Event Operations Manual
Software for Club Treasurers

Contingencies in Event Management

Contingency planning is a vital aspect of any event management. Even the best made plans are unlikely to ensure that nothing goes wrong. When a major problem does occur event organisers are expected to be able to react quickly and appropriately. This ability to react stems from anticipating emergencies, accidents and problems, formulating plans and training staff in what must be done.

Some problems are reasonably foreseeable, even predictable. These include:

Common problems in events

Problem Cause / Contingency Plan

Failure of public address sound systems

May be caused by people tripping over wires, faulty equipment, faulty electrical connections, missing components.

Contingency plans:

  • Have a back up sound system
  • Include people with skills to fix such equipment in event management team
Failure of VIP's to arrive on time

Visiting dignitaries often have multiple responsibilities most of which are far more important than their appearance at an event to make a speech or presentation. They may cancel at the last moment.

Contingency plans:

  • Make plans and instruct staff to continue the event programme rather than delay it
  • Identify and use other people in the event management team or other guests who can step into to make a presentation if necessary
Inclement weather

Particularly affects outdoor events.

Contingency plans:

  • In the event of a sudden downpour ensure there is adequate shelter for all otherwise people will start going home and won't come back even if the skies clear
  • Make plans to relocate activities to sheltered areas or to alter the event programme to salvage the day if possible
  • Have contingency insurance for your event if there is much at stake financially
Event staff who go missing

There is always likely to be occurrences of event staff that go missing temporarily from their station. Causes might include a chance meeting with an old friend, treatment of an injury, confusion over times and places where they are supposed to be, and toilet and refreshment breaks.

Contingency plans:

Have a person designated in the event management team as a "Troubleshooter" whose job is to continually move about the venue looking for such problems.

Roster more staff than are actually needed so that there are a few "spares" that can be assigned to positions anywhere.

Breakages and other losses

Breakages and losses could include competition equipment, electrical equipment and lighting, trophies, event paperwork, canteen equipment and supplies, keys, money and many other items.

Contingency plans:

  • Keep spares and back-up systems
  • Roster on a "troubleshooter" who detect these problems as early as possible
  • Roster on other surplus staff whose job it is to contact supplies, run out to stores and/or move about the venue to find items
Injuries and accidents

Injuries may occur to participants, spectators and/or event staff. It is a legal duty for the event organisers to plan for such eventualities. (Click here for checklist for spectator safety)

Contingency plans:

  • Organise first aid and/or other qualified medical personnel to be in attendance throughout the event
  • Roster on more staff than the minimum required so that if one person requires treatment it will not impact on the running of the event
  • Ensure driveways and entrances are not blocked to emergency personnel
  • Train all event staff what to do in an emergency and when unexpected events occur

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