An event security team isn't just a physical presence at event, it also offers peace of mind to you, your guests, and your event team. You'll have professionals on hand who are adept in handling a variety of situations that might not be in your wheelhouse — altercations, crowd flow challenges, an unexpected fire drill. When you arrange your event insurance, consider adding event security as another standard measure of insurance.
Like any insurance, getting the best fit for the requirement is key. Hire a security team that's experienced in your particular kind of event. A team specializing in rock concerts and sporting events might not be the best choice for a corporate shareholder meeting — or it could be just the ticket!
Check the security firm's references and make sure their staff is skilled not just in providing security, but also in standard team skills: planning, communicating, and collaborating. Security professionals must be able to partner effectively with the rest of your event team, the event venue, and a variety of resources and personalities.
Once hired, include the security team in planning activities and visit the venue with them well in advance of the event. My brother, Oliver Kay, Security Consultant and a Military Intelligence Officer in the US Army Reserves, stresses the importance of advance planning, especially in the site inspection. "Reconnaissance of the location, plus the primary, secondary, and tertiary routes to and from the venue is important. The security team can use their expertise to identify gaps in planning or anything that could be a risk or threat."
Make sure the security team is familiar with the event agenda, speakers, intended guests, VIPs, and overall flow of event. "We often suggest dry runs with our clients," says Oliver, "as event timelines can be critical for security and smooth flow of the event."
Work with your security team to get the right balance between number of guests and security professionals. A large security team for a small event is overkill. Too few security pros on hand and you defeat the point of hiring them. Ask your security team for guidance on the number of security professionals to have on hand, based on the size and nature of the event and the venue.
A skilled security team will be willing to work long hours, just like you and the rest of your event team. They'll be prepared for the unexpected, just like you. My brother's motto is: "Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance."
That's a great motto for all aspects of event management. Which is why it's so critical that event managers partner well with their security team. Together, we all "plan for the worst, expect the best." That way, I find that the best is almost always what happens.