When most people hear the phrase “event safety,” what comes to mind? Usually, it’s a mix of security guards and physical security measures, like barriers, locked doors, guardrails and the like. And, these days, COVID-19 protocols might also come to mind.
Of course, event planners and live events professionals know there’s far more to event safety than those elements. There are plenty of other aspects to event safety that the average event attendee definitely doesn’t think of.
Here at Bluewater, we have deep experience in live events, primarily from an AV and tech perspective. So we thought it’d be helpful to walk through the elements of event safety from that perspective.
These are the areas where AV teams and tech rollouts can contribute to and enhance event safety.
Lighting is one of the unsung heroes of event safety. Without proper lighting, attendees can more easily misstep, trip, or even get lost. Lighting also helps to delineate the edges of event spaces, reinforcing to attendees where they should and shouldn’t go.
There’s also a security component to lighting. People are less likely to behave improperly or take ethical risks in well-lit areas.
As you plan the lighting for your next event (especially events in temporary locations, like outdoor festivals), make sure your plan provides sufficient illumination in the right areas. And don’t forget to have emergency lighting and/or a battery backup system in place.
Equipment Setup and Site Preparation
Events continue to increase in technological complexity, and all the equipment needed can itself pose a safety risk. Failing to use weather-resistant equipment for an outdoor event can lead to electrical shorts and other serious concerns, for example.
Securing cable runs and power points is crucially important as well. Loose cables can create tripping hazards for talent, staff, and attendees alike and must always be properly flagged and covered. Sometimes you won’t be able to avoid running cable across a walkway. Cable ramps should be used in these situations with no exceptions.
Power access points create a dual-threat. Loose connections can potentially shock and spark, while poorly secured ones can lead to accidental unplugging of critical systems and equipment.
Live events often require overhead equipment, from cameras to lighting and more. Overhead AV gear in a permanent theater or hall tends to be stable and well secured. Still, this can lead to a sense of overconfidence and a lack of follow-through on safety protocols.
Outdoor or temporary spaces, on the other hand, require creative rigging in less certain conditions. AV teams have a massively important role to play here in terms of event safety. If you’ve ever witnessed a falling lighting rig, you know how serious the danger can be.
AV teams must ensure that any lighting rigs or other overhead equipment is rigged properly so that there’s zero chance of that heavy gear falling onto people underneath it.
AV teams also play a role in creating auditory safety by keeping PA sound at an appropriate, safe level.
Many event venues and the general sessions they host have a well-earned reputation for being intensely loud, with sustained volumes that exceed what is safe. Other venues and spaces have an unpleasant, soft, muddled sound that makes understanding even the clearest presenter quite difficult.
Either of these extremes is best avoided, and AV teams often hold the key both to level setting and to proper system setup, EQ, and room conditioning.
Another Aspect: Tech-Driven COVID Testing with Bella Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has created another aspect to event safety: whatever measures a venue or event team might put in place to limit the risk of COVID exposure from COVID-positive individuals attending.
At many large events, testing (or proof of vaccination) is being required prior to admittance. But testing — even rapid testing — at a security checkpoint poses all kinds of capacity difficulties. And if someone should test positive, they’ve just been standing around dozens of others, potentially spreading the virus.
That’s why the Bluewater team is excited about our partnership with Bella Health, which allows us to offer Bella Health’s at-home rapid COVID-19 testing and app-based verification program. Instead of queuing up attendees to test on-site, Bella Health allows you to have attendees test before they come. If their at-home test is negative, the Bella Health app can turn that negative test into a scannable badge or access pass.
Bella Health’s system is equally viable for one-off live events and for sensitive workplaces where employees may need regular testing.
To learn more about Bluewater’s implementation of Bella Health, or for more information about how Bluewater can help increase your AV event safety, reach out today. We’re ready to chat and happy to help!