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Best security practices for a successful event

By: Marie-Claire Asseko
January 26, 2016

At GardaWorld, we believe that an ounce of prevention might be worth a thousand or even a million pounds of cure. Depending on the event site, there is also a minimum of security measures to be respected.

Normand Lavictoire, Senior Director of Special Events, tells us more about the best practices for special events security management.

What security tools and protocols are used at festivals?

The security guard training includes first aid training. However, we recommend that the client hire specialized rescuers whom our security professionals can support, if needed.

Event security guards are also trained in:

  • body language and specific conditions. For example, when approaching a drunk person  express three clear and perfectly audible warnings before acting;

  • cooperation with all stakeholders on-site, including rescuers;

  • decision-making process in emergency situations;

  • use of force and handcuffing.

GardaWorld supplies event security guards with metal detectors, radios, search gloves, handcuffs, and batons.

Training also includes strict protocols:

  • Guards should not to run, except in life-or-death situations to avoid creating panic among participants.

  • Guards should open front doors before the official start of the event to avoid bottlenecks at entrances, when it is possible.

  • Patrollers should constantly communicate.

  • Radios should be used to discuss professional matters and the volume should be appropriate.

  • Guards should brief those replacing them before leaving for their break or at the end of their shift.

We make sure that event security professionals understand that their actions can be shared on social networks through smartphones. If misinterpreted, they may have a negative impact on the reputation of the event or the client, enhancing the importance of protocols and teamwork.

 

Does GardaWorld’s security personnel perform searches of backpacks, purses, pockets, etc.?

Of course. At first, newer guards systematically screen every single thing. As they gain experience, they learn to screen specific items, depending on the type of event, and proceed with searches more efficiently.

On the other side, we train our guards to be respectful at all times; it is not an easy task to screen personal belongings and we understand that attendees get sensitive.

 

What preventative measures do you recommend?

At GardaWorld, we believe that an ounce of prevention might be worth a million pounds of cure. Vigilance is the best preventative measure. Depending on the event and the site, there also are minimal security measures to be respected, such as having at least one guard per door. We respect our clients’ requirements, as well as site and safety standards.

To ensure that we have the right degree of vigilance and avoid security problems, we include in each contract:

  • an in-depth business case, outlining the context and the history of the event;

  • a client meeting to discuss  priorities;

  • a preliminary security plan;

  • a site visit to identify access points and hotspots;

  • a detailed review of the security plan, including fixed and mobile security teams (managers, supervisors, patrollers, sector chiefs, etc.);

  • a final client presentation to review the escalation plan.

Directors may be on site the day of the event to supervise the implementation of the plan and act as a liaison between the client and our security guards. Even when they are not there, they are available at all times by phone and can move quickly on site if needed.

 

How do GardaWorld security guards know when they should escalate a problem?

It all depends on our mandate – either we provide bodyguards for celebrities, or we secure backstage areas. We must avoid attracting participants’’ attention or disrupting festivities. Security guards and their supervisors determine when to call the police based on three criteria:

  • media coverage;

  • potential physical repercussions on visitors, client employees or themselves;

  • client guidelines.

 

Our highly trained professionals specialized in event security management abide by client’s requirements, site and safety standards at all times. Vigilance and flexibility are key for guaranteed higher levels of customer service and professionalism from our people.

 

Contact GardaWorld’s Special Events division for more information about successful security planning for your event.