Fundraising Event Safety Risks

With all the detailed preparation that goes into running a successful fundraising event, it's very easy to overlook the most basic requirement of all - that you have a safety plan that will help you deal with any unforeseen incidents that may arise.

So, what are the issues that you need to consider when running a public fundraising event? Take a look at the following list and ask yourself, are you prepared to deal with all of the following:

  • First aid - You should always have a first aid kit on hand for all events. Make sure it is well stocked and up to date. For larger events, you should consider getting in touch with experienced organisations, such as the St. John's Ambulance, that can help provide an agreed level of first aid assistance.
     
  • Fire - Have you considered the suitability of the venue in which you plan to run your event? Does it have an adequate number of fire extinguishers and fire point notices etc? Have you checked the capacity of the venue and weighed it against the number of people you expect to be in attendance? Talk to your local fire brigade office if you need further advice.
     
  • Evacuation - In the eventuality of an emergency occuring, what sort of evacuation plan do you have in place? Are you and your colleagues all familiar with the layout of the venue you are using? Who will be responsible for what task in the event that an evacuation is required? Talk to the building manager  and your local fire brigade for the best advice.
     
  • Security - What about general safety issues? Who will provide security for your event if there is cash being collected? Where will that cash be stored when the event ends? And what if your event will be welcoming a VIP - are you prepared to ensure their comfort and safety? 
     
  • Stewards - Most fundraising events can probably make do with the help of volunteers and employees. But, if you're staging a bigger event, such as a fun run, you may want to consider hiring a professional company that can provide properly trained stewards for the duration of the event. These stewards will help marshall any crowds, thereby ensuring safety rules are maintained throughout.
     
  • Communication - If you have a large enough number of volunteers or stewards working on your event, have you considered how you will communicate with them all? Having a tried and tested communications system in place for larger events is a must (imagine how difficult it would be to communicate with perhaps dozens of stewards, should an emergency potentially arise). Consider nominating one person to organise the communications for the event and to ensure that all relevant people receive the correct working equipment (such as walkie-talkies or mobile phones etc).
     
  • People with disabilities - Your arrangements must make provision for people with disabilities. Your risk assessment must include hazards specific to people with disabilities - access, comfort areas, comfort facilities, safe viewing areas, carers, emergency procedures, etc. Visit the Disability Federation of Ireland website to find out more.
     
  • Food safety - Events involving the production, supply or sale of food either by you or catering organisations, must comply with a number of regulations. Visit the Food Safety Authority of Ireland website for further advice on food hygiene and preparation.
     
  • Facilities - Decide on and keep reviewing your event requirements. Consider the supply of fresh drinking water, hot or cold water for washing, toilets, PA systems, lighting and temporary structures eg tents and stages. Review your requirements for inclement weather - extra tenting, duckboards, heating, cooling, etc.