Organising an outdoor event
Public events can range from village fêtes and county shows to large concerts and major events for internationally acclaimed performers, sporting activities, etc. Whatever the venue the Fire Safety Strategy and the Emergency and Evacuation Plans play a vital role in managing the safety at the event.
The key piece of Legislation that applies to events is the Licensing Act 2003. It is very important that you familiarise yourself with the key points in this act as you have a legal duty to comply with this, whatever the size of your event.
Alongside the 2003 Licensing Act, all proposed events must conform to the following guidance and legislation:
- Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
- Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Open-air Events and Venues
- The Purple Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events
- NFCC Semi Permanent Tented Structures guidance
- The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Successful Health and Safety Management (HSG 65)
- The Children’s Act 2004
- Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
- Equality Act 2010
Safety Advisory Group (SAG)
Local authorities may have a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to provide advice on event safety matters and to ensure that public safety is maintained. A SAG considers all event-licensing requests and offers advice and guidance to all parties concerned.
Applications for a public event should be made via the relevant Local Authority.
Where members of the public are invited to participate in a staged and planned event, the Event Organiser and/or owner of the property or land where the event is staged has responsibility, or duty of care, for public safety before during and after the event, whatever the size.
Event Organisers are responsible for taking steps to protect people attending the event from the risk of fire. This includes employees, contractors, volunteers, the visiting public or any other person who has a legal right to be there.
It is important to appreciate that fire is a very real risk in event environments and Event Organisers should recognise their statutory responsibilities to undertake a comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment and to put in place such controls as are necessary to mitigate against these risks.
Depending on the nature, size and complexity of the event, a Fire Risk Assessment may be carried out by the Event Organiser or a member of the events team, etc. providing they have the necessary skills, experience, knowledge and understanding. Alternatively, it may be more appropriate to employ a fire safety specialist to carry out the Fire Risk Assessment. See A Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor.
All events will need some form of Event Plan, the detail of which will depend upon the nature, size and impact of the event. This Plan should be a live document which records the development of the event and records any important information (e.g. issues, agreements or amendments that may arise as the event progresses).
A map of the event site or venue is a useful communication tool for the management and control of the event. It is also useful in the event design process to plan how people will enter and exit the site, and how they will move about the site.
Some templates that may be useful when organising a small to medium sized event are freely available via the National Fire Chiefs Council website including the following: