Safety Tips for Using Dry Hire Equipment

At STLS, we specialise in audio-visual equipment hire and understand the importance of safety. Understanding and implementing these safety measures, especially when handling sophisticated audio-visual gear alone, is a priority. Our clients have important events or projects to run, and ensuring a smooth and trouble-free execution is integral to their success. That’s why we strive to provide not just equipment but also the assurance of safety. Our focus is to equip you with the knowledge to use this equipment safely and effectively.

What is Dry Hire?

Dry hire is the rental of equipment without any additional services or support, meaning you receive only the equipment itself, such as lighting, sound systems, or AV tech. The responsibility for setting up and operating the equipment rests with you or your team. 

Dry hire is the opposite of wet hire, which includes equipment and professional assistance for its operation. While wet hire provides an all-in-one solution, dry hire offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness. This service is popular for various events, from small gatherings to large-scale productions. 

If you choose to set up your event with dry hire equipment, you will be solely responsible for the installation, setup, and breakdown of your equipment, which can be a time-consuming, complex task. However, at STLS, we offer installation and operations services to assist with your dry hire needs, which is especially useful if you’re also dry hiring a venue. Our expert technicians are on hand to provide support, ensuring that your event runs smoothly. 

Importance of Safety When Using Dry Hire Equipment

Safety is a top priority when using dry hire equipment. When you choose dry hire, you’re responsible for the safe setup and operation of complex audio-visual equipment. This approach requires understanding the equipment and risk management to prevent accidents and damage. Audio-visual equipment can be tricky and, if used incorrectly, can lead to accidents or equipment damage.

Electrical hazards are a primary concern when handling audio-visual equipment, as this often requires high power loads, and incorrect handling can lead to shocks or fires. Improper installation is another significant risk. For example, if lighting equipment is rigged incorrectly, it could fall, causing injury or ruining the equipment. Similarly, poor management of sound equipment can result in electrical malfunctions or hearing damage due to excessive volume levels.

Beyond the immediate physical risks, there’s also the potential for long-term damage to expensive equipment. Incorrect usage or setup can shorten the lifespan of these devices, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

The safety of everyone involved – from your team to the event attendees – also needs to be considered. A mishap disrupts your event and can lead to serious legal and financial repercussions.

Safety Tips for Using Dry Hire Equipment

Following specific safety tips is essential when using dry hire equipment to ensure a secure and successful event.

Understanding and Operating Equipment Safely

Before using any dry hire equipment, like the active speakers or digital mixing desks, ensure you thoroughly understand its operation by reading any manuals or instructions. For example, when using an analogue mixing desk, familiarise yourself with its inputs and outputs to avoid misconnections leading to equipment damage or safety hazards.

Handling Equipment 

Some AV and staging equipment is quite heavy and requires special handling. It’s essential to have a team who understands manual handling to safely transport and install this equipment. They should understand the correct methods to lift and move heavy items without risking injury. Additionally, when heavy equipment is rigged at height, there’s a risk it could fall. A trained AV professional (like us at STLS!) knows how to rig such equipment securely, minimising the risk of accidents. Our technicians are skilled in handling a wide range of AV equipment and manage each aspect with care and expertise, providing peace of mind and a successful event experience. 

Proper Installation and Rigging

Correct installation should be a priority, especially for lighting and rigging equipment. When using moving lights or trussing, installing them securely and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines is important. Incorrect rigging can lead to serious accidents. Additionally, using access equipment and ladders safely prevents falls or injuries while setting up equipment. Ensure someone supports ladders and the safe working load of access towers is not exceeded. 

Keep Track of Audiovisual Equipment 

Create a list of all technical hardware, including small or peripheral items like in-ear monitors, microphones and laptops, which are easily misplaced. Remember, audiovisual equipment is costly, and losing any item could lead to the loss of equipment deposits. You should take a detailed inventory before, during, and after each event to ensure all equipment is accounted for and help prevent such losses. 

Electrical Safety and Cable Management

With AV equipment comes many cables, each needing to be securely managed to prevent them from becoming trip hazards. Proper cable management is necessary, whether routing them overhead, under carpets, or through ground or cable ramps. Ensuring that all cables are not only out of the way but also neatly organised and untangled is essential. Electrical safety means ensuring that power cables and distro are correctly and safely connected, especially when using equipment with high power demands like LED uplighting or amplifiers.

Conducting a walk-through before your event to check for any potential trip hazards is a wise practice. Additionally, consider placing warning signs where necessary. A professional AV team, like the one at STLS, will meticulously secure and tidy all cables, ensuring the safety of your guests as they move around the event and giving you peace of mind. Our expertise in cable management and overall equipment handling guarantees a smoothly run event and a safe environment for everyone involved. 

Managing Sound and Light Levels Effectively

Managing sound levels is essential for any indoor or outdoor event to prevent hearing damage and disturbances. For outdoor events, especially near residential areas or large open spaces, it’s important to consider how sound travels and adjust levels accordingly to avoid disruption. Sound can be more intense in indoor events due to the confined space, so careful calibration is necessary to maintain comfortable and safe volume levels.

Proper lighting is an integral part of any event safety plan, as it helps to highlight safety hazards and assists in security monitoring. Adequate lighting ensures that safety and medical teams can effectively respond in case of incidents or evacuations. This lighting should define the boundaries of the space, illuminate walkways and venues for safe movement, and include emergency lighting on standby and light exits and exit signs. 

Make an Emergency Plan 

An emergency plan, including knowing how to quickly and safely power down equipment and access medical help, ensures that you can respond effectively to protect the equipment and people involved in an emergency.​

Hire Equipment from STLS 

If you’re considering dry hire for your next event, we offer a wide range of options tailored to your needs. We understand that managing equipment can be daunting, and our team is always on hand to assist, whether you need guidance on using the equipment or require full support with setup and breakdown. Our expertise ensures the seamless operation of the equipment and the safety and success of your event. 

Contact us today for all your dry hire needs, and let us help you create a memorable and secure event.