Safety 101: Meetings and Events
We can all agree that attendee safety is at the top of our mental list of priorities for event planning success. Our guests expect it, but are we giving them a false sense of security or are we really prepared to deliver a safe experience each time we produce an event?
Do you want your events to be LITERALLY safe? If so, get your team prepared with these common safety plans:
Event Site Safety Plan
Is your event outdoors? If so, you’ll need a Site Safety plan. In it, you will need to describe all potential hazards including structural safety, barriers, and entrances/exits. A map or drawing of the site with dimensions and layouts is essential. The plan should also include contact information for vendors and emergency personnel. All site crew managers, event staff and safety coordinators should have access and knowledge of the Site Safety plan.
Crowd Management Plan
The best way to understand how to manage your crowd is to understand your audience. Where will they expect to see the registration desk? What would be the most efficient way of getting people through the line? Do you expect people with special needs for handicap accessibility? Do all your meeting rooms and event spaces accurately accommodate your expected guest counts? Are exit signs prominent? Do you need additional directional signage to get people to-and-from various meetings/events? Many venues will offer to provide ushers for large events in order to manage crowds. Take advantage of this service if you do not have sufficient staff and volunteers.
Event Security Plan
Although it seems obvious and should go without saying, one of the most important safety plans to consider is security. This is especially important for preventing issues with large crowds. You would be surprised at how a simple uniformed officer can serve as a deterrent for crime. Events serving alcohol and/or held during evening hours definitely benefit from security officers. In addition, make sure all parking areas and hallways are well-lit and preferably equipped with surveillance. When contracting with venues, make sure they provide you with their security protocols and relevant contact information.
Event Transportation Safety Plan
It is important to understand how your attendees will be arriving and departing. Is there anything you can do to make their travel process as smoothly as possible? Do you offer safe parking options? If events are held in multiple locations, do you have plans in place to transport guests back and forth? Also, if your event is serving alcohol, be sure to offer taxi (or Uber) contact information to encourage guests not to drive under the influence.
Let’s face it, accidents happen and people get sick. And although you can’t plan for every situation, you can certainly make sure you have the basic services for first-aid treatment based on the size of your event. Also, make sure your event team is prepared with emergency service contact information. For larger crowds, consider having an EMT on site. Usually, a first-aid kit is sufficient, but you never know!
We know that emergency situations rarely occur, but you should always have a plan just in case. Always have a contingency plan for extreme weather, fire, terrorist attacks and other possible disasters. Prepare for all possible exit strategies. Be sure there is a way to make announcements and that your staff has the resources to communicate with guests and emergency personnel. Many venues will have plans in place that you can adopt for your event.
It is Better to be Safe Than Sorry
When talking SAFETY, it’s best to err on the side of being overly prepared. If the information provided here isn’t enough, learn how to create formal safety plans using online tools such as Event Safety Plan, which offer templates and questionnaires to get you started.