for event organisers to have an emergency plan in place.
The objectives of such a plan would be to reduce the possible
consequences of an emergency through the provision of training to event staff in:
- awareness of types of emergency at sport events
- early recognition of an emergency situation
- actions to be taken to bring medical services (e.g. ambulance) to those in need
- crowd communication, direction and control
- accelerating the resumption of normal operations
An emergency plan specifies the organisation's policies and procedures
for handling sudden and unexpected situations which require immediate
Elements of an Emergency Plan
- An Emergency Plan should
include the following elements with the appropriate documentation:
- Assessment of the size and nature
of the events foreseen and the probability of their occurrence.
It is highly recommended that a vulnerability analysis be instigated.
- Formulation of a plan in consultation with outside authorities such as emergency services, fire department,
- raising the alarm
- invoking the emergency plan
- communication both within and
outside the site
- evacuation of non-essential
personnel to pre-determined safe assembly points by pre
- Appointment of key personnel and
their duties and responsibilities
- site incident controller
- site main controller
- Emergency control centre (if required)
- Action on site, for example alerting
staff and students, ordering evacuation, confirming evacuation
- Action off site, alerting external
agencies, alerting population, requesting external aid, advising
- Where and how injured persons are
to be treated. Are suitable first aid facilities on site?
- The plan should define the way in
which personnel at the incident site can initiate action. The
plan should also contain the full sequence of key personnel
to be called but consideration needs to be given to absences
due to sickness and holidays, and any other changes in manning.
- Emergency planning should consider
the need to make arrangements for an authoritative release of
information to the media. A person would be appointed to receive
enquiries from the public.
- Appropriate training needs to be
given to all personnel who are part of the emergency plan.
- Once the Emergency Plan has been
finalised and appropriate training has been conducted then the
plan should be tested in one of three ways:
- full scale exercise to test command, co
ordination and communication setups
- tabletop exercises can be used
to test some aspects of the emergency plan, and has the
advantage of not interrupting normal operations
- specific aspects of the plan can be tested,
for example communication and evacuation.
- The Emergency Plan must be regularly
updated. This will take into account changes in personnel, telephone
numbers and storage areas. This requirement should be written
into the plan, and should be responsibility of a particular
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