2016, a year that will be remembered by millions from the loss of Superstars such as David Bowie and Prince, right through to the shocking England result against Iceland, the Brexit Referendum result and the election of the new President Elect Donald Trump for the United States.
Behind the scenes of the headline grabbing news, the event industry carried on regardless, attraction millions of people to provide means of entertainment amongst times of uncertainty.
Crowd Safety were engaged by a growing number of new clientele this year mostly by recommendation by other clients. Our International work continued in the Middle East and Europe, whilst we had to regrettably decline some work in the US due to already working at maximum capacity.
There was an overriding feeling this year that clients had perhaps historically chosen a cheaper option that had ended up costing them more both financially and through reputation, and had turned to Crowd Safety to rectify and realign their position with the authority and enhance the safety and commercial viability of their event.
A stadium, which hosted a concert, received negative press/backlash from ticket goers for its crowd management planning and delivery, had contacted Crowd Safety to determine what solutions could be found that would prevent this outcome for future events. After reviewing the plans and observing another event held at the Stadium, the issues were obvious and solutions were identified.
Event Organisers are always seeking the best deal they can get, which is fundamental to commercial success but often the cheapest is not the best outcome. A major event we were asked to provide a Fire Risk Assessment for and Event Fire Safety role, identified that all the fire extinguishers delivered had been condemned with fire blankets all rotten, subjecting the client and relevant persons to significant risk, particulaly in relation to what the event was.
The issue here was based on the clients desire to strike a deal and use someone who he believed was providing him ‘mates rates’ for extinguishers which were well below the average rate. Bargain, NO, the result was that the event organiser had to purchase 64 extinguishers, of various types and 10 fire blankets. This could have easily been avoided if the client had contracted a competent provider as stated within the Fire Risk Assessment or allowed the fore risk assessor to recommend a competent local provider.
The most powerful of forces, mother nature showed that she cannot be beaten and this was prevalent at a number of events again this year, two of which were in the UK in August this year. The Flying Marquee on the Orkney Islands showed the sheer power of the wind and the need to consider this when using temporary structures and then there was Full Moon, High Winds and High Tide on the South Coast. The last event caused a Showstop and cancellation. Crowd Safety had been contracted to provide the client with crowd management consultancy for the following nights’ event but had been present on the Friday to monitor the crowds and better understand how the event design affected the crowd dynamics in preparation for the event the following day. We very early recognised there was an issue and were instrumental in providing advice to event organisers and the Police.
We have conducted a significant amount of fire risk assessments, for licensed premises, major events and the entertainment industry as a whole this year and feel that our unique combination of crowd, human behaviour and fire safety knowledge, provides clients in the event and licensed premises sectors with the necessary skill set they are seeking. We further found that Fire Enforcement Officers felt satisfied that the Responsible Person had taken fire safety seriously, by engaging a competent fire risk assessor who were familiar with the event and licensed premises industry whether it be a pub, club, arena, stadium, festival, sporting event, exhibition or other major event.
2016 saw a fire at the Boomtown Festival whereby circa 105 vehicles were destroyed. Luckily, on that occasion, no-one was hurt but this could have very easily been different, had the fire started at night, particularly when one considers the proximity of the campsite to the fire. This will undoubtedly focus further attention and scrutiny from the UK Fire Service on the event/entertainment industry for future events in 2017.
There is a significant uptake in clients wanting to ensure that their own brand reputation, and that of their sponsors is not compromised by fire, which has placed our consultants in the Middle East, Europe and the UK throughout 2016. We have provided pragmatic solutions and preventative measures, with ongoing fire safety representation (not fire-fighting) to ensure the risk of fire is managed and the client reputation is intact.
We have successfully trained over 650 people in the UAE, Europe and UK this year, delivering bespoke workshops for Crowd Management Planning, Human Behaviour in an Emergency and Event Fire Safety. Clients’ who contact Crowd Safety for training, seek bespoke solutions that reflect their needs. We recognise this and deliver training that distances itself from traditional death by power-point, rather focusing on interactive sessions, practical demonstrations and workshops underpinned by case studies and first hand experience.
2016 year has provided the team at Crowd Safety with numerous projects where clients seek that solution and judgement that provides the framework for a safe outcome. Other clients require the strategic framework and operational delivery which is rewarding to see that the plans and predictability do align. Naturally, there are always unforeseen circumstances that cannot be predicted, but the decades of experience managing crowds allow Crowd Safety consultants to dynamically assess and implement the proportionate changes, where necessary. Currently we are consulting on major projects and bespoke solutions with tracking providers in the Middle East which could be rolled out for Major Events worldwide.
Events continue to be a stable source of revenue for Crowd Safety. To be effective, crowd consultants/Fire Consultants need to be engaged in the planning phase and communicated with effectively through to the event delivery. This process actually saves the client financially and allows for a cohesive approach to the event safety management that allows a safe and successful outcome, or a well managed incident.
Thank you to all our clients for a great year of memories, at our last count, Crowd Safety contributed to the Crowd and Fire safety of just under 7.2 Million people at the events we were engaged with in 2016.