Collector Car Event Planning and Risk Management, Part I (Fall 2003)

PART I: What Every Chairperson Should Know

By Ted Ritter

We scarcely ever give a thought to what can go wrong at a Car Show or a Cruise or a Car Club picnic.

The liability of a Car Club and its individual members depends upon numerous factors, the keystones of which are negligence and foreseeability.

Legally, negligence is defined as the failure to use that degree of care which an ordinary person of reasonable prudence would use under the given circumstances. Negligence may be either an act of commission (doing something) or and act of omission (failing to do something) or both. Put simply, negligent conduct often presents an unreasonable likelihood of harm to others.

Foreseeability is the knowledge that an injury or loss might occur. A foreseeable incident is one which is not remote nor abnormal. Rather it is one which is objectively reasonable to expect.

Every organization that plans a special event faces the possibilities of damage to property and personal injury. Accidents can happen; people can be careless.

On the other hand, collector car events need not be particularly risky. The keys to hosting a safe event are planning and preparation.

My preliminary research for this article prompted me to call Bob Rose, who is a special events promoter as well as Director of Recreation and Public Relations for the City of Bridgeton. Bob, in turn, put me in touch with the International Festivals and Events Association which can be contacted at nia@ifea.com.

The list of publications offered by the Association is impressive. From that list, I purchased The Special Event Risk Management Manual by Alexander Berlonghi, M.A.

The theme of Mr. Berlonghi's manual is "make every event as safe and secure as possible". The twelve chapters of this 330-page book contain hundreds of useful suggestions in readable, plain language.

Common sense and experience go a long way but, alone, they are not enough. Mr. Berlonghi's manual fills in the gaps.

Some of the areas discussed in this very practical publication include:

Establishment of a command post at each event
Chain of command
Emergency preplanning and management
Crowd managementas distinguished from crowd control
Providing for medical emergencies
Concessions and food services
Establishing a lost and found plan
Security
Involving law enforcement in the planning of your event
Parking
Traffic control, and even
How to handle vulnerable operations including cash collection.

The section on event insurance, with descriptions of the various types of policies available to collector car organizations, is especially welcome. The Author includes his tips for working effectively with insurance agents.

The reader is shown how to perform a risk analysis and there's even a list of common risk factors.

Throughout the book, the constant focus is on loss prevention.

Copies of the manual are available through the Association's website or directly from Bookmasters, Inc., P.O. Box 2039 Mansfield, OH 44905, telephone # 800-247-6553.

The bottom line is this: owning the Special Event Risk Management Manualis a must for every collector car event chairperson.

To Be Continued…

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