In holding your event, you are likely to have gathered a large number of people together at your venue. Whilst your audience are on site, you have a responsibility as the Event Organiser to ensure that you look after their welfare. In the event of an incident, how will you see to it that people get the medical help they need? How will you ensure that the facilities you have on site are adequate? This page will help you consider your provisions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your audience.
Medical / First Aid Plan
An appropriate level of first aid, paramedical and medical facilities should be provided at your event after consultation with the Ambulance Service and relevant voluntary groups. This will be at your expense, so you will need to factor this in to your budget.
What cover will I require?
As with completing your risk assessment, you will need to consider the following in order to evaluate the cover required at your event:
- Event activities
- Audience demographic
- Duration of event
You may wish to refer to the HSE document The Event Safety Guide HSG195 for advice on appropriate medical cover. The Guide contains a useful table, which allows you to ‘score’ your event to find the recommended level of cover.
You will also need to consider whether you require an ambulance on site.
Who can provide cover?
There are a number of organisations able to supply cover for events, including British Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance, alongside other private providers. You will need to contact these organisations as soon as possible in the planning stages, as they can be very busy during the events season. At least 6 weeks notice is recommended.
A First Aid at Work certificate is not adequate for providing cover at a public event. This is because the training is only intended to cover first aid to employees / staff in your place of work – which is a very different environment to an event in a public or outdoor space.
Even with adequate training, individuals providing cover will also need to consider their legal liabilities in case something goes wrong with the care they administer. Clinical Negligence cover protects against this.
Clinical negligence is any act or omission that falls short of a standard to be expected. To be charged with Clinical negligence, it is necessary to show that whatever the First Aid provider did or did not do fell below the standard of a reasonably competent First Aid provider in that field of care.
If your first aid providers administer care and do not have clinical negligence cover, they may face serious legal action if the care administered is found to be inappropriate or results in causing potential or actual harm.
If your event is likely to attract a younger audience, your first aid providers will also need to be trained in paediatrics (the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents).
For these reasons, it is best practice to employ a professional provider of first aid cover who will have all the necessary training and insurances in place.
Location of first aid
Best practice states that you should have a dedicated, clearly signposted First Aid point at your event. This should not be doubled up as a Lost Children’s point, and staff should be dedicated to the role. This is due to the fact that if there were an incident at your event that required your First Aid staff to administer care, or transport a patient to hospital, you would have no remaining cover.
The location of your First Aid Point should be clearly accessible but not situated on a major thoroughfare or in close proximity to distracting event attractions, such as stages or funfair rides.
You will also need to consider Emergency Services access in and out of your event.
An adequate provision of toilets should be made for the number of people expected to attend your event.
Considerations should be given to:
- Location, access, construction, and type of facilities including provision for hand washing, maintenance, cleaning, lighting and signage.
- Accommodating the needs of disabled people. Unisex accessible facilities should be provided on level ground without steps and if ramped, at no more than a 1:20 gradient.
- At least one accessible toilet with handwashing facilities must be provided for every 75 disabled people expected at an event.
Please note that these are guidelines to the minimum number of facilities required and actual provision should be based on the nature of the event and expected attendees. The following table taken from The Event Safety Guide is a guide to facilities required at events:
|Events with a gate opening time of six hours or more||Events with gate opening time of less than six hours|
|1 toilet per 100||1 toilet per 500 + 1 urinal per 150||1 toilet per 120||1 toilet per 600 + 1 urinal per 175|
Make your audience feel safe and secure at moments that are otherwise highly stressful. Losing a child, falling over or having your purse stolen can all happen, so including a welfare point within your venue is good practice and having related procedures in place can help resolve situations swiftly and efficiently.
The scale and type of event will influence how detailed your procedures need to be and whether you have a dedicated welfare point, or combine it with another function, such as Box Office.
Policies and functions to consider include:
- Disoriented / Overwhelmed Persons
- Complimentary water / sun block distribution