When you manage a venue that hosts large-scale events, it’s only a matter of time before an unforeseen incident occurs that requires an immediate response from your team to preserve public health and safety.
Being prepared is half the battle, which is why every stadium needs to have a comprehensive emergency action plan (EAP) in place.
An EAP is a written document that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires almost every business to have on-site. The purpose of an EAP is to ensure venue employees are trained to respond appropriately and effectively during various types of emergencies.
The specifics of the plan are business-dependent—your local coffee shop will have a far different EAP than the MSG Sphere—so it is crucial to customize your stadium’s EAP to optimize guest and employee safety.
We put together this guide to help you get started.
Why Stadium Emergency Action Plans are Important
When an unexpected emergency occurs at your venue, every second counts. Having a well-tested, up-to-date stadium emergency action plan (EAP) in place will help your emergency response team protect lives and minimize injuries.
Although maintaining public safety is the primary reason for implementing an EAP, there are also legal and business implications to consider.
For example, venues are required to comply with EAP guidelines established by sports leagues (such as the NFL and MLB) as well as local and federal government regulations. Failure to comply can result in fines and legal consequences.
EAPs also help stadiums reduce liability and maintain their business’s reputation. In the event of an emergency, failure to respond quickly and effectively opens up the venue to lawsuits, negative publicity, and a loss of public trust.
Key Components of an Effective Stadium EAP
Although your EAP will be specific to the venue it covers, there are a few fundamental components that every EAP should have.
Communication PlanA multi-channel communication plan that includes telecom, email, mobile apps, and SMS is essential during an emergency. Depending on the situation, one or more of these systems may be non-functioning, so the response team will need alternatives to coordinate the EAP and communicate updates and instructions to guests.
Roles and Responsibilities
The middle of a crisis is not the time to be deciding what each staff member is responsible for. Assigning roles and ensuring staff members are adequately trained to carry out their responsibilities should be an ongoing practice.
It’s crucial to have evacuation procedures and routes clearly documented so the staff can help visitors either leave the building or move away from the immediate danger during an emergency. Review and update these routes regularly to identify blocked access ways and potential bottlenecks.
Fast access to quality medical care can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. Having trained medical professionals onsite during an event will help ensure illnesses and injuries are addressed quickly.
Proper security measures—such as metal detectors, guard patrols, and an automated incident response system—can help minimize injuries and save lives during an emergency.
Your EAP must be clearly documented and accessible to all employees. Regularly reviewing the documentation for accuracy, updating it as needed, and sharing the current documentation will help ensure your team is prepared to respond quickly and effectively.
Step-by-Step Guide to Creating and Deploying a Stadium EAP
Emergencies aren’t all the same, so it doesn’t make sense to create a one-size-fits-all emergency action plan.
Following these guidelines will help you implement an EAP that is designed to address specific risks with a response customized for your venue, staff, and resources:
- Identify key players, including safety officers, medical personnel, security staff, and local emergency response teams.
- Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of the venue and emergency response resources.
- Gather current information about floor plans, seating charts, contact details, etc.
- Set objectives that address appropriate responses to specific emergencies.
- Share the communication plan with internal and external stakeholders.
- Review and refine the evacuation plan.
- Assign roles and responsibilities (and backups for those roles and responsibilities).
- Conduct regular testing and drills to ensure staff is ready to implement the EAP.
- Maintain documentation and publish it in a centralized repository.
- Educate and train staff on EAP policies and procedures.
- Schedule EAP reviews and updates.
How 24/7 Software's Incident Management System Can Aid Stadiums in Effective Emergency Response
24/7 Software’s Safety Act-designated incident management system helps streamline your emergency response efforts by structuring incident management and coordinating team members to work together efficiently.
These are some key capabilities that empower your emergency response team to track, document, manage, resolve, and report incidents:
- Effective communication
- Clearly defined roles and responsibilities
- Efficient and effective resource allocation
- Ability to support multiple incidents at once
- Real-time documentation and data collection
- Training and education support
- Future-proof incident response
Want to learn why some of the world’s best venues trust 24/7 Software to provide their incident management technology? Check out our on-demand webinar: “Future-Proof Facility Incident Management Strategy”.