Why Do Events Need Safety People [1]?

Author / Mark Breen
17 Jun ‘17
We're starting this 'Why Do Events Need Safety People?' series to highlight the types of issues we see so regularly and to, hopefully, help people organising events to organise safer ones. We're not going to use all the historical images and content we've gathered over the years, but rather as we find new issues at events we'll publish a quick post about it.

The photos below are from a local festival on in Ireland this weekend. 

As the photos were taken, there were around 200 - 250 people inside at a sit-down meal event.

We have another photo that's lower quality that proves that the Emergency Exit is marked exactly the same on the inside of the marquee also. 

Emergency Exit clearly designated for all to see

Emergency Exit secured shut from the outside

Emergency Exit secured shut from the outside

Points to note

  • This is designated an Emergency Exit but is not actually functional as an exit.
  • A soft marquee wall panel that people will have to lift to exit through is not sufficient as an emergency exit.
  • There is a horizontal metal bar running along the bottom of this soft marquee wall. This will make it unnecessarily difficult to lift the soft wall and exit.
  • That metal bar is pinned on the lower right hand side, making it further unusable as an exit.
  • That metal bar is secured on the left hand side and also looks to have some cabling wrapped up where it is secured.
  • Immediately outside the exit is a large amount of blue cabling strewn across the ground.

Not shown in the pictures

  • This soft marquee wall is designated an Emergency Exit internally within the marquee exactly as it is externally in these pictures.
  • On using this exit, people evacuating, once outside, will meet a heras fencing panel blocking their path within 2 metres if they turn left.
  • On using this exit, people evacuating, once outside, will meet a heras fencing panel line blocking their path within approximately 4 - 5 metres.
  • On using this exit, people evacuating, once outside, will meet a generator surrounded by CCBs (crowd control barriers) if they turn right.
  • Furthermore, if they turn right, while there is a path through to a wide open space, once they've navigated past the generator and barriers, they will have to get past a number of (currently deflated) inflatable attractions that are used during the day but decommissioned during the evening events.

The bottom line

This is extremely unsafe. 

It would appear that a professional Risk Assessment was not conducted by a competent person.

However, providing nothing happens that results in people evacuating the marquee, the organisers who allowed this to happen will likely continue to do so. They clearly are unaware of this as a problem or have chosen to ignore it as a problem.

Generally speaking we find it's down to people being unaware.

That said, there are multiple 'professional' event suppliers involved in this event and a situation like this should not be let happen.

Would you want your mother or brother or sister to be in that marquee and be unable to exit in an emergency?

This is why events need safety people.

If you think you need help with ensuring your event is safe then get in touch.