Business and Non-Profit

How to plan a safe event

The first step to holding a successful event is planning a safe event. Organize the safety of your event within two categories: location and activities.

Provide a safe location

The most common cause of injury at special events is trip hazards. Power cables and extension cords are among the worst offenders. Make sure your guests enjoy a safe event by eliminating or reducing trip hazards.

  • Cover or tape all cords, cables, etc. Then mark their positions so your guests can see and avoid them.
  • Keep all walkways clear of cords and debris.

Before you hold your event, familiarize yourself with the venue.

  • Get to know the area, who and what else is around it, the address, nearest cross streets, etc.
  • Understand all emergency and safety procedures.
  • Ask about events that are going on before and after your event.
  • Learn the activities and details of any events planned at the same time as your event. 

During your event, make sure safety remains a top priority.

  • Maintain sufficient lighting throughout the event — poor lighting greatly increases the likelihood of accidents.
  • Section off areas where you don’t want people to walk or gather.
  • Monitor your event for any unsafe or suspicious activities. Large groups of people can be targets for criminals.

Organize safe activities

More often than not, if a spectator is injured, it’s because he or she was too close to the action. From hot water splashing on someone watching a cooking demonstration to a bike crashing into the crowd at a race, accidents are preventable.

  • Maintain safe distances at all viewing areas.
  • Install adequate barriers to keep spectators safely separated from activities.
  • If the event includes hired vendors or exhibitors, make certain to understand all aspects of their activities and safety procedures.
  • Understand the limitations of your spectators, and do not allow them to participate in anything too advanced.
  • Post your activities and their rules to be sure participants understand the risks involved ahead of time. Have participants sign waivers to reinforce this.

Additional resources

For more information about keeping spectators safe at your event, visit:

Local police/fire departments and your city and county recreation departments

National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security

Department of Homeland Security


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