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Special Event Emergency Plans


Planning for a special event can be difficult. Planning for the potential risks and hazards associated with a special event is even more difficult, but it is essential to the event’s success.

At Virginia Tech, a special event is not necessarily defined by the number of people attending the event. Rather, the emphasis is on the event's impact on the university's ability to respond to a large-scale emergency that may occur during the event, or to the exceptional demands that the activity places on various support services.

Events that may require additional emergency planning include, but are not limited to an event: 

  • Occurring outside with 250 or more people;
  • With an estimated participation of 1,000 or more people; 
  • That includes a majority of participants or attendees outside of the Virginia Tech community;
  • Having the potential to disrupt normal operation of the university;
  • Anticipating minors to participate and reside on campus;
  • Categorized as a conference; and/or 
  • Scheduled to occur overnight in a non-residential building. 

What is a Special Event Emergency Plan?

A Special Event Emergency Plan (SEEP), is a formal, written plan developed by the event organizers that identifies potential emergency conditions at the event site and prescribes the procedures to be followed to minimize risk and prevent loss of life and property.

Every SEEP must be tailored to site-specific conditions and to the requirements of the agency/organization that owns or regulates the site of the event. Event planners should consider the scope of the event, the risks to spectators and participants, community impact, and the support (including personnel and logistics) required.

Why is it important to have a Special Event Emergency Plan?

A SEEP is needed to:

  • Define the coordination of necessary actions by the sponsor of the event and the responsible municipal, county, and State officials to provide for timely notification, warning, and evacuation in the event of an emergency, including catastrophic emergencies beyond the normally expected hazards, i.e., weather phenomenon, etc.
  • Reduce the risk of loss of life and property damage resulting from an emergency.

Unique situations do sometimes develop that may result in emergencies. Therefore, it is prudent for the sponsor to identify conditions that could lead to on-site or site-related disasters, in order to initiate emergency measures that could prevent or minimize the consequences to life and property.

Components of a Special Event Emergency Plan may include a(n):

- Event Description
- Estimated Attendance
- Event Leadership Contact
- Event Operations Location
- Schedule of Events
- Communications Plan
- Weather Monitoring
- Emergency Notification

- Responsibilities
- On-Site Emergency Personnel
- Access and Parking Considerations
- Pre-Event Briefing
- Event Map
- Organizational Chart
- Evacuations Assembly
- Areas/Shelter-in-Place Gathering

Ready to plan your organization's event and develop a SEEP?

Please complete this SEEP form and submit for approval by Virginia Tech Emergency Management. 

Virginia Tech Emergency Management is available to answer questions and provide guidance to university organizations preparing a Special Event Emergency Plan. For any questions, please contact our office at 540-231-4873 or

Request radio support

Virginia Tech Emergency Management has a small supply of two-way radios available for loan to groups within the Virginia Tech community. To request radios for your next special event or learn more about the program, visit the Radio Program page.