With frequent occurrences of turmoil across the globe, we each need to seriously stop and consider our own personal safety when we go anywhere and, as meeting planners, we need to place event security front and center in our planning.

EmpowerMINT has a valuable 46-minute webinar, “Meeting & Event Security is Everybody’s Business,” that I highly recommend. A few of the takeaways that I have learned this past year at various workshops and webinars are:

Close your eyes and point to the closest exit

Now point to the next closest exit. Most people cannot accurately do this! Knowing your closest exit is paramount – even the airlines ask you to locate the two closest exits to you when you are on the plane. But what if the closest exit is blocked or not a good means of escape? Know your exits wherever you go - movies, church, a concert, the airport and your meeting venue. This tip alone is golden. The past few conferences I have attended have verbally provided this information to us during our opening session.

Emergencies can include a power outage, fire, storm or an intruder

The Hospitality Industry has developed suggested guidelines/best practices for emergencies. As a planner, incorporate this into your initial site visit with each venue. Ask for a copy of their safety/emergency plan. Ask your CVB/DMO for their destination emergency plan. Remember, security issues typically occur with little or no warning so you don’t have time to go look for this plan and read it – know it!

Emergency Exit Sign

Perform a risk assessment at the venue prior to selection

Meet with their security/crowd management, parking and medical officers, as well as the rest of the team that you usually meet with. This is part of preparedness in today’s times.

Have a contingency plan for all of your events

Consider the risks associated with a meeting in the case of an emergency. This will bring value to you and your attendees’ safety. Enough said.

Have a medical service plan in place

Know where to direct people for staging areas and let your attendees know this information.

Think about your drone policy

Are you going to use drones at your event? Will attendees be able to use drones? What is allowed by the venue? How will the venue and security respond to any drones outside of what they and your policy allow? Though slightly difficult questions to answer, it is important to know the answers. 

Bring the local CVB/DMO into your event security plan as soon as you have selected your city

The CVB has relationships with key contacts and they are knowledge experts on their destination. They can help you communicate your concerns and connect you with the appropriate parties.

This information should be like shaking hands

You don’t think about it; you just automatically do it. Thanks EmpowerMINT. Great tip!

Sadly, we no longer  have the luxury of thinking this won’t happen to us because we are seeing emergencies of all kinds happening regularly. Our best plan is to be aware, have knowledge of how to respond and know who is responsible for what. Then go enjoy life. We are not hostages but knowledgeable participants!

When you are ready to think about your next location, please call me. I would love to visit with you about your criteria and the many ways we can partner on your next successful event.