Event Marshal Guidelines

Before You Leave Home

  • Remember comfortable shoes are critical - you will be on your feet for a long time.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in freely and won't get in the way.
  • Charge your phone.

Before the Event

  • Grab and do anything you need to do before you check-in (grab coffee or water, go to the bathroom, etc.). Once you check in, your shift has started.
  • Get a scarf identifying the security guards from the coordinators.

Marshal Roles and Responsibilities

  • Keep participants safe (from troublemakers, pickpockets etc).
  • De-escalate potentially tense situations (between participants and onlookers/opponents).
  • Help participants with any issues they have.
  • Communicate any major issues (medical conditions, problems with police, and situations that you cannot resolve to the Lead Marshal).
  • Front marshals: keep an eye on the area near and behind performers
  • Back and side marshals: watch perimeters

Marshals Do Not...

  • Panic
  • Negotiate with police
  • Deal with major emergencies or issues
  • Provide medical assistance
  • Speak to the press/media

While Marshaling...

  • Remember, you are the representative of the event that participants see and can identify - your actions will create the mood/atmosphere of the event.
  • In most situations, you will be the first person that someone will talk to if there is a question or a problem to address - so be open and welcoming to people.
  • ALWAYS follow the chain of command - safety first, question decisions later. If/when the tactical team makes a call, all marshals must carry out the decision.
  • Be respectful at all times and remember this event represents a variety of communities, constituencies, and organizations. Respect diversity of cultures and backgrounds.
  • Do not touch people - especially police.
  • Ask people not to paint graffiti or place stickers/signs on any property except their person.
  • De-escalate potential minor problems by maintaining eye contact, using a calm steady voice, and keeping your hands where people can see them.
  • Immediately inform the lead marshal of potential bigger issues, e.g. individual(s) getting aggressive or drunk or causing disruption
  • Help act as a buffer between participants and police or hecklers.

Techniques for De-Escalation of Tense Situations

  • The Walk Away - Goal is to neutralize the person by removing them from the situation. First enlist the help of one or two other security volunteers. Together approach the person and tell them that you can not hear them. Ask them to follow you and walk with them to a new location.
  • The Match - If someone is shouting, start speaking loudly to them and then slowly lower the volume of your voice - they will naturally lower the volume of their voice.
  • The Yessum - Sometimes people can't be reasoned with and the only thing you can do is just keep saying yes to them. Eventually, they will get bored and walk away.
  • In case of violence: isolate, separate.
  • In case of a medical emergency: one marshal remains with injured person, another gets police.
  • If the entire crowd is in danger or panicking, tell everyone to SIT DOWN and stay silent. This keeps people safer and more non-threatening; it takes control of the space and allows you to regroup and regain composure.

Body Posture

  • Appear calm, centered, and self-assured even if you don't feel it. Your anxiety can make others feel anxious and unsafe which can escalate aggression.
  • Maintain limited eye contact. Loss of eye contact may be interpreted as an expression of fear, lack of interest or regard, or rejection. Excessive eye contact may be interpreted as a threat or challenge.


These Guidelines have been adapted from ActUp and peoplesclimate.org