Event Management and Safety Policy

Policy Statement:                                                                             Date: December 21, 2010

To comply with the Life Safety Code NFPA 101 and to ensure the safety of the Bates Community during large events, the College has established an event safety policy.   This applies to events in the following assembly spaces:

  • Alumni Gym
  • Chapel
  • Chase High Ceiling
  • Gray Gym
  • Merrill Field House
  • Mays Center
  • Olin Arts Concert Hall
  • Perry Atrium
  • Schaeffer Theatre
  • Underhill Arena

These spaces can accommodate events of 250 or more occupants for which the Code specifies certain planning and event management measures.   If it is expected that attendance will be 85% or greater than the Maximum Allowed Occupancy posted in the space, then the event is considered “near capacity” and the following measures must be followed before and during the event:

  1. An event layout must be prepared.  This layout must be to scale and include all furnishings and equipment to be used for the event.   This allows a determination of the “net area available” for the event.   This net area is used to determine the maximum occupancy for the event.  This number could be quite a bit lower than the posted Maximum Occupancy and is determined on an event by event basis.   Facility Services can assist with producing the layout.  This layout must be submitted to the Facility Services Department and will be sent to the Lewiston Fire Department (LFD) for their review and approval.  (Several events have standard layouts that have been pre-approved by the LFD and are on file at Facility Services.)
  2. Pre-event exit and egress path inspection.  The day before and one hour prior to the start of the event, all exit doors, door hardware and exit signage must be inspected to ensure that this equipment is in proper operating order.   All egress paths must be inspected to ensure there are no obstructions that could limit the capacity of the path.
  3. Crowd Managers.  One trained crowd manager per 250 participants is required.
  4. Pre-event announcement.  Just before the start of the event, an announcement must be made identifying the location of all exits.
  5. Fire Alarms silenced for capacity events (EXCEPT in Olin Arts Concert Hall and Schaeffer Theater which have fixed seating) and for events where the noise level is above 120 dB.  There must be an attendant for the Fire Alarm Annunciator during the entire event with access to the public address system in order to announce to the participants the need for evacuation should an emergency arise.  (Crowd response to an announcement is much more conducive to a safe evacuation than the sounding of loud alarms which can cause panic.  In the case of loud concerts where the horns cannot be heard, the sound system must be silenced so that the announcement to evacuate can be heard.)
  6. Ticketing.   Ticketing or attendants with clickers must be used for large events in order to ensure the maximum allowed occupancy for the particular event are not exceeded and to ensure, in the case of the Gray Gym and Alumni Gym, and Merrill Field house that multiple entrances are used.  (Multiple entrances for these facilities are important because the “main” entrance capacity is not adequate to meet the Life Safety Code requirement for sufficient capacity to allow one half of the event participants to exit safely by the “main” entrance.  In an emergency, the typical response is to head for the entrance through which participants enter. By providing additional “main” entrances, the maximum allowed occupancies for these spaces can be increased to allow for the larger events needed by the Campus.)
  7. Seating.  When rows of seating are to be provided, seating must be secure to the floor or to each other.  A minimum of 3 seats must be secured together.  (If no seating is provided, referred to as “festival seating”, provision of these event management and safety measures is much more important.   Most crowd disaster events have occurred in venues using festival seating.  It can be extremely difficult to control crowd behavior or to access a participant in need of emergency care with this type of event set-up.)

Additional Considerations:

  • Any decorations must be of non-combustible materials.
  • The College has a “No Open Flame” Policy.  Contact the Environmental Health and Safety  Department for details.
  • Event Management and Safety Plan Checklist.  See attached.

Any questions concerning this policy should be directed to the Environmental Health and Safety Department at extension 6413. A completed copy of the Event Management Checklist shall be available during the event for review by EH&S or the Bates Security/Campus Safety Department.