The players may have been hard at work ahead of the new Aviva Premiership campaign, but preparations have also been continuing off the field at Franklin's Gardens, too, with the Northampton Saints safety team undertaking training to help prepare them for match days at an expanded stadium in 2015/16.
This past week saw the club host an evening led by Northamptonshire County Council's Emergency Planning department, with senior stewards working with representatives from the local Safety Advisory Group, fire and rescue, police and ambulance services to ensure that they are ready to deal with potentially serious incidents at Franklin's Gardens should they occur.
Stadium manager Andy Tresias said that it is vital that the club's safety team is ready to help supporters in what will be a much-changed environment this season.
“We regularly update our contingency plans, and with the development of the Barwell Stand all of our policies and processes have had to be reviewed and rewritten in order for the stadium to be granted a new safety certificate,” he said. “Our safety team does an outstanding job, and training and support is on-going throughout the season to ensure that our match day staff are prepared and ready to deal with major incidents if they might happen.
“This week's event was a very positive evening and we had lots of good feedback, and we're looking forward to welcoming supporters in a safe environment and enhancing their experience of a match day at Franklin's Gardens.”
With so many changes in the stadium, including new designation of seating blocks from letters to numbers, new access control, and different car parking arrangements for the first few games of the season, the Saints' management is asking all supporters attending the Saracens game to arrive at Franklin's Gardens earlier than they might have otherwise done in previous seasons.