From the European Championships to the Oktoberfest: how to ensure safety at major events
6/18/2024 Industry news Perimeter Protection

From the European Championships to the Oktoberfest: how to ensure safety at major events

The summer months mark the start of the season for football tournaments, festivals and public festivals. These mega-events on greenfield sites, in stadiums or city centre squares attract tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of visitors. Each event location places very special demands on perimeter protection.

People in a Football Stadium Security planning for major events requires early risk analyses and consideration of visitor flows, traffic, weather and surroundings

Perimeter protection at major events

For many people, events such as the European Football Championships, the Oktoberfest or Rock am Ring are their personal highlight in the summer calendar. It's hard to let thoughts of mass panic, crime or even terrorist attacks spoil the experience. However, these aspects should not be ignored when planning these events. To ensure that visitors can enjoy a great experience, extensive security planning is essential in advance. 

"In terms of resilience, a large number of dangers and threat scenarios must be taken into account in the run-up to the event. The simple principle applies: prevention is better than cure," summarises Tobias Stamper, Area Director West at security service provider Securitas Germany. During planning, the focus is particularly on evacuation measures, the design of escape routes and assembly points, access for emergency vehicles and the fire brigade.

A comprehensive security concept also covers efficient traffic routing to and around the event venue as well as compliance with local security requirements. According to Stamper, the law stipulates that the relevant local supervisory authority must be involved in security planning for major events. Early coordination is crucial here. The police and fire brigade should or often must also be consulted. Issues relating to public safety, traffic management, fire protection and emergency preparedness are defined and coordinated with the relevant authorities.

It's not just the venues themselves that are on the agenda: hotels and accommodation for players, artists and athletes, as well as railway stations and car parks, all have to be included in the holistic security planning. According to Stamper, the example of car parks alone shows how complex the requirements can be: "When securing parking spaces, security aspects as well as organisational and economic interests must be taken into account. After all, car parks are a rare commodity at many major events. They are an additional source of income and are sold as part of VIP packages, for example." Furthermore, car park security is not just about protecting the parked vehicles: access and escape routes must be kept clear and surrounding private car parks and restricted areas must be protected from wild parkers.


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Combination of qualified personnel and technical solutions

All these aspects are summarised in the risk analysis, which forms the planning basis for the use of modern security technology and efficient communication systems for security forces. These technologies take centre stage at the Perimeter Protection trade fair in Nuremberg. They help to recognise potential threats at an early stage and respond to them quickly. "Depending on the event, a sufficient number of qualified personnel may be required. The personnel deployed for a particular large-scale event are often given event-specific training in advance. At the same time, technical security solutions are playing an increasingly important role. These include video surveillance, sensors for measuring visitor flows, fire protection technology, electronic access systems and systems for perimeter protection," says Stamper. In turn, digital and analogue parking guidance systems and video-based parking surveillance can be used in the car park.

Barrier technology is also always taken into consideration when analysing risks and planning measures. For example, heavy barriers have been required by the authorities in many places for years as a defence against vehicles. "The risk of attack scenarios in which vehicles are used as weapons and deliberately driven into crowds of people is minimised through the use of barrier technology," says Stamper. The risk of accidents, for example at roadside entrances, can also be reduced in this way.

As the safety expert explains, when using barrier technology, it is important that walking routes are kept short and evacuation options are clearly labelled. A variety of different barrier forms can be used to direct visitor flows, secure restricted areas or separate specific visitor groups. Depending on the requirements on site, barriers, fences and mobile privacy screens, for example, are integrated into the security concept. "Anything that has a positive impact on the perception of safety and consequently the behaviour of participants contributes to increasing safety overall," says Stamper. "In concrete terms, this means that security managers need to develop an unambiguous crowd management plan, adequately train staff and organise processes as efficiently as possible. Appropriate solutions are required to harmonise efficiency, visitor friendliness and the highest possible level of security at admission controls. Wherever possible, waiting times must be reduced and bottlenecks avoided."

Depending on the individual requirements and the definition of different security zones, the following technology, among others, should not be missing from the checklist for perimeter protection:

  • Check-in kiosks can read ID documents and create images of the persons to be registered in order to compare them with stored guest list data and issue visitor passes fully automatically on this basis.
  • RFID tags (Radio-Frequency Identification), which are worn on the body in wristbands, for example, are used to identify people and monitor access.
  • Biometric authentication systems are used to identify people using fingerprints, facial features or their eyes (iris scan). Vein scanners with near-infrared sensors can also be used as a contactless alternative.
  • Fixed, mobile and, in some cases, drone-based video surveillance provides a permanent overview of the perimeter and neuralgic points.
  • LiDAR sensors (Light Detection and Ranging) produce a three-dimensional laser scan of the event space in order to detect visitor flows, suspicious behaviour and the concentration of people in the crowd.

The organisation of major events comes with a great responsibility for the safety of visitors. It requires comprehensive and holistic security planning, expertise and modern security technology. This is the only way to ensure that visitors, athletes, artists and employees have a safe and unforgettable experience.


Alexander Stark

Alexander Stark

Freelance journalist