by Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM
• Active shooter protocols that should be in your event EAP
• Gather the facts that matter
• Have a plan, know the plan
Effective event strategists know the only constant in life is change. To be successful we must continuously adapt to ever-changing attendee preferences as well as changes in the world around us. Paradigm shifts dictate the planning environment. Just over a decade ago, green meetings, online registration, incorporating corporate social responsibility into agendas, and utilizing social media as part of our marketing strategy were just gaining traction. Today, they’re business as usual.
From a safety officer’s perspective, events are uncontrolled public gatherings, making them a soft target for anyone looking to cause injury/death. Translation: it is your responsibility to have a plan. The good news is that most of the process is a lot less scary than you may think.
Our role is largely contained to fact gathering prior to the event. EAPs can be created on an event by event basis or a generic template altered for each event. All EAPs should contain the following information and need to be shared with the onsite team as well as a point person who remains behind.
Break the information out by venue (overall event facility) so you can refer instantly to whatever property (specific event space at facility) may be affected. Don’t forget overflow hotels, dine arounds, and excursion venues.
Each venue should have a file with the following info:
1. Name and contact information for the manager on duty as well as chief of security
2. Venue’s name, address, phone number, and URL
3. Dates and hours the space is being used
4. Specific agenda including all rooms utilized, and an hour by hour agenda with headcount (think breakout meetings)
5. Property address and phone number, if there is a different building number and direct phone line
6. Hours and number of people expected at each event space (refer to #4, consider all locations including where those with down time are likely to be)
7. Whenever possible a complete list of which attendees are at each specific property, and when
8. Complete list of outside vendors being used, their onsite function, what they are delivering if applicable, names of all staff they are bringing onsite, arrival time, and contact information
9. Venue and property layout including the floor plan of the event area as well as all entries and exits being utilized (each venue has these and can forward to you)
10. Emergency contact information for the Police Dept., Fire Dept., local Ambulance, or EMTs
Keep in mind that if a situation does arise, understanding why a particular event or venue may have been targeted could be helpful. It is for that reason that you want to include general information which may add some insight.
General information to include:
1. Official show/event name
2. A brief description of the meeting and its purpose as well as the tenor of the meeting
3. Name of the event host as well as their corporate address, name of CEO, and the company’s website
4. Names, corporate address, and website for all event sponsors
5. Guest speakers’ names, websites, and presentation titles as well as when and where they are speaking
Should an incident occur, once help arrives, hand the EAP over to Law Enforcement and get out of the way. It is for this reason that I recommend having your EAP printed out.
Its topics like this that illustrate how important our roles are and how seriously we and others need to take them. While we are not performing surgery, our ability to excel at this aspect of our jobs can literally mean life or death. So: Have a Plan. Know the Plan. Talk about the Plan. Alter the Plan to fit your event.
As is the case with most things in life: any plan is better than no plan at all.
When Christy joined the meetings industry 25 years ago, event planning was more of a concept than a recognized profession. In the ensuing two and a half decades, she proudly participated in its evolution. Christy has earned multiple certifications, writes thought-provoking articles and teaches strategic planning at the University level. Christy’s latest mission is to bring the industry and the talented professionals who share her passion for strategic planning the respect they deserve