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Event Starter Guide 2017

Health

Consider first aid, water, food and toilets when planning your event.

First aid and medical services

All events, no matter how small, have the possibility of a medical incident. It is essential that you provide adequate facilities and qualified personnel to administer first aid and, if warranted, medical services such as doctors, nurses and paramedics, based on the nature of the event. An appropriately resourced first aid/medical provider should be able to manage most incidents involving event attendees on site.

To establish the level of first aid/medical provision you need, seek advice from a qualified first aid/medical provider. It is also a good idea to ascertain whether any of your event staff or volunteers have basic first aid training.

Key questions you should ask include:

  • What would be the first aid/medical provider’s hours of operation on site?
  • How many staff would they need? This will vary with the event. Providers should be familiar with different event types and not assume that all similar events are the same.
  • What would be the skill mix of first aid/medical staff and the numbers of each? All staff must be appropriately trained and qualified. Note that the title “paramedic” is protected in NSW and only an appropriately qualified person may use that title.
  • Where would staff be positioned?
  • Would they be roving or only located at static posts? If the latter, these should be well-lit and signposted.
  • Would they be able to bring patients back to the static post? How would they do this?
  • What would be the medical capabilities provided at the event (such as oxygen, defibrillator, IV fluids, suturing, medications, restricted medication analgesia)? A doctor with no equipment is a highly qualified first aider. A first aider with a lot of equipment is still a first aider.
  • What would be the treatment capacity of the medical centre(s) on site during normal operations and would they have a surge capacity (what would they do if they became busy)?
  • Would they provide you a copy of their Medical Plan?

As the event organiser, it is up to you to understand and be satisfied with the level of care the first aid/medical provider will supply.

First aid/medical providers should be given a copy of your emergency response plan (including the emergency medical plan and emergency communications plan).

If an event is being held on water you will need to have a qualified aquatic first aid provider present.

You will be able to find a list of first aid suppliers to events to choose from by conducting a web search.

NSW Ambulance

NSW Ambulance does not provide event first aid services. Their role at an event is to support an on-site first aid/medical provider, providing treatment and emergency transport of patients to hospital if necessary.

When NSW Ambulance is present at an event, their paramedics will work collaboratively with on-site providers, however, they do not report to or take direction or instruction from the first aid/medical provider on site. Command and control of all NSW Ambulance resources remains with NSW Ambulance. In the event of a major health incident, the senior NSW Ambulance paramedic on site will assume control of the response unless NSW Health advises otherwise.

If you require additional information on first aid/medical coverage or the role of NSW Ambulance at events, contact the NSW Ambulance State Planning Unit: Ambulance-EventPlanning@health.nsw.gov.au.

Water

It is vital that you make drinking water available to everyone at your event, including attendees, participants, staff, volunteers, contractors and performers, especially if:

  • you are expecting large crowds
  • the weather is likely to be hot
  • participants are required to walk long distances
  • there is the chance participants will overheat, such as in a mosh pit or if space is limited.

It is a legal requirement that you have free drinking water readily available when selling alcohol.

See Sustainability for information on how to make your event water wise.

Food

All businesses, including not-for-profit and charity fundraisers, are required to sell safe and suitable food in compliance with the Food Standards Code (the Code). This includes businesses that sell food to the public at temporary events such as fairs, festival, markets and shows.

Notification

You will need to notify your local council if your event features food stalls, mobile food vending vehicles or any retail food outlet. All food vendors should be separately registered with council and be able to provide you with their details.

Charitable and community organisations may not be required to notify the local council, provided the food:

  • does not need to be kept hot or refrigerated to keep it safe
  • would need to be kept under temperature control, but will be eaten immediately after thorough cooking, such as at a sausage sizzle.

Large events which include the sale of food should notify the Health Emergency Management Unit or State Planning Unit, as awareness of potential health risks will assist in their service planning.

Food safety

You should ensure that relevant food businesses at your event have appointed a certified Food Safety Supervisor (FSS), that safe food handling is practiced by all operators and food handlers have appropriate food safety skills and knowledge.

