Let’s make something clear right away - if you’re a business owner or manager, you should fundamentally like large crowds. Large crowds mean that you’re doing something well, and that you’re producing something - a product, a service, an event - that many, many people actually want to see and want to come experience.
However - with great support comes great responsibility, and great challenge. Large crowds to your place of business mean that it is your responsibility to make sure that things move smoothly when they’re inside. This is not only good practice for your business - after all, who wants to go to a place and wait in line forever and ever - but it’s a necessary one to ensure the safety of all who come in.
So, how can you optimally manage the flow of large crowds during your event? Here are some tips:
Use barricades to direct the flow of crowds - This is one of the most effective ways of getting the people that are entering your place of business to go where they need to go. Acquiring and using barricades (like the ones found here) is an excellent idea for effectively controlling the flow of people. Study the layout of your space. Figure out in what direction people are going to naturally flow - closer to the stage, closer to the cashiers, closer to the bathrooms, for example - and set up barriers that will provide smooth and easy transit.
Be sure your staff is effectively briefed - All of your planning and setup can go to waste if you don’t have an effective staff behind the event. It is absolutely essential that the staff you have be as informed and as responsive as you are. Make sure everyone working that day has an accurate sense of the layout, the crowd flow, the emergency exits and everything else needed to make sure everything goes off smoothly.
Make sure that you have emergency exits - This is an absolute for your event. At any place where there are large crowds, it is necessary - and likely required by law - that you have well-lit, well-marked emergency exits where the gathered crowds can go in the unlikely event of an emergency. Make sure you study the required emergency exit regulations in your country or state.
Know the safety regulations - Before setting up any sort of crowd control system, it’s probably a very good idea to familiarize yourself with the needed regulations in the area. For example, give a look at the OSHA regulations if you’re in the United States, and familiarize yourself with any sort of local regulations that must be taken into account.
Use signage to help move the flow of people - Erect efficient, clear and well-marked signage through the venue to direct people where to go and what to do. Make sure this signage lets people know where exits are, where bathrooms are, and where other high-traffic places are.
Use professional security - For some crowded events - ones where alcohol is served, for example - it’s a good idea to employ professional security services in conjunction with barricades, or at least coordinate with local law enforcement to make sure everything is done with the utmost professionalism.
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