It’s no secret that the security landscape has drastically changed since 9/11. Schools, religious institutions, entertainment venues and everyday establishments have been forced to deal with this sad fact. No one is exempt, including the meeting & events industry. Together, we must face these new security threats head on. Currently, the Exhibitions & Meetings Safety & Security Initiative (EMSSI) is working to establish an SOP or protocol for convention centers, similar to those already developed by arenas and stadiums. In the meantime, collaboration and communication are key to helping to ensure the safety of all those involved in the event. 

Emergency preparedness can be daunting. With so many distressing possibilities to consider, it can be difficult to know where to start. Of course, we all know it’s impossible to prepare for every scenario, but there are a few broad measures we can all take to improve onsite security. 

In terms of event transportation (that’s us) and in the case of an emergency situation possibly requiring evacuation, it is of utmost importance to share emergency contact info with the event organizers and security teams prior to the event. During site-visits, make sure you include your transportation team in any emergency planning conversations. We have developed an internal emergency response plan, but its primary function is to protect our people and our vendors. Unless we are aware of an event-wide response protocol, our team will default to this internal plan. Again, communication is key! 

Many security details have assessed the different levels of danger, liability, and possibility attributed to potential risk scenarios. Whether you are at a convention center or hotel or even a dinner party, never be afraid to ask for a security brief on how to respond in the event of an emergency. In talking to the security team at the Music City Center in Nashville, they require client briefings prior to events and provide safety/emergency pocket guides to clients and those working in the facility. 

Ultimately, there aren’t specific questions that planners and vendors need to ask in order to create an emergency response. Emergency planning should involve collaboration with security and those working in and around the facility. It’s also wise to keep those with knowledge of any plan to a minimum – it streamlines communication procedures should something occur and it simplifies the planning itself. One venue alone can throw thousands of events every year, and because many events have various demographics and set-ups, different safety measures and protocols may be in order. Oftentimes, venue security is able to provide a range of coverage depending on the size and layout of an event. Thus, being collaborative in your emergency situation discussions can be vital to safety success. 

To sum it up, the goal is to: 

  • Speak with security teams and event planners about emergency protocols prior to events 
  • Assess potential risks and emergency situations with your own team 
  • Be collaborative when planning safety procedures – talk it out, share ideas, write it down 
  • Follow industry best practices 
  • Make emergency plans accessible to patrons and staff 

Regardless of higher security measures needed across the board, we must push forward in our industry and do our best in planning our security and emergency endeavors. 

How do you plan for emergencies? We’d love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #stewarttransportation and let us know how you plan for security for your events! 

We’d like to thank Elisa Putman, Senior Vice President/Chief Operations, and her security team at the Music City Center for guidance on emergency situation and safety details. The MCC has a full-time team in place, which includes multiple supervisors and managers ready, willing, and able to jump in and assist the event security team in a moment’s notice – and they frequently do. Putman said it best, “It’s a team effort to ensure the safety of all.”

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