When organizing an event, surprising and delighting your attendees is often top of mind. But any event organizer worth their salt also knows that the safety of their guests is of utmost importance.
Unfortunately, events and event-goers are exposed to many different threats. Risks include everything from violence to controlled substances to overcrowding. They can be as scary as security threats and as seemingly benign (though no less dangerous) as extreme heat.
To make matters worse, events seem to be increasingly exposed to the threat of terrorism. While we could dedicate an entire blog post to this topic alone, we’ll leave that to the event security experts who are better qualified to write about the subject. For this particular post, we’ll be focusing on addressing the hazards that fall within our area of expertise: temporary perimeter fencing.
Although they might seem like a new phenomenon, vehicular attacks have been used as a tactic by terrorist groups for years. Sadly, these “vehicle-as-weapon-attacks” (as they’re known in the counterterrorism field) have made the terrifying leap into our everyday lives. The reality is that many event organizers now need to be conscious of this particular risk threat to attendee safety.
Though we must reiterate that we are not experts in hostile vehicle mitigation, in working closely with events for many years we have definitely seen an increase in the awareness of – and preventative measures for – vehicular attacks. So what exactly is hostile vehicle mitigation?
Hostile vehicle mitigation refers to a range of protective measures designed to resist a vehicular attack. They may include concrete jersey barriers, Bremer walls (also known as t-walls), and bollards. Permanent vehicle mitigation measures can even be designed so that they blend into the environment. For example, specially designed planters, resistive street furniture, and even sculptures can be used around government buildings and public areas to prevent hostile vehicle penetration
However, the requirements of an event are different in that the protective measures usually need to be temporary or modular. In this case, surface-mounted bollards, t-walls, or concrete jersey barriers are often used. The goal of these products is to slow down or even stop a hostile vehicle. It’s important to note that, depending on the size, weight, and speed of the vehicle, it can be extremely difficult to fully prevent the vehicle from penetrating the secured area. That being said, hostile vehicle mitigation solutions can drastically reduce the speed of the vehicle and minimize the harm inflicted.
Modu-Loc offers a fence-on-jersey-barrier solution that not only improves event security (as the fence line is essentially unmovable and difficult to scale), but could potentially act as a hostile vehicle mitigation measure.
Speaking of security, having controlled access to your event can have a direct impact on the safety of your event attendees. Properly securing the perimeter of your event site will prevent unwanted guests and help keep contraband out of your event
There are a few things to consider when it comes to perimeter security:
This seems obvious, but we have seen 4’ tall fence used for the event perimeter. For smaller, local outdoor events, this may be all you need. However, we have seen people easily jump a 4’ fence – so if you’re worried about people trying to gain unauthorized access to your event, you may want to consider the height of the fence.
Generally, the taller the fence, the more difficult it is to scale. At a minimum, we recommend using 6’ tall rental fence for your perimeter. Of course, 8’ tall fence is even better if you are concerned about security risks.
Temporary fence on its own is not breach-proof. If someone is really determined to gain access to your event, they can lift a fence panel right off its bases to create an opening in the fence line.
Thankfully, security clamps can help prevent this. They are bolted onto the fence line and connect two adjacent panels together, making it impossible to remove a single panel. You also cannot remove the security clamps from the exterior of the site. They’re worth considering if you’ve ever dealt with members of the public breaking through the fence line!
The addition of spiked security rails further improves the security and safety of your event. They’re visually intimidating, and will make someone think twice before trying to climb over the fence.
Perimeter fencing gives you the opportunity to create gated openings through which to funnel crowds. This is where you would have employees checking tickets or wristbands. You could station security personnel at these entrances to further control the crowds.
Controlled access points also allow you to check attendees’ bags for weapons and other contraband. This might be a necessary exercise at events where there is a higher-than-normal risk of violence.
Once they’re in your event, attendees will need some guidance as far as where to go. Crowd control can become a complicated science, and there are industry-accepted best practices for things like crowd density and traffic flow. This post won’t go into that level of detail, but there are a few key things to remember when it comes to your crowd control fence.
Use temporary fence to delineate things like queues so that there is a clear order to things. This can help control crowding, and also keep the peace! Not having a clear queue can cause frustrations and rising tension, possibly even resulting in a scuffle. Maintaining the order can help keep your attendees safe.
You should also use barriers to cordon off unsafe areas. As an example, if you’ll be using a large generator at your event, build a compound around it using rental fence. Have fence set up along roads, parking lots, and other areas where attendee safety could be threatened by vehicular traffic. Don’t forget to fence off any performers’ trailers! This will help to maintain the safety of your artists by protecting them from intrusive fans. Adding privacy screening will also keep prying eyes away.
If you plan to have a stage for musical acts or other performers, you’ll want to make sure the front-of-stage area is properly organized. Specially designed stage barricades are intended to protect the safety of the artists and your attendees.
In fact, an artist’s rider (a part of their legal contract that specifies additional demands) will often include a provision for proper stage barriers. Stage barricade can help prevent attendees from gaining access to the stage, protecting the performers from potential security threats and overzealous fans.
Aside from keeping your artists happy, there are other reasons you’d want to keep fans off the stage. Attendees can be seriously hurt if they try to dive off the stage or crowd surf. Furthermore, the front-of-stage area can get crowded and even dangerous as fans push towards the stage to get as close as possible to the artists.
We have seen disastrous results when simple crowd control barriers are used in place of purpose-designed stage barricades. Crowd control fence simply can’t withstand the pressure of a throng of people pushing against it. If it topples over, it can cause serious injury to anybody on either side of the fence.
Stage barricade really is your best bet if you’re expecting a large or rowdy crowd. Each section weighs well over 100 lbs and features a large plate-style base for optimum stability, ensuring the safety of attendees and artists alike.
Finally, sometimes we forget that the perimeter fence itself could pose a risk to event-goers. Without anything anchoring it to the ground, there is a risk of the temporary fence tipping and falling onto someone. For this reason, you want to ensure the fence line is as stable as possible. We have seen rowdy crowds take down an entire line of fence! The last thing you want is a 75 lb steel fence panel falling onto an attendee.
We have a great post dedicated specifically to the subject of fence stability, but at a high level, you should consider the following:
Don’t forget to address any trip hazards created by the fence bases themselves. A good-quality temporary fence system will have long bases to ensure fence stability. For instance, some of our bases are nearly 3 feet long! Attendees who are not paying attention could trip over these bases – even if they are a high-visibility colour
We recommend using safety ramps to minimize the risk of trip-and-falls. As a bonus, they create a smooth transition for wheeled equipment, which is ideal if you are concerned about accessibility at your event.
It’s likely you’ve never thought about all the ways that temporary fence could improve safety at your event. We hope this post has given you a new appreciation for perimeter fencing and the impact it has on event safety!
We’re here to answer any questions you may have.