26. Appendix A: Site Emergency Plan

1. Introduction

1.1 The promoter should prepare a Site Emergency Plan to deal with a serious emergency on the site with the advice of the Local Authority, the Gardaí and the Health Board.

1.2 The Site Emergency Plan should be prepared within the overall context of the Major Emergency Plans of the Local Authority, the Gardaí, and Health Board and fit into the details of these plans.

1.3 It is suggested that the core of the Site Emergency Plan should follow closely the guidance set out hereunder which is based on the Report of the Committee on Public Safety and Crowd Control. 1

1.4 When drafting a Site Emergency Plan account should be taken of the terms of the Fire Safety in Places of Assembly (Ease of Escape) Regulations, 1985, 2 the Code of Practice for the Management of Fire Safety in Places of Assembly 3 and all relevant legislation for the time being in force.

1.5 Account should also be taken of the recommendations and guidance set out in this Code and the Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds. 4

1.6 Where the concert is being held in a sports stadium the plan should make due allowance for the fact that the pitch is occupied by patrons, stage, lighting, sound equipment, etc.

1.7 In the preparation of the Plan it may be necessary to prepare variations of the Plan. e.g., Plan A, Plan B etc., to cater for evacuation from various sections of the site, depending in which section of the site the emergency occurs, and the escape routes available. Each plan would require appropriate crowd and traffic management plans to be activated in the event of a serious emergency.

1.8 Systems should be in place to test, review, revise and update the Plan in the light of experience. This should be carried out in consultation with representatives of the Local Authority, the Gardaí, and the Health Board.

1.9 A Site Emergency Plan should be prepared whether or not a Ground Emergency Plan is in existence. (See Appendix F of the Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds).4 This Site Emergency Plan is separate from the Ground Emergency Plan.

2. Definition of Serious Emergency

A serious emergency is defined as any event causing or threatening to cause death or injury to patrons at a concert site resulting from serious crowd disorder, major fire, collapse of a section of a stand or terrace, toxic chemical spillage on roads or railway lines adjacent to the venue, explosion, bomb threat or other unforeseen event necessitating partial or total evacuation of the venue.

3. Definitions of Key Personnel

3.1 Event Controller
This is the person who has overall responsibility for management of an event. S/he is assisted within the site by the Gardaí, Stewards and all other personnel, whether paid or voluntary, but retains control unless a serious emergency occurs, at which stage s/he hands over to the Emergency Controller.

3.2 Emergency Controller
The Emergency Controller is the Senior Garda Officer present who will take over control of the entire operation until or unless other emergency services, i.e. Health Boards and Fire Authorities are present, in which case each service will exercise control over its own operations.

4. Activation of Plan

The Emergency Controller (Senior Garda Officer) present will activate this Plan after consultation with the Event Controller. Should the Event Controller and the Garda Officer disagree when the Garda Officer considers the risk to life or breach of the peace to be so great, that it is imperative to implement the Site Emergency Plan, the Garda Officer can over-rule the Event Controller. It must be emphasised that public safety is of paramount importance in arriving at such decisions. The Garda Officer will notify the Communications Room and Garcia Divisional Headquarters immediately of the activation of the Plan. All messages shall begin with the following statement:

‘‘This is (Name & Rank of Garda Officer), A Serious Emergency has occurred/is imminent at (Name of Venue). The Site Emergency Plan is now in operation’’.

5. Function of Local Authority, Gardaí and Health Board

The functions of the Local Authority, the Gardaí, and the Health Board are as set out in the Major Emergency Plans of those authorities.

6. The Promoter

The functions of the Promoter are to:-

(i) place all facilities on the site at the disposal of the Emergency Controller;

(ii) provide areas suitable for collection of casualties, first-aid treatment, etc.;

(iii) provide an information centre on the site for the use of the Gardaí and other agencies;

(iv) provide drawings of the site for the Emergency Controller;

(v) place all available personnel at the disposal of the Emergency Controller;

(vi) provide adequate medical staff on site;

(vii) provide suitable first-aid facilities;

(viii) provide suitable areas for casualties;

(ix) provide mortuary facilities;

(x) provide sufficient stretchers; and

(xi) provide an adequate communications system.

7. Telephone Numbers

The emergency plan should contain an Index setting out the telephone numbers of the contact officers in the various services. This Index can be based on the telephone numbers included in the Major Emergency Plans of the Local Authority, the Gardaí, and the Health Board.

