As the final months of the year approach, security firms typically get a wave of requests for guard positions at specific events and celebrations. Extra business is good, especially if your firm has the guard availability to meet demand.
However, these end-of-year celebrations also bring their own risks. Drinking tends to be heavier, stress levels are high, and many are at unfamiliar venues. Here are a few tips for security firms planning on working at events like these.
Always Have Guards Review Venues First
As we mentioned above, end-of-year celebrations can often take place at venues guards may not be familiar with, especially with new or one-time clients. From concerts to church events, these venues may have complex layouts, multiple entry points, and other unique qualities that are difficult to survey in the moment. Plus, these celebrations will almost always occur when it’s dark out and visibility is poor, so quickly learning the environment may be very challenging while the event is happening.
The best solution is to always arrange for guards to visit a venue before and inspect it to study the layout and access points. This preparation doesn’t need to take long, but can really increase performance and safety. Arrange these meetings with clients as part of the process, and provide guards with maps or diagrams, if possible, to help them get acquainted with everything fast.
Arrange for Separate Alcohol Monitors If Possible
There’s a lot of drinking at these celebrations, and guards often have their hands full monitoring guests, access points, and overall safety. There’s not often much time leftover to check how much people are drinking and who’s intoxicated enough to start being a safety risk. When possible, arrange for a separate team or specific, on-the-move guards to act as alcohol monitors entirely, while leaving overall safety to more general guard duties.
Even if there’s no space or budget for separate alcohol monitors, work to assign guards with bouncer or bar experience to these parties. That way they’ll have some experience in what to watch for before intoxicated guests become a serious problem. As we’ve talked about before, there are also affordable classes that security guards can take on how to safely deal with intoxicated people.
Watch for Blocked Doors and Roads
These celebrations can get crowded and parking isn’t always certain. Add in anxious drivers and people arriving late, and roads or doors can get completely blocked off in certain circumstances. Nighttime conditions and the often poor weather of winter make these situations even worse.
Guards should be prepared to ask people and drivers to move as necessary so that no guests (or guards) are trapped in any specific area. That includes people who claim they’re just waiting for a pick-up or drop-off: Blocking access points is a disaster in an emergency, and there’s no right time to allow that to happen. Keep lanes of access open and people moving.
In some cases, venues may be able to provide temporary fencing or blockages to help keep certain areas clear as necessary.
Set a Patrol for Parking Lots If Possible
Parking lots don’t just fall victim to bad drivers and blocked pathways: They’re also very common targets for thieves during holiday events. Plus, we’ve all noted situations where attacks, fights or illicit behavior break out in parking lots away from the main event. For these reasons, guards should set an occasional patrol of event parking lots. It doesn’t need to be constant surveillance, but guards should set a schedule to keep an eye on what’s going on.
Talk About Tickets
Many of these end-of-year events include tickets or passes. Whenever possible, security firms should schedule a time to discuss tickets with a few important questions. Are tickets mandatory for entry? Should guests be absolutely banned if they don’t have tickets, or is it more of a soft limit? Are attendees able to leave the event and then return? And, most importantly, will assigned guards be responsible for checking tickets in any way? That may require extra training or different types of guard setups to address.
Keep Communication Channels Clear
These celebrations can get loud. Between that and potentially bad weather, guard comm channels need to be crystal clear. Communication apps with great short-range capabilities are usually the best bet. Test out comms between guards before an event begins to make sure everything works and there are no difficulties with distortion.
People generally are at these events to have a good time. They may be nervous or stressed out, but very few attend celebrations like these with the intent to cause a problem. The friendlier security guards are, the more at ease everyone will feel. This helps diffuse problematic situations before they begin. A little bit of cheer and friendly greetings can go a long way to guards stationed at access points and similar areas.
With the right preparation and assigned duties, your security firm can be ready for even packed and noisy end-of-year celebrations and similar events. Keep these tips in mind to help reduce the risk of any injury or accident at these get-togethers. And since it’s the holidays, consider giving your guards overtime or bonuses for working these often-challenging events.