Emergency Planning

It is a reasonable community expectation that an Emergency Plan will be in place at all sporting events. Even small sporting events carry risks of medical emergencies involving competitors and spectators. Every event manager has to contemplate the need to deal with a range of scenarios from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening injuries or illnesses that need require the immediate attention of paramedics.

When a large number of people are crowded into a sporting venue, the event manager must contemplate scenarios such as

  • Explosion
  • Fire
  • Bomb Threat
  • Crowd Riot (including crush or stampede)

When bad things happen, the degree to which a disaster unfolds will depend on a few critically important factors

  • The skills and knowledge of persons in charge of the event on the day
  • The planned response actions to any particular emergency scenario
  • The readiness of equipment

Person in charge

A number of personnel must be appointed who have clear roles and responsibilities and know exactly what to do in an event. Such personnel would include emergency coordinator, first aid personnel or crowd control officials

Planned response actions

Knowing what to do in an emergency is a key factor that saves lives. For each type of scenario envisaged, there needs to be a planned set of actions (planned response actions) to be taken by all those who are allocated responsibility. These planned response actions include:

  • Evacuation procedure (when to evacuate, how to evacuate, where to evacuate to)
  • Sounding an alarm
  • Calling for ambulance, police or fire
  • Opening entrance ways
  • Use of emergency equipment e.g. fire house
  • Calling for a doctor in the crowd (if they exist) to come forward

Emergency management plans require people and people require training. The training needed by the team of people in charge of an event on the day includes

  • The Key personnel roles and responsibilities
  • Emergency exit locations and paths
  • Assembly point locations
  • Fire Fighting equipment locations
  • The rehearsal (exercise drills) of what to do on the day in the event of an emergency

Maintenance and testing of equipment

Equipment failure is a very real and persistent threat. This could include

  • Mobile phones or 2-way radios with flat batteries
  • Public announcement equipment (loudspeakers) that do not work
  • Alarm signals that fail to go off
  • Fire hoses that cannot be used (e.g. tap rusted, hose damaged)
  • Gates or doors that cannot be opened
  • First aid kits that are not replenished

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