Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 11

Industry (see how I slipped that in there?),
meeting professionals should focus on
integrating crisis preparedness into the
everyday processes of meeting planning
and management.
Planning for meeting safety and
security starts at the very beginning of the
process. Meeting planners should include
safety and security criteria in requests
for proposals (RFPs), whether verbal or
written. Some examples of issues that
should be included along with requests for
rates, dates and space are:
* VIP suites located on different floors
so that executives are not grouped
together in case of fire, bombing or
kidnapping attempt.
* Location of the nearest hospital and
24-hour emergency dental clinic.
* How many security personnel are
scheduled on property for each shift
(e.g., 700-1,500, 1,500-2,300, 2,300+)
on the days of your meeting.
* Whether the property has automated
external defibrillators (AEDs) on-site.
If so, how many, where they are kept,
who has access to them, who can use
them, and how you can get them to
your meeting space if there is a sudden
cardiac arrest incident at your meeting.
* Whether there are different alarms
(e.g., a fire alarm and a shelter in place
or tornado alarm), what they sound
like and the appropriate response
for each. For example, sometimes
the response is, "Stay where you
are and wait for an announcement."
Sometimes the response is, "Proceed
immediately in an orderly fashion to
the nearest exit." You don't want to
be waiting if you should be exiting!
* Whether there is a public address
(PA) system in the hotel over which
an emergency announcement will be
made following an alarm and if so,
(a) whether it can be heard in guest
rooms and (b) meeting rooms or only in
public areas.
Anything of particular concern to a
group should be included in the contract.
Another opportunity to ensure that
safety and security needs are met is the
pre-con meeting. If you are holding a
pre-con meeting anyway, here are a few
additional issues to add to your checklist
to address while you already have
everyone sitting around the table:

* Ask for a safety and security
walk-through of the meeting space and
surrounding areas to identify the location
of emergency exits, shelter in place
locations, fire extinguishers, alarms,
automated external defibrillators (AEDs),
and other emergency equipment.
* Give them the names of any of your
attendees who have disabilities and
the nature of those disabilities if you
have been made aware of them by the
attendee. Clarify their procedures for
evacuating guests with disabilities.
* Ask where the evacuation assembly
point is so you will know how, when,
and where to gather and locate your
attendees following the evacuation.
* Ask them to walk through an evacuation
drill with you, pointing out where hotel
staff will be located, non-obvious
additional exits, any stairwells that open
only at ground level, and any other
information that will help you feel "in the
know" if your group has to evacuate.
* Ask the Front Office Manager to go over
what safety measures the front desk
staff has been trained to do such as
not announcing guest room numbers
out loud and not disclosing guest room
numbers to anyone who is not listed on
the reservation, not even the person's
spouse. (I once worked at a hotel where
a clerk gave a husband a key to his wife's
room after the husband showed an ID
with the same last name and address as
the wife's. It turns out they were getting
a divorce. The soon-to-be-ex-husband
went up to the room and assaulted his
wife. Security was called immediately.)
* Ensure that all of the staff know to
inform you, the meeting planner,
immediately if something serious
happens involving one of your
attendees. Whether it is an injury on
property or the attendee has to be
taken to the hospital (or jail!), you want
to find out immediately and not through
the rumor mill.
* Ask for the assistance of bell staff in
reminding your attendees not to wear
their name badges as they leave hotel
property. Wearing a name badge can

make attendees a target for criminals
because it labels them as unfamiliar
with the area.
* Review banquet event orders (BEOs) not
only for accuracy but also to ensure that
they address any known food allergies.
Explain how attendees will identify
themselves to servers as persons with
food allergies. For each meal, ask what
the alternative meal options will be.
* Although this should have been
requested in advance, be sure that
catering is prepared to label all the food
with the ingredients (not just the names)
of foods. Buffets should have cards
next to each dish. Plated meals should
include menu cards on each table (not
necessarily at each place). If the hotel or
caterer balks at providing the complete
ingredient list for each dish, ask them
to at least list out the eight top food
allergies identified by the Food & Drug
Administration (FDA): milk, eggs, fish,
crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts,
wheat, soybeans. Note: saying what a
dish is "free" of (e.g., "gluten free") is
not enough. Many people have multiple
food allergies.
* If you do not already know, ask if the
hotel is located in a state with "stock
epinephrine" law that allows places of
public accommodation to stock EpiPens
(adrenaline). Currently, multiple U.S.
states allow - but do not require - this
as a risk management measure aimed
at helping those with unknown allergies,
as well as those who are unprepared. If
so, ask whether the hotel stocks them.
If so, where and who is allowed to
administer the EpiPens?
Managing safety and security isn't
another thing for meeting professionals
to find the time to do. It is something that
needs to be integrated into the way that
meeting professionals are doing what they
already do every day. All the little things
add a BIG way.
Tyra Hilliard, Ph.D, Esq., CMP, is a
speaker, professor and writer who
specializes in law and liability, crisis and
emergency management, and meetings
and events. She originally wrote this
article for the MPI Potomac Chapter's
Engage magazine.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Fall 2016

President’s Letter
Going Places
Safe & Sound: Meeting Security in Today’s World
Be a Leader: The Five Components to Results Management
Highlights from the 2016 SGMP National Education Conference
Speaker Tips for Savvy Planners
Social Media Channels Increasingly Becoming Event-Centric
Thought Leadership
Meet a Member
CGMP Corner
National Updates
Advertisers’ Index
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - cover1
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - cover2
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 3
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 4
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 5
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - President’s Letter
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 7
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 8
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Going Places
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Safe & Sound: Meeting Security in Today’s World
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 11
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 12
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Be a Leader: The Five Components to Results Management
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Highlights from the 2016 SGMP National Education Conference
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 15
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 16
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Speaker Tips for Savvy Planners
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 18
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 19
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Social Media Channels Increasingly Becoming Event-Centric
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 21
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Thought Leadership
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 23
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 24
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Meet a Member
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - CGMP Corner
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - National Updates
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 28
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 29
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - Advertisers’ Index
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - cover3
Government Connections - Fall 2016 - cover4