Concert venues and other events often draw large crowds. This can cause numerous issues when event organizers and building administrators are trying to communicate safety information. Noise and other distractions can make it difficult to grab people’s attention and relay instructions that will keep them out of harm’s way. Whether it’s an active shooter, bomb threat, severe weather, fire, or some other emergency, you need to have plans in place to share information with attendees and manage the situation at hand.
So, how do you combat these challenges, and deliver valuable information that fulfills your duty of care?
The right mass notification system can help connect to existing devices, deliver alerts to mobile phones and assist with crisis management in the event of the emergency. In this article, I’ll outline best practices for leveraging a mass notification system to assist with safety at concerts and other large-scale events.
Why Mobile Matters
One of the best options for sending mass notifications during large events or concerts is mobile devices. Utilizing devices most people are likely to carry with them means you can get safety information directly into their hands. But how do connect outside devices with your mass notification system?
The right solution will offer outside users the ability to opt-in to receive alerts. Signs at event venues and emails sent to attendees before the event can include instructions for how to sign up for alerts. The easiest way to do this is often by having attendees text a designated number to opt into receive alerts. Administrators on the back end can collect those responses to create a group. That group can then be active for the duration of the event, so attendees do not receive irrelevant information after the event has ended.
This offers a quick way to reach everyone who attends an event or concert, but you can’t guarantee that everyone will opt-in. That means you need to leverage other devices and methods to communicate your message.
Leverage Digital Signage and Speakers
Since you can’t assume everyone attending will sign up via a mobile option to receive alerts, it’s important to look at how your mass notification system can integrate with other devices. In many event venues, IP speakers and digital are going to be two powerful pieces of existing technology that can help share information.
IP speakers offer intrusive audio that can interrupt and overpower other noise happening during the event. Loud, clear instructions will help people understand that a serious situation is taking place and that they need to take action to avoid being in danger.
Of course even under the best conditions, audio can sometimes be challenging to hear. That’s why it is important to couple an audio alert strategy with a visual one. Digital signage in a venue that can connect to a mass notification system can provide large, easy to read text and helpful images to communicate safety instructions. Digital signage can be leveraged before an event begins as well to provide details about how attendees can sign up for mobile alerts, if they have not done so already. Additional visual elements like strobe lights should also be triggered if available to disrupt the event taking place and help people recognize that an emergency is taking place.
Collaboration Aides Response Times
Event and concert venue safety doesn’t end with sharing a message with attendees though. You’ll need to coordinate a response which could include facilitating an evacuation and assisting first responders. A mass notification system can help bring key stakeholders together by automatically launching a conference or collaboration space using tools like Cisco Webex Teams or Microsoft Teams. Utilizing desk phones and desktop computers further expands your mass notification ecosystem. Ideally you should be connecting every device and system that can be used for communication and safety to your mass notification system to help ensure everyone receives the message you are sending out.
The quicker you can bring all your people together, the quicker you can begin helping those in need. A strong mass notification system will give you the speed and reach you need to deliver messages to large groups of people in a short amount of time.