Event Safety


This guide is intended to give you an idea of those safety issues which may need to be considered and where required, to direct you to sources of more specialist advice.

Your Local Authorities wish to see local culture and economy thrive whilst striking a balance with public safety. Our aim is to ensure that the public are protected at all events and this information guidance is designed to help you create a successful but more importantly, a safe event.

The theory of health and safety assessment can be complex; however, there is one basic rule: Assess the risk, and then if you are in doubt about the safety of the event either do not hold it or put procedures in place to make it safer. If you do not recognise the risk in the first place, you cannot think about minimising it.  

Safety Advisory Groups

 Safety Advisory Groups are established to assist you with organising your events safely, and is made up of the following representatives:

  • Local Authority

  • Lancashire Constabulary

  • Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service

  • North West Ambulance Service

  • Lancashire County Council


    Where appropriate, others will be asked to join the group. The Event Safety Advisory Group will consider all event notifications and will offer advice and guidance to all parties concerned.

    You can be assured that notifying us allows all of the responsible agencies to be aware of your event and allows these agencies to effectively plan and prioritise their duties and responsibilities. Your notification also allows you to notify all relevant parties through one central point. This will expedite licensing and agreements with minimal bureaucracy.

    The advice we provide and the sources of specialist knowledge we may direct you to, complements any legal requirements and government guidance, which you must also refer to.

    The group does not supersede any permissions, permits, licenses, or registrations that you may require.  

Event Organisers

 Event organisers remain responsible for the safety of those persons involved in the event and those who attend the event. The priority for event organisers is to minimize the risk to participants, the public, volunteers and staff. This is done by:

  • Identifying the risk

  • Assessing the likelihood of it happening

  • Assessing the severity of the result if it did happen

  • Introducing control measures to minimise it happening and/or the effect if it cannot be prevented.

     For every event there must be a competent named person with whom the Event Safety Advisory Group will liaise with. This will normally be the Acting Event Safety Officer. Organising committees should appoint such a person at an early stage.

    For events, timescales must be allowed for Legal requirements, such as Road Closure Orders or Licences to be advertised and obtained.  

Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is a careful examination of what is likely to happen. The identified risks and the control measures that you will put in place to reduce or eliminate such risks. Do not be fooled into thinking that just because an event has taken place safely for a number of years that the risks and control measures in place are still valid. Times change and as such,it is vital that an event is risk assessed objectively every time it takes place.


Events normally have 5 phases:

Build up

  • Planning the venue design

  • Venue capacity

  • Entrance and Exit requirements

  • Emergency Access (Blue Route)

  • Sight lines

  • Video screens

  • Seating

  • Slopes

  • Observation Points  

  • Production infrastructure

  • Storage

  • Fire Safety

  • Ambulance and First Aid Points

  • Sanitation

  • Perimeter fencing

  • Barriers

  • Signage

  • Welfare

  • Selection of Stewards and Staffs

  • Sub-contractors and concessions

  • Planning of Stages, amusements and marquees

  • Event schedule

  • Site Security

  • Safety infrastructure

  • Heating, lighting, utilities


Load in

  • Delivery and installation of equipment and services, such as stages, marquees and public address systems etc.



  • Assess and Egress arrangements

  • Crowd management strategies

  • Park and Ride/Parks and walk zones

  • Transport strategies

  • Access control

  • Welfare arrangements and facilities

  • Contingency plans

  • Excess numbers


Load out

  • Removal of all equipment and other infrastructure referred to above



  • Planning to control risks to return the venue to normality, collection of rubbish, disconnection of power etc.

Emergency Evacuation

  • An Emergency Evacuation plan should be drawn upby you in liaison with the Emergency services and the Event Safety Group. The plan should describe arrangements for matters such as:

  • Who makes key decisions

  • Roles of various personnel e.g. management, stewards

  • Stopping the event

  • Emergency route for the public

  • Message codes to stewards & the public address announcements

  • Rendezvous point for emergency services

  • First aid treatment areas

  • Route to emergency hospitals  

Bomb Threat

If a bomb threat is received, details of the call must be recorded as accurately as possible (The Police and Event Safety Group are able to provide guidance on this). It is essential that the information is immediately passed to the Police for evaluation and response.

The Police will advise on the validity of a threat. Generally any decision to evacuate or move people will rest with you. The exception is where a device is found or where police have received specific information. In these circumstances the Police may initiate action and the directions of the senior Police Officer present must be complied with. If a bomb is a real threat, care must be taken to be alert for secondary devices. These might be aimed at the emergency services or the moved/evacuated audience.

Emergency services

The emergency services need to ensure that your event does not pose operational problems, either at the scene or the surrounding areas. Notifying the Rossendale Event Safety Advisory Group of your event enables the relevant agencies to be aware of your event and assists them in their operational strategies.  

Fire Fighting

Provide equipment throughout the site for putting out small fires. These may be fire extinguishers and fire blankets. Make sure that the stewards know where the equipment is and how to use it. They should be told not to attempt to fight major fires. Their priority should be evacuation of people, not saving marquees.

The Fire Service should be called at once to any fire, suspected or real, however slight. When parking vehicles, ensure that there is sufficient gap between rows of parked vehicles to minimise the risk of vehicle fires spreading.  

In respect of an ‘Open Air Event’, a Fire Risk Assessment will be required in accordance with the Fire Safety Order 2005. (Guidance for this can be found at /downloads/open_air_events_and_venues.pdf/ 

If you intend to use pyrotechnics please provide details with the fire risk assessment.

Access and egress for emergency vehicles must be indicated on a detailed site plan enclosed with your notification form.  

First Aid

The First Aid provision needs to be suitable for the number of people expected to attend and the type of event.

Make sure that the basic services for first aid are always available. At smaller events, i.e. indoor markets, jumble sales etc., a qualified first aider should be present and an area suitable for first aid treatment, including a water supply, should be available. A voluntary first aid society can be asked to provide a first aid post.

A first aid post and organisers control centre should be located near the outside of the site, not in the centre of it. They will be of no use if they are in the centre of the incident itself.

The first aid post should be clearly signposted and provided with easy access for spectators and an ambulance at all times. Where an ambulance is required, a parking area should be provided close to the first aid with a clear exit from the site. Make sure that all persons assisting at the event know where the first aid post is.  


You will need to provide enough identifiable stewards to cater for the size and nature of your event. It is imperative that stewards are adequately briefed as to their roles and responsibilities.

If stewards are controlling access to premises licensed for alcohol, they must be licensed by the Security Industry Authority. It is not the role of the police to provide stewarding at events, nor to provide training to steward personnel.

It is essential that stewards and organizers are able to communicate effectively. Just as important is communication with the public. In the event of evacuation for example, an effective means of communication must be available.

If the event is to last several hours, extra stewards should be available to allow others to take meal breaks etc.  

Emergency Lighting

There should be suitable lighting throughout the site, including emergency lighting if the event will go after dark.