I've worked in many sectors of the security industry over the years but i can honestly say that working events is by far the most enjoyable experience I have had. There is something about the buzz, the enjoyment, the scale of things and the teamwork that is hard to explain but makes for a really memorable experience. For many security operatives, events will be their introduction to the security industry and it truly is a great start point. You will learn a lot of the security basics as well as the value of hard work, the endurance of long hours and varying weather conditions. If you can thrive at events then the rest will be easier. This article is partly a reproduction of a Facebook post I wrote last year about being prepared for working events. In part being prepared is about gathering the right kit and equipment but its also about being prepared to have the right qualities and mindset before you decide to head down this avenue. Deciding 9 hours into a 14 hour day that it isn't for you is pointless. So read below my tips for those considering working events this year.
One of the most important parts of working events is going prepared for the conditions. Remember that this is Ireland and the conditions can vary greatly over a day, weekend or week. Long hours, lots of walking or standing still, weather, lack of breaks all make working event security difficult. Working events can also be a really enjoyable and rewarding experience. Spending time with thousands of people enjoying themselves and getting them home safely as well as working in a great team with great entertainment all combine to make events a brilliant experience.
Over the years I've found the key to enjoying working security at events is to be prepared. You will be working long hard days and nights so making yourself as comfortable as possible helps make the experience as enjoyable as possible.Nobody likes the guy who shows up at the event with no gear of their own and proceeds to beg and borrow items from other people to get them through. The gear I mention below is in addition of course to your basic security equipment which should be carried all of the time anyway. Here is a link to a post about my own personal kit https://securityoperative.ie/security-operatives-basic-equipment/ .
N.B. When working events I also carry a Leatherman multi-tool which is probably the most often used piece of kit I have but check with your employer before you carry one as many don't allow them.
Backpack: Get yourself a small lightweight and waterproof backpack that you can bring with you. In most positions at an event you will be able to keep this next or close to you and it can contain all of your essential gear for the day/night or weekend.
Footwear: Your feet can be your best friend or your worst enemy at an event. Which of these they become depends on how you look after them. Expect long shifts, wet muddy ground, rough terrain, lots of walking, maybe some running and loads of standing still. A good quality comfortable pair of boots are essential ( as long as your company uniform allows boots). Don't buy a new pair the week of the event or you will suffer ( I've been that guy). Try to avoid solid steel cap boots unless the environment makes it necessary. These will freeze your feet and add unnecessary weight to your day. Look for lightweight, waterproof boots and consider a cheap set of gel insoles to add to your comfort. Your feet and legs will thank you for it. Don't forget socks. A couple of pairs of spare socks stuffed in your bag in case your feet get wet can be a lifesaver.
Weather related gear : This is Ireland. It's probably going to rain for 300 days a year at some point in the day. Accept it, deal with it and get over it. Working in the wet can make you miserable if you aren't prepared. There's no worse feeling than being soaked to the skin in hour 1 of a 12 hour static position. Invest in some decent quality wet gear (jackets and trousers) and keep it in your bag. Some companies provide wet weather gear but it's usually bulk bought and about as waterproof as a tea bag. Invest in quality to get some comfort. Also consider throwing a cheap waterproof poncho in your bag in case your buddy is the guy who shows up with no wet gear. (I've been that guy too). On the flip side of this point we can also get some amazing summer days and sunburn on Day 1 can turn into agony by Day 2. Pack some factor 50. Remember when your badly burned and glowing that people are laughing at you not with you (also been this guy).
Water: Bring plenty of it and drink it. Staying hydrated does wonders for your morale and your physical condition. You would be surprised how dehydrated you can get standing still never mind in an active search area or inside a concert arena. Drink little and often. If you down 2 liters in one go you're gonna be the guy who's constantly gone from your position to queue for the bathroom. Bring at least 2 liters per day with you. If not you will end up paying event prices on site for smaller bottles. Don't waste your time with energy drinks. You may get a short term energy high but it's soon replaced with huge dip in energy in mood meaning you have to drink more. It's not worth the 3 day headache and dehydration after the event.
Food: Breaks are few and far between at events. Great when you can get them but don't expect them regularly or for long. Events are busy and so will you be. Grabbing 10 or 15 mins to get some food into you may be all you get for a while and walking all the way back to the food area may not be an option. Pack some good quality high energy food to keep you going. Try things like fruit, nuts, seeds and flapjack bars. Try to avoid sweets and junk food. You will be hungry again soon afterwards and you get no benefits from it.I personally love the stuff that these guys produce and the containers are ideal for events.https://wyldsson.com/
Hygiene: The difference a quick hand and face wash with some Wet wipes can do for morale and hygiene is huge. An instant wake up and a clean feeling is great during or after a long day. You will be interacting with thousands of people and surfaces and wet wipes can help prevent illness and general uncleanliness throughout the day.
First aid: Pick up a regular small first aid kit and make some alterations to it. You will always need the basics like plasters and wipes for cuts and bumps but add in some things like a pack of paracetamol, stomach upset tablets, antihistamines or anything else you think you might need over the vent. Its better to have and not need it than to be searching for a medic at the end of an event.
Rest: If your working a multiple day event. Don't be the guy who parties til 0400 after you finish work. You will irritate your mates and burn yourself out after day 2. Get some rest between shifts. You deserve it !!!
The last and probably most important think to have is a sense of humor. It's hard work, long hours and wet weather but you get to spend it making money and working with a great bunch of people in the event security industry. Relax, laugh and enjoy the experience. Believe me in years to come they will be great memories.