The All-Hazards Planning Guide to Effective Major Event Management

Best Practice Guide

Overview

For stakeholders, all-hazards planning is increasingly integral to effective major event management. The reason is clear. Major events, whether international summits, political conventions, large-scale sporting events, or music festivals, pose outsized security risk, especially if they’re viewed as political, social, or religious in orientation.

And the fact is events of national and international focus are usually interpreted as inherently political. A consequence: stakeholders must consider those events as potential terror targets. Indeed, stakeholders have gotten the message. For instance, organizers of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the first Games held after the September 11 terror attacks, invested over $300 million on security, $50 million more than Sydney 2000 organizers spent to secure the much larger Summer Games.

If anything, this sharp increase illustrates the fact that managing major events means courting dynamic, multi- directional risk. For the very factors that classify major events as major (see more below) explain why those events are such risk-vectors. For one, sustained media attention entices larger numbers of participants and spectators to an event. The health and safety of those publics must then be considered and ensured as part of a larger risk strategy.

Major events don’t just attract media attention, either. They also require complex planning. That planning is parceled out between a diverse set of stakeholders, which increases operational risk. Not to mention, the planning effort itself tends to involve more construction and operational phases, which makes it qualitatively distinct from smaller-event planning. The responsibility for executing those time-critical projects falls to larger numbers of staff and volunteers, all of varying levels of experience. Their occupational health and safety must also be carefully considered, which brings in a new risk factor.

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