8. Evacuation Arrangements

8.1 As indicated at Paragraph 1.7 of this Appendix it may be necessary, because of the nature of the site, to have two or more Plans to deal with an emergency. These Plans should be outlined on a drawing and should indicate in what direction patrons would be evacuated depending on the location of the disaster. The plans should indicate the exits through which the public would be channeled and Garda arrangements on the surrounding roads or streets.

These arrangements should indicate where Garda barriers would be erected and the direction in which the public would be dispersed. It should also set out the area and the roads to be kept clear of traffic to allow access and egress for Emergency Services. Inside the ground emergency routes must be kept clear at all times. Evacuation should proceed without creating or adding to a panic situation.

8.2 Mortuary Facilities

The Plan should indicate where mortuary facilities will be available. Such facilities should be in more than one location to ensure their availability irrespective of the point of origin of the emergency.

8.3 The Disaster Area

Gardaí and Stewards should seal off the area of the disaster to enable rescue workers, ambulance crews and fire tender crews do their work. Members of the public and the media should be kept outside the disaster zone.

8.4 Fatalities

Identification of dead bodies should be made and the location in which the bodies are found should be noted. Ground Management and/or the Promoter should provide plastic type body bags to hold human remains, as well as duplicate labels, gloves, markers, etc.

8.5 Public Address System

Full use should be made of the Public Address System to inform and direct the crowd. Messages broadcast should be decided by the Event Controller on the advice of the Garda Officer in charge. Messages should be kept short.

8.6 Potential Disaster

If a serious situation is seen to be developing, the Event Controller must have the facility to stop or delay the start of the concert. In certain circumstances the responsibility for stopping the concert may fall upon the Garda officer in charge.

In the event of a situation arising where it is necessary to open a gate to allow access to patrons to prevent death or serious injury, it must first be established that there is room in the relevant section of the site to take the extra crowd and that, once inside, they are moved to an area where there is room to accommodate them without danger to themselves and to those already in that section of the site. This matter should be highlighted at the briefing session before the event.

8.7 Doctors

A Doctor experienced in casualty work should be designated the Site Medical Officer for the duration of a major event. S/he should be responsible for checking before and during the event that the necessary equipment and drugs are available. S/he should wear distinctive clothing and be located in a designated seat/location which should be known to the Event Controller, Local Authority, Gardaí, Health Board, and stewards.

8.8 Central Control Room

In the event of the Central Control Room being put out of commission an alternative Control Room with appropriate facilities should be designated in the Plan. In drawing up a plan additional telephone lines may have to be sought from Telecom Eireann by the Promoter if facilities presently available are out of order or inadequate.

8.9 Responsibility

Emergency matters outside the site are the responsibility of the statutory authorities. Within the site the Event Controller has the responsibility to ensure that stewards:-

(i) are aware of the Site Emergency Plan;

(ii) act under the Chief Steward as a team to evacuate the crowd away from the area of disaster;

(iii) are aware of the exact location of all exits and fire hydrants; and

(iv) staff all exit gates.

8.10 Stewards

The site should be divided into zones. Ground Management and/or the Promoter should operate the rank structure among stewards. Stewards should wear distinctive clothing. A Supervisory Steward should be responsible for each zone and should be in a position to put the relevant Emergency Plan into operation at short notice. S/he should have responsibility to instruct stewards under her/his control and insist on instructions being carried out in the event of an emergency.

8.11 Flexibility of Plan

As the nature of a disaster, or the pan of the site it might strike can vary, the areas to be evacuated, location of mortuaries, etc., will require flexibility in the Plan.

8.12 Availability of Plan

The Plan statement with maps, should be made available by the Promoter to all officials, Stewards and Gardaí engaged on duty on the site. The Local Authority and the Health Board should also be provided with copies of the Plan.

8.13 Review of Plan

The Site Emergency Plan should be reviewed before each event.


1. Committee on Public Safety and Crowd Control: Report February 1990, Stationery Office, Dublin.
2. Fire Safety in Places of Assembly (Ease of Escape) Regulations, 1985, Stationery Office, Dublin.
3. Code of Practice for the Management of Fire Safety in Places of Assembly, Stationery Office, Dublin, 1992.
4. Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds, Stationery Office, Dublin, 1996.