Shillong, Aug 31: An advisory has been issued by the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, who is also Chairperson of the District Disaster Management Authority, to try and ensure public safety at public sporting, musical and other events.
Although the event was not specifically mentioned, the advisory comes in the wake of the collapse of a temporary stand erected for football fans at a Shillong Premier League match in July.
The advisory applies to all “organisations, including government, non-government, academic, religious institutions, sports associations, trade organisations, political organisations, event managers and planners”.
“The organisers should avoid construction of makeshift galleries for accommodating the public/spectators as they may collapse and pose a danger to the public,” the DC said, adding, “All makeshift structures, if at all, need to be vetted by a technical authority and certified to be structurally stable.”
The Shillong Sports Association, organisers of the SPL, had put up temporary bleachers for the benefit of spectators who wanted to come to the ground to watch the top tier of Shillong football. Things were fine for the first 18 matches but the 19th, on 14th July, saw tremendous numbers of spectators as it was a public holiday and a meeting of two of the biggest clubs in the competition, Mawlai SC and Ryntih SC.
The DC also said that there should be “proper briefing made on the arrangements made for the games/events” by the organisers to the general public through a press release or other forms of media, including list of activities, opening and closing times, modes of transport, entry passes if applicable, etc.
Organisers should also provide detailed advisories “on what is recommended, allowed and not allowed to be carried inside the venue” well in advance. Giant screens at the event location are also encouraged in order to “regulate and control the inflow of crowds to a single venue”.
Help desks, first aid facilities and ambulances on site should be provided “without fail” and the DC also called for event route maps with entry/exit points displayed prominently; signs for drinking water, toilets, first aid centre, entry/exit points; important emergency contact numbers for police and the fire service displayed; awareness on registration requirements and modes of transport; CCTV to monitor movement of crowds and liaise closely with security personnel; public address systems; announcers well-versed with emergency protocols and capable of communicating in local languages; brightly lit stairways, barricades, entry/exit points; exit points that are free from obstruction; shops and vendors restricted to one side of a road, with adequate spacing between groups of shops in the event of an unexpected rush; sufficient and clearly identifiable volunteers and bouncers to handle crowd management; and the following of fire safety protocols.
“Organisers should seek written permission for large-scale events from the Deputy Commissioner clearly indicating measures to be put in place pertaining to the above points and approach the police and other departments for assistance if required to prevent any untoward incidents and for smooth conduct of the games/events,” the DC concluded.