So let’s say that there’s a major event coming up in your life: you or someone close to you is getting married, hosting a large party, or some other social gathering that will bring a fair-sized group of people together in one place. Now let’s say that you’ve been asked to help keep things safe and secure—your reputation as a situationally aware self defense guru has spread far and wide! So, how do you go about it—what are the issues and what approaches work best.
While every event is different, there are a handful of things to keep in mind that will help you plan and put you on the path to success:
First and foremost if you have a specific and acute security concern—the bride or groom has a violent, jealous ex who just got out of prison, for instance—inform local law enforcement immediately. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00 You’re not equipped to handle that on your own either logistically or legally, so don’t try. Let the pros deal with it and save your energy for the unexpected.
Secondly, check out the venue. Know where the exits are, where the fire alarms and fire extinguishers are located, and how to get to the parking lot or departure point from there. This may involve a little boots-on-the-ground action, but it’s likely not going to be a lot of work.
Thirdly, prepare and pre-position your emergency kit. This should include all the basics: backup flashlight, first aid gear, duct tape. (I’m serious about that—never, ever plan a wedding without a supply of duct tape. Something will break and need fixing; just ask my sister-in-law). You likely won’t need it, but there’s peace of mind in knowing it’s there.
Fourth, make a plan. Different events have different needs: you might need to control access with a guest list for a wedding, for instance, or ensure safe transport for a VIP at a fundraiser. Figure out what you need and develop a plan, including a timetable of who needs to be where, when.
Then, it’s time to get some help. Bribe a few friends with pizza and beer later to help with the drive, crowd control, escorting people around—whatever is needed. Make sure they’re like minded souls. This is about common sense safety planning, not a Rambo-style rampage.
Finally, make sure you have the ability to communicate with all involved. Most of the time your cell phone will be more than adequate for the situation at hand—but keep it charged and have either a backup battery or a charger with you.
The key in all of this is flexibility. I keep coming back to the wedding example, and that’s part of the reason why—very few occasions ensure that something will go wrong like a wedding. Stay loose, adapt to the circumstances, and help out where and how you can. And hey, enjoy yourselves a bit—it’s an occasion to remember, remember?