What is a contingency plan?

What is a contingency plan?  My quick answer to the question is that it is a plan that you hope and pray that you will never need.

My longer answer will unfold below as in truth you will have more than one contingency plan.

Where should I start with my contingency planning?

You should sit down and write down a list of everything that you could possibly imagine that could go wrong.  When you do this, I would also recommend asking some of your key people for there input.

This should be done at an early stage of your event planning. As through this you may identify positions that would be beneficial to your event not previously identified.

Once you feel like you have thought of everything review the list and rank each scenario.  It should be ranked by both the likelihood of it happening and the level of severity should it happen.

This is a subjective process and gives you an indication of where to start the planning process.

For any scenarios that are considered to be either high likelihood or high severity you should write an individual plan.

For low likelihood and low severity scenarios you may want to leave these to your Event Safety Manager.

What is the value of contingency plans?

Contingency plans have great value.  When something is going wrong, they can provide great comfort.  They can allow you to get control of the situation and set about dealing with it that little bit quicker.

It also allows all departments at your event to be fully aware ahead of time what will happen should this particular scenario happen.

When everything is going on having the plan available and documented provides an oasis of calm in an otherwise high pressure and urgent situation.

Should every contingency plan include a show stop element?

My short answer on this is no.  Whilst there are certain scenarios where a show stop, and a potential evacuation may be necessary this is not always the case.

You may have a contingency in place in case certain key staff don’t arrive or are delayed in traffic.  Your contingency for this may be that their deputy steps up until their arrival (or simply replaces them).  Whilst there are issues and problems that need to be addressed in this scenario as there is little or no impact on the customers do they even need to be made aware that you have had to initiate a contingency plan?

What is a Show Stop Procedure?

A show stop procedure is where any performances are immediately halted.  Any music is cut and is generally followed up with a safety announcement.

In the case of a sporting game, it could be that you are asking the referee to hold a game and potentially take the players from the pitch.

As they can cause concern to the public that could result in people taking actions that you don’t want the show stop is a last resort action.

There are two types of show stop.  A temporary pause and a full stop.

If you are getting reports of crowd crushing as an example.  A temporary pause and an appeal from the performer for people to not push forward could resolve the situation.

Whereas an electrical failure could either be a temporary pause whilst it is addressed.  Should it not be possible it could be that you need to go for a full stop

The show stop procedure and what a temporary and full stop looks like should be fully outlined.  This should also include who can call for the stop.