In-Person Training REQUIRED for Most Shifts

Due to the sensitive nature of the tasks that are assigned to volunteers in Security, most Security volunteers are required to attend an in-person training regardless of past volunteer experience. 

However, Security shifts starting before 8 AM or starting after 5 PM are eligible for ONLINE Training.

If you have any questions about this training requirement, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator of the beneficiary organization you selected. 


Departmental Training Materials:

Keeping our Fair Safe and Fun for All!

Volunteers in Security are here to make sure that everyone on the fairgrounds has the best time possible. We do this by acting as a liaison between the police and the fairgoers, volunteers, and residents - Security volunteers are not here to police the fair.

Look, Listen, Communicate

Our primary goal is to ensure that everyone on the fairgrounds is safe. This means staying alert and attentive throughout the entire volunteer shift. We rely on volunteers to report suspicious or dangerous activity or situations immediately to Security Central via radio; as the eyes and ears for the fair managers, volunteers are tasked with communicating FIRST and acting SECOND (and only after being instructed to do so).

It is imperative that Security volunteers take all necessary steps to ensure their own safety first.

Reporting issues to Security Central

The most important issues that a Security volunteer will encounter during their shift must be reported to Security Central immediately.

  1. Take note of your location: address including cross streets AND landmark on the fairgrounds (“I am at 100 Folsom Street close to the Beer Booth.”)
  2. Briefly describe the situation (“Attendee fell down and is bleeding, need medical attention.”)
  3. Await instructions from Security Central before taking action.

Priority 1: Public safety

A public safety concern is something that makes you feel that you or another person may be in physical danger. Sometimes this is a result of a person’s behavior, an object that seems suspicious or out of place, or a conversation that is overheard.

Any volunteer who believes that they have discovered a public safety risk should report it to Security Central immediately.

Examples of public safety concerns:

  1. A suspicious bag or package on the fairgrounds
  2. A person who looks completely out of place, with large or oversized clothes
  3. A conversation about a weapon or intentions to maliciously inflict violence on a person or group of people
  4. An individual climbing on structures like mailboxes, trees, street signs, barricades, etc.
  5. A vehicle not complying with street closures

Priority 2: Medical situations

Security volunteers should immediately report individuals that are bleeding, have fainted, are over-intoxicated, or otherwise are in medical danger (or are endangering others). Medical emergencies should be reported to Security Central immediately.

Priority 3: Prohibited behaviors

Addressing Prohibited behaviors

Individuals who engage in prohibited behaviors may not know that they are doing so. In good faith, Security volunteers are asked to gently and firmly ask these individuals to stop what they are doing, as long as the volunteer feels safe in doing so.

The following are the steps to address prohibited behaviors on the fairgrounds:

  1. Issue a Warning: Either the volunteer or a member of the Security staff will inform the individual that their behavior is not permitted, and that repeating the behavior will result in being escorted out of the fair.
  2. If the warning is not heeded, the volunteer will report the incident to Security Central. Security Central will dispatch someone to escort the individual from the fairgrounds, and Gates personnel will be notified that the person is not permitted to re-enter. The individual will be warned that future violations will be reported to SFPD.
  3. If the individual returns, the volunteer should report the incident to Security Central, who will dispatch SFPD officers to remove the individual again from the fairgrounds.

If the behavior is occurring inside of a building on the fairgrounds, report the incident to Security Central.

Examples of prohibited behaviors are below:

Illegal Vending

To be fair to the vendors who have paid to exhibit at the fair, and also to ensure accountability for all goods sold on the fairgrounds, selling goods outside of an official exhibitor booth is not permitted. Illegal vendors must leave the fairgrounds; report this to Security Central immediately and await further instructions.

Canvassers and Protesters

Canvassers, people gathering signatures for petitions, and people handing out flyers for non-Folsom Street Events, is prohibited. Report this to Security Central immediately and await further instructions. Protesters should be directed to the First Amendment/Free Speech Area on the Fairgrounds (For Up Your Alley, the First Amendment/Free Speech Area is Folsom St and 9th St behind the DJ booth).

Unauthorized Beverages and Containers

No one may enter or exit the fairgrounds with alcoholic beverages. Glass bottles and cans are also prohibited (cans of soda may be consumed in Volunteer HQ only). Volunteers may issue a Warning as described above and instruct the individual(s) to empty and recycle the containers.

  • It is helpful to share the location of nearby liquor, beer, soda, and water booths
  • Soda may be poured into a plastic cup, which are available at the gates


As a public event in San Francisco, smoking is prohibited on the fairgrounds, but permitted outside of the fair, pursuant to SF laws. If this behavior is witnessed, volunteers may issue a Warning as described above.