Refer to the NSW Food Authority’s Guidelines for food businesses at temporary events and Guidelines for Mobile Food Vending Vehicles. These guides include a self-checklist for businesses, based on the requirements in the Food Standards Code.

Inspections at temporary events

Environmental health officers are employed by local council and are authorised officers under the Food Act 2003. They:

  • inspect retail food businesses trading at temporary events
  • check that good food safety practices are in place

Councils do not generally inspect all temporary food events. Small events where low risk foods are sold may not require inspection.

Large events are likely to be inspected, particularly where high risk food is sold or compliance history is poor.

Councils adopt a risk-based approach when inspecting food businesses at temporary events to determine which businesses to inspect. Factors considered include:

  • number of food businesses trading at the event
  • type of food being sold at the event (potentially hazardous food vs non-potentially hazardous food)
  • estimated number of visitors to the event
  • duration of the event
  • any complaints made against food businesses trading at the event
  • compliance history of the event
  • access to facilities and services.

Reports

If the inspection report is satisfactory (meaning only minor issues were identified), the council’s environmental health officer should not conduct a further inspection, unless there is a perceived risk to food safety and public health.

The council’s environmental health officer has the discretion to carry out an inspection and charge an inspection fee if:

  • a recent inspection report is not provided by the operator
  • the inspection report supplied by the operator is more than 12 months old
  • the business owner or operator has a major non-compliance issue outstanding.

Mobile food vending vehicle operators are responsible for organising to have an inspection when they begin to trade, and providing a current inspection report to environmental health officers in other council areas on request.

Premises construction

Temporary food stalls must be:

  • located in a dust free area
  • away from toilets and garbage bins
  • supplied with sufficient potable water
  • suitably constructed, including floor, walls and ceiling
  • fitted with food handling facilities for storage, cooking, hot/cold holding, preparation, serving and handwashing.

Mobile food vendors need to ensure the construction and operation of the vehicle is appropriate for the preparation and sale of food. This includes:

  • surfaces that are easy to clean
  • handwashing facilities
  • satisfactory waste disposal.

Ensure food counters are accessible to attendees using wheelchairs.

Toilet facilities

It is essential that there are sufficient toilet facilities at your event for the number of expected attendees.

You can search for permanent toilets at your outdoor event site using the National Public Toilet Map, which can also be filtered to show accessible toilets.

Toilet facilities for events where alcohol is not available

There is no uniform Australian standard for the number of toilets required at an event. However, as a guide, Safe and Healthy Mass Gatherings by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience suggests the following number of facilities for outdoor events where alcohol is not available.

 

Males

Females

Patrons

WC

Urinals

Hand basins

WC

Hand basins

<500

1

2

2

6

2

<1000

2

4

4

9

4

<2000

4

8

6

12

6

<3000

6

15

10

18

10

<5000

8

25

17

30

17

*This table is reproduced with the kind permission of Australian Emergency Management, Attorney General’s Department.

Toilet facilities for events where alcohol is available

Where alcohol will be available, the number of facilities needs to be substantially higher.

 

Males

Females

Patrons

WC

Urinals

Hand basins

WC

Hand basins

<500

3

8

2

13

2

<1000

5

10

4

16

4

<2000

9

15

7

18

7

<3000

10

20

14

22

14

<5000

12

30

20

40

20

Other factors

When determining the toilet facilities required, you should also consider:

  • event duration
  • crowd demographic
  • peak periods
  • providing at least one accessible toilet for people with a disability. This should be located close to any accessible viewing area, for ease of access.

Portable toilets

If there are not enough permanent toilet facilities at the site you may need to provide portable toilets. 

You should talk to a reputable supplier about the number and placement of toilets, and arrangements for cleaning and emptying during the event. The supplier may want to visit the venue and site.

You will need to seek approval from the landowner in order to install portable toilet facilities on their land.

Additional considerations

In addition to toilet facilities, you should also consider providing:

  • sanitary bins
  • baby change rooms
  • separate facilities for catering staff
  • if appropriate, provision of condoms at some events
  • sharps disposal facilities to minimise the safety hazard posed by abandoned needles and syringes.

Note that drug use, while never to be condoned, is a risk that must be taken into account for certain types of events.

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