New Brunswick communities bustle with events and tourism over the summer and fall months. Here are some tips to help you ensure your events are safe and well-managed

Plan Ahead 

It was Benjamin Franklin who said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Your plans should consider event security, how to handle emergencies (including medical incidents), evacuation protocols, and procedures outlining how to contact the appropriate authorities.

Staff and Volunteer Training

  • Ensure that all staff are properly trained to understand their assigned duties and responsibilities prior to the event.
  • Implement written policies and procedures, as these will provide your event with structure. 
  • Hold daily staff/volunteer meetings before the event begins, to ensure everyone is on the same page and to provide opportunities for continuous improvement. 
  • Ensure your staff and vendors work alongside law enforcement regarding security and safety procedures, and training from law enforcement to understand when to contact security. 
  • If staff or volunteers will be handling money or working with minors, seniors, or those with disabilities, ensure that they are screened with the appropriate criminal records checks and vulnerable sector checks.
  • If staff or volunteers will be operating vehicles or equipment, they should provide a driver’s abstract, carry the appropriate license class and can safely operate the vehicle or equipment.
  • Lastly, it is recommended that all volunteers enter into a volunteer agreement, much like an employment contract. This type of agreement should be drafted by a lawyer and contain information such as the volunteer’s responsibilities and limitations as well as specific information regarding workers compensation, other benefits, honorariums, and any other essential information considering the tasks they are to perform.

Canoe Insurance has developed a volunteer package to assist our members with vetting and managing volunteers.  Please reach out to your Risk Advisor for more information. 

Pre-Site Inspection and Safety Planning

Having the proper checklist in place for pre- and during event site inspections will ensure your staff can identify and rectify any potential hazards.

  • Inspect all areas that are open to the public/attendees and the spaces reserved for your staff and vendors. 
  • Inspect pathways, seating areas, grandstands, parking spaces, sidewalks, and stairways to ensure that they are free from obstructions and impediments. Focus on tripping hazards, as well as any potential electrical and fire hazards. 
  • Properly document all potential hazards found and act promptly to eliminate/reduce them. Post warning signs in clear view or close off these areas until these hazards are remedied.
  • In case of an incident, respond appropriately to assist the affected staff or attendees. Report all incidents to the appropriate staff. Maintain proper reporting of the incident and take photographs as needed to document the event.
  • Please contact a Canoe Insurance Risk Advisor for checklists and incident report forms:

Crowd Management

Crowd management is important, especially for events that have a capacity limit and large public gatherings for live events (music, parades, rodeo, etc.). Good crowd management includes:

  • Posting clear signage, barricades for traffic flow and sharing rules so all participants can easily understand.
  • Ensuring clear communication and cooperation with your local law enforcement to monitor and intervene when needed.
  • Having a plan in place with steps to undertake to de-escalate or disperse any unruly crowd will help your staff for such incidents.

Parking Management & Signage

  • Ensure that that your event has adequate parking space available for all attendees, including those requiring handicap-designated stalls.
  • Have proper, readable signage to direct both foot and vehicle traffic and where to enter/exit.
  • Designate parking lanes for emergency vehicles in the event they are called upon, as well as an emergency exit plan for vehicles.
  • Place signage to direct the attendees to garbage bins, recycling bins, washroom facilities, and main information tent/centre.

Food / Liquor Vendors Licensed, Insurance

  • Ensure that any food vendors are properly licensed with the province regarding food handling safe practices and/or NB Liquor for their liquor serving operations.
  • Also, obtain a copy of their COI (Certificate of Insurance) with an endorsement naming your organization and the municipality in which the event is taking place listed as additional insureds.
  • Fire extinguishers should be available where vendors are using open flame/ propane apparatus within the operations. Always maintain a source of water nearby to assist in putting out fires. 
  • Please consult with your local Fire Chief regarding any active fire ban within your area of event.

Vendors can also purchase special event insurance through IRC (Instant Risk Coverage) Instant Risk Coverage. Please contact your Canoe Insurance Member Service Representative for more information about IRC Special Event insurance.


Carefully planning the parade route is essential.

  • Avoid overpasses, construction areas and set up blockades to ensure spectators and parade participants are kept safe. Ensure the route does not obstruct emergency service routes and always check that the parade is permissible on the appropriate authority’s roads. Do not allow other traffic to impede the parade route.
  • Find secure locations for judging platforms, first aid, emergency towing vehicles, ambulances, grandstands and viewing areas.
  • Consider establishing guidelines on what can be given to spectators regarding prizes or candy. Never throw items from floats, it is safest to have people walking to hand treats to onlookers. 
  • Adequate supervision must be made available if there are large groups of children (i.e., boy/girl scouts) participating in the parade.
  • Ensure all operators have experience and are qualified to operate vehicles and equipment in the parade. Operation of any equipment and automobiles under the influence of alcohol and other intoxicating substances is illegal and prohibited.
  • By law, all automobiles being operated on the road must carry liability insurance, obtain certificates of insurance from all vehicles participating in the parade. Ensure that the operators have the qualifications and experience to operate the equipment and vehicles.
  • Any animals participating should be calm, supervised, and well-trained. Avoid startling animals by keeping them separated from loud noises such as sirens, horns, bands, and loud exhaust. Have sanitation crews promptly clean up after the animals. 

Inflatables & Tent Structures

  • Follow all manufacture’s guidelines on the installation of inflatables, tents, and temporary structures.
  • Perform daily routine checks on the structures to confirm that they are properly secured and there is no risk of movement should severe weather occur.
  • Properly mark all ground pegs, spikes, and tie downs to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Always monitor the weather conditions during your event.
  • Ensure the vendor(s) have proper insurance for their structures.
  • NEVER leave an inflatable amusement device unattended!

Debris Disposal & Washroom Facilities 

  • Ensure that you have an adequate number of garbage/recycling bins in relation to the size of your event.
  • Ensure attendees have access to washroom facilities.
  • Designate a person/team to routinely clean up and stock up on supplies during the event. 
  • When placing bins and washroom facilities, place them for ease of access and away from tripping hazards.
  • Maintain a log of when washroom facilities are cleaned, supplies restocked, when and by whom.

Be Prepared for an Emergency Shutdown

  • Make advance preparations so you can be ready to act in the unlikely event that you are required to shut down promptly for safety or security reasons.
  • Be prepared for emergencies that require an orderly evacuation and/or closure of your event, such as sudden unexpected severe weather or a security matter.
  • Review your emergency planning process before the event to ensure all event staff are trained and aware of the protocols and whom to contact. 

For more information on any of the above topics, contact: