Public events: Planning for the worst-case scenario

"We can’t plan for everything, but with the right people, policies, training, and supervision in place we can best handle whatever may come our way"

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for all first responders and it’s about planning public events. Preparing for a worst-case scenario.  

Every community hosts several public events throughout the year. Bike races, farmers’ markets, fireworks displays, and local fairs, to name a few.  

Proper preparation through an incident action plan can help with contingencies. These plans should be prepared by the involved stakeholders. This includes law enforcement, fire and EMS, other municipal services, and participating community groups. 

Things to plan for could include pedestrian or traffic control, handling suspicious packages, weather emergencies, or even mass casualty events. 

Establish command and communication protocols. The incident action plan should designate an incident commander and other leadership, depending on available personnel. Chain of command and communications should also be spelled out. 

But what happens if there’s more than your agency can handle? Have you established mutual aid agreements with neighboring jurisdictions or even notified them of your event? Sharing your incident action plan ahead of time can prevent confusion if a request for help is made. 

Plans are great. But to be effective, they must be communicated to your people. Schedule time for adequate briefings before the event. Allow time to discuss any questions that may come up. Designate a public information officer to communicate with the media. 

We can’t plan for everything. But with the right people, policies, training, and supervision in place we can best handle whatever may come our way during these events

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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