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..
First let me appologize for the longer than planned break in our postings. I have been dealing with some personal and family health issues and it's kept me away from posting here for far too long.
I'm breaking format in a few ways today, the first being that this will just be a written post and not a podcast episode, the other will be that it links out to a story that I think is very important to consider by all of us in the meetings industry. Back in August I did a podcast on Fire Marshals (Episode #10) and this relates back that information.
Just a few days ago we had another fire tragedy that has left a still unconfimed number of fatalities, with numbers of around 34 killed being reported so far. This horrible fire happened in an unliscenced venue where a music event was taking place. So, while it may not seem directly related to the meetings industry, it has relevence and resonance by the fact that it was a gathering of people...exactly what we all do on a daily basis.
CNN today had a story today discussing these numerous trageties and I thought it was worth sharing: www.cnn.com/2016/12/05/opinions/be-your-own-fire-marshal-barylick-opinion/index.html
Basically the message from the CNN piece is that we are all our own fire marshals and responsible for our own safety. For those who don't want to link over, this is what I feel is the most important message from the story:
"What does it mean to be your own fire marshal? It means that upon arriving at any venue, you must look carefully at the building. Does it look well maintained? Does the staff appear well trained? As you proceed to your seat, take notice of your route. Are there any pinch-points (areas where congestion is likely to occur) that would interfere with quick escape?
Once seated, locate the nearest exit (in addition to the one you came in) and share its location with your friends. Agree beforehand that this is the exit you'll immediately head for in the event of any emergency or threat, be it a fire, an attack, or a natural disaster.
To ensure your safety and those of your friends, go with your gut. If a building feels wrong, or dangerous, leave. No show is worth your life."
All of us in the meetings industry must go a step further than just considering our personal safety. We need to also assure the safety of all of the guests at our events. No matter what your role at an event, you must be aware of potential hazzards and address them immediately with the appropriate people.
This horrible event in Oakland didn't happen in a ballroom or in a hotel, but we all know that there have been tragic fires in traditional venues in the past. Please, work with your local fire marshals and other safety officials to assure that every gathering you are connected to is being held in a safe manner for the staff and the guests. If we all are diligent and aware, maybe tragedies like this can be prevented from ever happening again.
Please be safe and always speak up when you see something that is a potential hazzard.
Wishing you all a safe and joyus holiday season!
We'll be back with our regular podcasts again very soon!
Strategic Meeting Tech Podcast Show #21 - Lee Ann Benavides previews “Trends and Shifts in Hotel Sales Landscapes”, her upcoming panel session at the CMP Conclave
On today's podcast we talk with Lee Ann Benavidez, VP of Sales Operations for Hyatt Hotel Corporation. (Or visit, Hyatt Meetings & Events) Lee Ann will be part of an all-star panel representing many of the major hotel brands at the upcoming CMP Conclave in Baltimore. She and the rest of the panel will be taking part in a session called: "Trends and Shifts in Hotel Sales Landscapes".
Today we chatted about the shifts in technology and how planners and their hotel sales counterparts are all learning to adjust and adapt to the changes that touch the processes of booking space and managing an event. We consider some of the ways that technology can provide helpful data to save time and costs while still honoring the traditional relationship model between planners and suppliers that is so valued in our industry.
We touch upon concessions and negotiations with your hotel partners. And, we also spend some time on safety, security and contingencies and how the changes that occur around us have touched the meetings industry. Including a bit about how each property deals with unique sets of conditions unique to their location when planning for the safety of their guests and attendees.
There's still time to join us in Baltimore at the CMP Conclave on September 16-18!
Strategic Meeting Tech Podcast Show #15 - Paul Bridle and Vicki Hawarden preview "Security in Venues is Everyone's Responsibility", their upcoming session at the CMP Conclave
As event planners and suppliers we are all aware of evolving threats that can impact our venues and attendees. The industry has never established a uniform set of international standards for safety and security. To address that need, the international Secure Venue Standard is being developed in collaboration with a number of industry organizations.
Paul Bridle and Vicki Hawarden will lead a session at the upcoming CMP Conclave in Baltimore to review the importance of standards in this critical area, then break into smaller groups to provide feedback on how the proposed standards can bets meet the needs of the industry.
They join me on the podcast today to preview their session and talk about the vital role that providing a safe and secure environment for our attendees and guests plays in planning any event. If you're attending the CMP Conclave you should plan to attend this session and assure that your concerns and needs are met by the proposed standards.
Last week we talked about therole of a fire marshal in keeping attendees safe at an event. Continuing on the theme of safety and security, this week we’ll take a look at rigging and provide a brief overview of how that fits into the responsibility for a planner to assure thattheir attendees are safe and comfortable during their time spent at the event.
ESTA (Entertainment Services & Technology Association)
Technical Standards Program
Just this week there’s been some discussions in the news relating to room capacity at some political events. We’re non-political here on the podcast, but it started us thinking about the role of a fire marshal and the greater subject of event safety in general.
When you’re planning an event a part of your responsibility is to make sure that the attendees are safe and comfortable during their time spent at the event. This can touch on a few areas, but today we start with a brief overview of the role of Fire Marshals and their responsibility for helping to keep your attendees safe.
Event Safety Checklist from Eastern Michigan University: Event Safety & Planning Checklist
ESTA: Entertainment Services & Technology Association
Health & Safety Executive (UK): Event Safety
IATSE Local 22: Event Safety Training Guid
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..