C3 is more than an investment in crowd safety and technology
Robust and resilient Command, Control and Communications (C3) arrangements have never been more crucial for major events. In this article we will unpack the key facets and benefits of C3 and Event Control that assist organisers and the Safety Officer/Crowd Management lead. Where technology, culture, trained personnel and strong organisation align there is a strong case for investment and sharing wider benefits of a coordinated event to optimise customer service and commercial opportunities
There would be few event professionals that challenge the premise that Command, Control and Communications (C3) are a critical requirement for not only ensuring public safety at events of all sizes but increasingly crucial to the efficiency and effectiveness of the spectator experience and commercial opportunities during the event. Chapter 16 of the Guide to Safe-ty at Sports Grounds, Sports Ground Safety Authority. 6th Edition (2018) provides sound guidance on the role, interfaces, key communication functions and resilience with a particular focus on the operation of a permanent sports ground event control room.
Connected and integrated with emerging technologies
Event Control has to deal with the day-to-day requirements of all events, including event logging and coordination of security and safety staff in response to smaller incidents and is traditionally focused on these areas. I would argue that a modern Event Control now, more than ever, needs to keep pace with spectator experience interfaces with the ticketholder and wider technologies that help us to shape, react and communicate with the audience.
The highly connected way in which an organiser interfaces with the ticket holder’s spending could provide meta data such as where RFID and other technologies at bars and retail to in-form Event Control situational awareness and future planning on safety and security resourcing. Similarly, the speed of social media and variety of digital channels to both monitor proactively and to react to as required during an incident are ever increasing in both scope and scale of data to inter-act with. It is in this area where a well-planned and resourced Event Control can offer a dividend to departments beyond safety and security in terms of situational awareness regarding the venue and space around it which can inform deployments and influencing of customer behaviour through commercial and communication activity.
Coordinated with all relevant communication channels.
We are seeing a strong trend at a number of our Event Control Rooms at festivals and sporting events toward embedding a Media representative from the Event Organiser in Event Control or creating appropriate permissions for them to remotely view relevant agreed information from the Event Control Room log. Behind this representative, the organiser and wider agencies to rapidly implement well-rehearsed Crisis Communications arrangements as a Cell.
This group, which would often be virtual, should be in receipt of agreed operational information and able to then rapidly develop (with decision makers) the messaging and relevant digital, broadcast and more manual channels to communicate with those affected within and around the event site. which would often be virtual should be in receipt of agreed operational information and able to then rapidly develop (with decision makers) the messaging and relevant digital, broadcast and more manual channels to communicate with those affected within and around the event site.
When delivered well, this involves Crisis Communications representatives being pre-defined, using a shared plan and with relevant channels and owners identified. On the day this can involve channels as varied as those across the venue (including Public Address, loud hailers, Variable Message Signage, customer facing Audio Visual feeds), Off-site transport hubs and grey space and with different owners CPD approved Event Control Room training, Bratislava for PS Events (2018) including the organiser, venue (if not the organiser), multi-agency partners and neighbours.
A highly performing Event Control goes well beyond technology…
Over the last decade I have implemented both temporary event and permanent venue Event Control Room capabilities in the United Kingdom, France, Oman, United States and Australia to varying levels of success. A common thread through the planning for each project has been the need to work with or develop a culture of joint working and permissive environment. By this I mean that the boundaries and perspectives of the event organiser and wider responder community are clearly understood and act as a starting point for well-developed situational awareness and well-informed decision making to take place.
Without this starting point we find that technology implementation in Event Control is challenged by differing in-formation needs and wants, potential mistrust over permission levels and access to event data.