June is National Safety Month, and when it comes to events, the only thing more important than quality is safety! So here's some of the best tips I've gleaned from over a decade of event planning.
1. Use the buddy system with walk in freezers.
During one event I was working on, the caterer walked into the freezer and tragically couldn't get out. Often times cell phones don't get a signal inside a walk in freezer, so be aware. Make sure you always have someone manning the door and never go at it alone!
2. Tape down your cables.
I can't tell you how often I see vendors and guests tripping on cables that aren't securely taped to the ground. Avoid injuries (and lawsuits) by securing all cables! Recently, at an outside wedding, the groom's grandfather tripped over a cord that was “hidden” in the grass. He broke his hip and 911 had to be called. It totally disrupted the wedding and it could have been avoided!
3. Dry ice is so cool–if used properly.
Handling dry ice can burn you up. Be sure to train someone on your team to correctly transport and handle dry ice. There are gloves that must be worn to avoid burns. Even transporting in a car can be dangerous because of a certain chemical that is released, so be sure to have the windows down or better yet, have a professional deliver it and handle it for your event.
4. Don't skimp on insurance.
Even if you are a planner or consultant, protecting yourself and your company is imperative. If someone were to fall off a ladder, trip over a cord, or even if a guest gets hurt, health insurance companies find a way to sue all parties involved. Many venues that know to ask, now require planners and all vendors to have professional insurance, which again, is to protect YOU!
5. Rent the right lights.
Consider using LED lights at your events for several reasons. They're better quality, and unlike par can lights, LED lights don't get hot. This is especially important in avoiding burns for young children that may be curious when drawn to the light fixtures sitting on the floor. Another proactive solution is to have protective boxes or covers built to go around each uplight.
6. Think about privacy.
If you are working with a client that is in the public eye, consider using your company name or alias name to book the event under. This is for protection of the event as well. Things can get sticky and security must be involved sometimes to keep events private. I once had guests hiding in a ditch trying to land pictures of a client's wedding to sell to a magazine. Thank goodness I had security. Also, I ask vendors to come in unmarked trucks or moving trucks (such as U-Hauls) so it doesn't look like anything “special” is going on. If something does leak out, move the venue! It's worth the safety of your client and others.
7. Password protect your client's website for the guests.
Break-ins are on the rise. Hackers are on the rise. Secure your client's information by password protecting everything. Burglars are online looking at social media to see whose home may be vacant. Oh, and advise your couples and vendors not to post too much while they're traveling–wait until they are home!