Other Behaviors

Oral contact with, or penetration of or with, genitals, is considered lewd and should be redirected. Urinating on the ground is considered “public urination” and should be stopped. This is an exhaustive list. ALL OTHER CONSENSUAL BEHAVIORS ARE PERMITTED AND ENCOURAGED AT OUR STREET FAIRS.

Volunteers may issue a Warning as described above, and give the individual(s) a card to Steamworks or Blow Buddies, where the behavior is typically encouraged and permitted.


Every Security volunteer must check in at Security Central before their shift, and check out after their shift. Upon check-in, volunteers will be given an orange security vest and may be given a radio for use during their shift. Both of these items must be returned at the end of the shift.

Once assigned, volunteers must remain at their post until released by Security Central.

Due to the importance of alertness and attentiveness to the environment around us, we strongly discourage volunteers from being stationed with a friend or colleague that they know very well, to ensure that the attention remains on the job at hand; we encourage everyone to spend quality time with other volunteers before and after their shifts in the Hospitality area of Volunteer HQ.


The first shift of the day assists in closing the streets and keeping unauthorized people off of the fairgrounds during set-up. Streets will be closed in a particular order, and groups of volunteers will be dispatched to each location to perform the closure:

  • Using the map that will be provided, pull barricades across the street from building line to building line
  • Once the barricades are placed, stand on the sidewalk so that drivers are aware of the barricades and closure, but the volunteer is safe.
  • Pedestrians should be encouraged to enter after 11:00am, when the fair begins, although everyone is permitted to enter if they wish.


Only Security Central or SFPD can authorize a street to be opened once it has been barricaded. This includes residents who ask to drive on to the premises. The following vehicles are permitted to enter prior to the fair beginning, but not before clearance is given by Security Central. After the designated time, these vehicles may enter at the specified gate(s).

  • Beverage Partners will show a signed contract
  • Exhibitors, Sponsors, and Food Vendors will show a pass
  • Vendors delivering dumpsters, toilets, etc will show a pass and must be cleared individually by Security Central
  • Medical, Fire, or Police personnel should be announced to Security Central, and held at the gate pending instruction.

After 11:00am, all individuals should be encouraged to enter through a designated entry gate.


Volunteers assigned to the grounds will be tasked with ensuring the safety and well-being of the individuals they see. Specifically, there are two special Grounds assignments which are described below.


Volunteers assigned to the Treasury location must ensure that only authorized individuals are permitted to enter. This includes any Board, Staff, or Associate (look for their role description on their official event nametag), or individual volunteers with a designated Treasury Access badge. Any exceptions to this must be cleared by Security Central.

Volunteer HQ

The Volunteer headquarters area is only available to volunteers, Board, and Staff, and special guests of the event. All of these individuals will have a nametag which identifies them and grants them access to Volunteer HQ.


From time to time, residents of the street where Volunteer HQ is set up will need to have access to the HQ area in order to get to their home. To be granted entry, the individual must either show proof of residence, or have an escort, which will be dispatched by Security Central.


At the end of the day, Security volunteers assist in re-opening the streets, and maintaining a vehicle-free space in the fairgrounds until all streets are open. Some vehicles may be granted access:


  • Beverage Partners will show a signed contract
  • Exhibitors, Sponsors, and Food Vendors will show a pass
  • Vendors picking up dumpsters, toilets, etc will show a pass and must be cleared individually by Security Central


  • Medical, Fire, or Police personnel should be announced to Security Central, and held at the gate pending instruction.

Only Security Central, a Director, or SFPD can authorize a street to be opened to traffic.


Radios are distributed for the sole purpose of enabling official communication between volunteers stationed around the fairgrounds and Security Central.

Checking In

Radio Check. Upon receiving a radio, volunteers should do a “radio check” with Security Central to ensure that the radio is functioning properly and the volunteer can hear and be heard.

Arrival at post. Upon arrival at their post, volunteers should check in with Security Central to confirm they are stationed.

Released from post. Once Security Central has released a volunteer from their post, the volunteer should confirm that they are leaving the location.

Using the radio

Radios must be worn in such a way that the “talk” button is not accidentally or inadvertently engaged; no one else is able to use the radio channel when the talk button is engaged.

Before talking: Ensure that the line is clear (i.e. there is no static, and no one else is talking) - if it is not clear, be patient until the conversation is over. Once the line is clear, depress the “talk” button”.

While speaking: Be concise and speak slowly and clearly. Do not speak for longer than is absolutely necessary to communicate your needs:

  • Ask to engage: “This is Sam from 100 Folsom Street to Security Central”
  • Once Security Central confirms that they are listening, say why you reached out: “There is a medical emergency, involving blood, at 100 Folsom Street in front of the Beer Booth.”
  • Confirm instructions: “Instructions received, thank you.”

After speaking: Ensure that the “talk” button has been released and the line is now clear.


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