Maintaining Fire and Emergency Protection at Large Venue Events

Fire and emergency personnel must be involved in event planning, training and safety enforcement of large venues.

Prior to the event, all private concession contractors, souvenir sales vendors, tents and other venue specific sales and display locations should be issued permits, inspected and code compliant before being allowed to begin sales to the public. Any venders not complying should not be allowed to open and, if necessary, fined and removed from the event. A simple method to avoid these issues is for code enforcement authorities to develop informational flyers and brochures detailing permitting requirements, inspection and Code compliance issues.

These items should be given to event coordinators during the planning phase of the event to distribute to sales and display vendors. Tents, recreational vehicles (RVs) and campers with other camping associated paraphernalia also create issues for fire and emergency personnel. Adequate fire lanes and spacing must be maintained to eliminate fires spreading from unit to unit. Fire personnel should make regular patrols through these areas to ensure carelessness with fire is not occurring. Patrols should also keep watch for excessive trash and debris that could lead up to fire spread as well. Upon finding any of these issues, personnel should immediately order the situation corrected and if necessary, fines and penalties should be imposed.

Events occurring over several days may dictate fire and emergency services manning a temporary, 24-hour-a-day station to maintain fire and EMS protection of patrons and participants at the event. Budget salary figures should be adjusted to meet overtime pay and compensation for personnel assigned to work during events. Fees and venue permitting requirements may be need to implemented provide funding to meet these additional personnel cost. Once again, meetings and partnerships should be made with venue owners and operators to explain regulations and requirements months prior to events occurring. From these meetings partnerships, plans and solutions to problems can be developed, implemented and maintained.

Large venue events are an everyday occurrence and are rapidly becoming more diverse, larger and more prevalent. Fire and emergency personnel must continue to be involved in event planning, training and safety enforcement. Emergency preparedness, fire safety and code compliance must continue to be stressed to venue owners, operators, vendors, patrons and participants. Proper implementation of all of these measures will create and maintain a safety conscious environment before, during and after a large venue event.

Slideshow Images:

MARK A. BROWN, a Contributing Editor, serves as Fire Prevention Bureau Chief for the Concord, NC, Department of Fire & Life Safety. A 20-year veteran of the fire service, he is an appointed board member of the North Carolina Fire Marshal's Association and possesses an Associates Degree in Fire Protection and is. To read Mark's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here.