As mentioned in my last blog post, I was recently interviewed regarding event safety and security. The author found me via a discussion I was part of within an industry message board. I was sharing some conversations that were being held within the stagehand/technician community immediately following the RT. 91 tragedy in Las Vegas.
It's clear that the security and the safety of our attendees and guests has become a much more serious topic in the industry then it was in the past. From the CMP Conclave to NAMM, Ive seen numerous sessions being offered to discuss security and educate attendees about best practices. I'm happy there is a growing awareness, and I'd encourage everyone to spend some time thinking about your events and what risks they might entail.
Before going any further, I would say that I'm not an expert in this field by any definition. But, I am experienced in this business, and I'm concerned about the people who surround me in a ballroom whenever I'm working on an event. We need to all remain alert, (but not alarmed) to the evolving challenges of safety and security so that all of those attendees in the ballroom will go home safely at the end of the event. We all have a stake in that goal.
The biggest first step is just not ignoring the subject or assuming that things will be fine because of the type, location or attendees of your event. If you decide it's a lower concern, decide based on analysis and information, not on just avoiding it or assuming. Remember that safety and security also encompasses things like fire, power, rigging or response to a medical emergency. Not every risk is something extreme like violence.
Think though your event, the flow of attendees and the schedule.
Try to identify places that could become a problem should an emergency situation arise.
Is the room set to fire code so that attendees will have a clear path to an exit? Has your rigging vendor used the proper equipment and trained personnel to hang those signs and light overhead? Do you have an evacuation plan and procedure to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for in the event of an emergency? Those are just a couple obvious one's off the top of my head. The point is really that you need to think about them in advance, discuss them with the venue (who may have established many of them) and with your team.
There's so much to this topic, a post like this only begins to skim the surface. Consider checking in with folks the the Event Safety Alliance: http://eventsafetyalliance.org for up to date information and ways to make your events safer.
We all need to be looking out for ourselves and for each other whenever we are part of a large gathering of people. Don't let complacency or expense allow a preventable problem or incident to occur at one of your events..
While I do expect to return to podcasting via this site. It's been challenging as a small operation to deal with the simultaneous issues over the past couple years. Getting back on my feet and still keeping up with the normal business flow of work for the company left little time for fun stuff like doing interviews, writing and taking care of the technical parts of editing and posting a regular podcast.
Honestly, doing that work solo on top of helping my clients just isn't realistic. So, expect some podcasts in the future, but maybe not at the same crazy pace as before.
I'm now just over a year out from my third back surgery and I'm finally starting to feel a bit closer to normal! It's been a slow process, but I've been blessed by family, friends and even customers who have supported and encouraged me at each step of the way.
The meetings industry continues to shift and evolve around us on a daily basis. The pace of change is frantic and it's difficult to keep it all in perspective. But, I've been trying to maintain my knowledge in the technical side of things. I just attended NAMM a couple weeks ago to marvel at the amazing advances in audio technology available to us now. I was also interviewed recently by an industry publication about safety and security for events in a world where some horrible acts have been committed against innocent groups attending events. I'll have some thoughts to share here on that topic soon.
I've also committed to serving again on my MPI chapter board for the next year. So, I expect to have a few things to share about navigating the waters of a volunteer organization and supplying measurable value to the members.
To anyone reading this, I thank you for sticking with me and staying connected during my long hiatus to recover. I hope to justify your wait with some solid information and conversations once again and going forward.
No specifics, no grand promises...just a desire to continue the conversation of how we can improve ourselves and our work in an industry that we all spend much of our days obsessing over.
More to come very soon! Jon
Jon Trask, CMP, CMM
A passion to improve both the meetings and Audio Visual industries by helping to create better and more effective technology conversations..