Get Good Guidance on Special Events to Best Manage Risk Exposure

By Lynn Sperl

By Lynn Sperl


Just as budding daffodils are harbingers of spring in New Hampshire, so, too, is the start-up of special events like parades, road races, carnivals and horse shows in our municipalities. Your public facilities—like town parks and beaches—may even be requested by local residents to serve as sites for weddings, graduation parties and reunions.


While these types of feel-good events certainly add to the ambiance of our communities, “they also involve elements of risk that should be managed to keep participants as safe as possible” in order to “avoid incidents that could mean liability for the municipality,” advises Paul Sanderson, a staff attorney with the New Hampshire Local Government Center’s (LGC) Legal Services and Government Affairs Department.


Planning Guidebook

To help your group prepare for and carry out successful celebrations, LGC offers a Special Events Planning Guidebook. The 81-page resource, also available on CD, features comprehensive checklists to assist you in coordinating and/or administering the following:


·         Accident Reporting/Investigations

·         Alcohol Concessions

·         Amusement Rides/Carnivals

·         Animals

·         Communications

·         Contracts

·         Crowd Control

·         Disabled Persons Access

·         Emergency Planning

·         Fireworks

·         Food/Beverage Concessions

·         Horse Shows

·         Insurance

·         Medical/First Aid

·         Parades

·         Permits/Licenses

·         Running/Walking/Bicycling Events

·         Sanitation

·         Security

·         Site Safety (indoor/outdoor)

·         Vehicle Safety

·         Volunteer/Event Participants


Information on contracting out events, waivers and pre-event releases is also included as well as sample agreements, applications and entry forms.


To place an online order of either the Special Events Planning Guidebook or its CD version, please visit LGC's website and click on Educational Publications. You can also place an order by calling LGC Communications Associate Julie Dietz at 800.852.3358, ext. 100.


LGC Academy

Starting September 1, 2010, the LGC Academy will offer a new online course titled Special Events Risk Management. The course is highly recommended for parks and recreation directors, recreation commission members, athletic directors, town managers, school and town administrators, boards of selectmen, police and fire chiefs and public works personnel.


Participants will be able to cover the following topics in a two- to three-hour time span and start-and-stop at their personal convenience using LGC Academy’s online technology:


·         Creating an Effective Special Events Policy

·         Municipal Special Events

·         Non-Municipal Special Events

·         Insurance Coverage and TULIP Program


For more information about the LGC Academy, please visit its website.    


TULIP Program

The LGC’s Property-Liability Trust (PLT) partners with Entertainment Brokers International (EBI) to provide low-cost, general liability insurance through EBI’s Tenant Users Liability Insurance Policy (TULIP) program for those “tenant users” who desire to use member—municipality or school—property for special events like weddings, memorial services and fundraisers.


Through a TULIP program, PLT member groups can assist those who want to use member property in obtaining liability coverage on their own without the member taking on additional duties or expenses. It provides general liability insurance for the tenant users of your group’s venue or facility.


The TULIP program is voluntary and protects both the tenant user and member (facility owner) against claims by third parties who may be injured or incur property damage resulting from the activities of the tenant user. To learn how to obtain coverage through EBI’s TULIP program, you can  download PDG of procedural instructions  here.  You can also obtain a copy of TULIP program instructions by calling LGC Member Relations Associate Elizabeth Lizotte at 800.852.3358, ext. 278, or by e-mail


Learn more about special event permits, liability involving special events and the TULIP program by accessing related articles in our online New Hampshire Town and City magazine database. Select the letter “S” and click on “special events.”


Lynn Sperl is a communications specialist with LGC’s Communications Department. She can be reached by calling 800.852.3358, ext. 206, or by e-mail.