Government Connections - Spring 2010 - (Page 25)

Event Security Tips Keeping Guests and VIPs Safe By Charles Sadler, CGMP, CHSP, CHSC WE WERE ALL shaking our heads at the news of the security breach at a White House gathering in December. That’s a position you never want to fi nd yourself in when you are responsible for safety and security at a meeting or event. Making an event safe and secure isn’t just a matter of placing some burly men in dark suits at the front door. So, we spoke with experts in the event security industry to find out what sorts of changes event and meeting planners should be prepared for, and what they can do to make their events safe and secure—and stay out of the media spotlight! DON’T OVERREACT Just because you’re having an event doesn’t mean you should call the National Guard. Striking the right balance between providing enough security and still allowing guests to feel comfortable is key. Ask yourself what you can do reasonably and appropriately. The likeliness of a terrorist targeting an informal event at a meeting or event is significantly less than a gala event where the president is the guest of honor. If it is a high-profile event, the highest security measures simply start with not publicly disclosing the location of the event. ALLOCATE SECURITY FUNDING FOR MEETINGS AND EVENTS Security used to be the last thing on people’s minds, and the first thing to get cut when there were budgetary restrictions. You should never compromise safety for a budget. Contracting a security firm for your event (or accessing government or agency security) is one of the first things you should do, because their work starts early. They often need to do advance work to inspect the location and meet with the venue’s on-site security team. Future high-profile events will most likely include metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs and X-ray machines, all of which require advance notice and preparation. CHOOSE A RESPONSIBLE VENUE When selecting a location, create a checklist of questions the venue’s staff should be able to answer. A few topics: evacuation plans in case of an emergency, the location of all emergency exits, access for paramedics and contingency plans in case of bomb threats or power outages. These questions are especially important if it’s a high-profile venue. TELL GUESTS WHAT TO EXPECT For especially high-profile events, warn guests ahead of time, even on the invitation, that any bags or briefcases will be searched or passed through an X-ray machine. Tell them to expect similar procedures as if they were going to the airport. Suggest they arrive early and warn guests of a cut-off time for late arrivals. In other words, “Don’t be fashionably late.” If they’re late, they don’t get in.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Spring 2010

Government Connections - Spring 2010
President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Go Figure
Going Places
Education Edge
That’s Technology
Travel Tips and Trends
Supplier Strategy
Plan Green
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
Event Security Tips
Unconference 101
Ethics are Elementary
In Memoriam
SGMP Nation
Membership News
Conference Connection
Advertisers’ Index
The Meeting Minute

Government Connections - Spring 2010