Government Connections - Winter 2010 - (Page 35)

Are You Planning to Fail? By Lynette I. Schick, CMP EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IS a continuous process by which all individuals, groups and communities prepare in order to avoid and reduce the impact of disasters once they occur. What’s the saying? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. When we think about disasters, we usually think of weatherrelated events and, more often than not, we rely on others to plan for us. I’m as guilty as the next person, and I am striving to do better because I can’t really call myself a meeting professional if I neglect a component that could mean life or death to one or more of my attendees. If that thought scares you, it should! Preparing for a meeting disaster is often neglected over planning meeting logistics, registration and programming. Meeting emergencies can take many forms. According to a 2006 survey conducted by the Professional Conference Management Association,1 the 400 respondents ranked these as having the greatest potential (in descending order) for on-site crises: • Fire • Structural damage • Bomb threat • Accidents/fatalities • Employee strike • Terrorist attack • Biological hazard • Shooting • Workplace violence • Natural disaster • Protests • Lockdown Unfortunately, that same survey uncovered how woefully unprepared the meetings industry is to handle any crisis. Of the 400 respondents2: • 39.3 percent felt prepared • 37.8 percent - felt not very prepared • 41.5 percent actually have a plan in place • 49.3 percent reported their organization does not have a crisis management team • 47.7 percent said their plans were updated once a year Where do you fall? If you are one of the more than 50 percent who are not or not very prepared, there are steps you can take for each of your meetings to improve your odds should something occur during your event: build emergency preparedness into your RFP;and build an emergency plan. There are several steps involved with establishing a working emergency plan, and many resources to help you. To get you started with your RFP, these are some of the security/emergency questions you can add to your list of requested information. These items can be used as selection criteria and should rank high on your list when making your decision on a site. The answers to these questions should be added to your onsite program book for reference during your event. A review of these items should also be added to your pre-con meetings. • Does the hotel have 24/7 security? • What are the details of the security procedures in the hotel; number of staff on duty, etc? • How do we reach the security department? • What is the emergency extension? • Who responds to emergencies? • Wh at are t he hotel ’s f ire safet y a nd mon itor i ng procedures? • Are the CPR-certified staff available at all times? • Is oxygen available? Where is it located? • Are wheelchairs available? • Does the hotel have a doctor on call? • Does the hotel have an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) on property? • How far is the closest fire department? What is the approximate response time? • How far is the closest police department? What is the approximate response time? • How far away is the closest hospital? • Where can guests find information on crime statistics in the area? (i.e., is the hotel located in a safe area?) Meeting planners should also research this during site inspections. • How are guests notified of an emergency evacuation? • Is there a dedicated evacuation area for all guests? • Does the hotel have designated “floor wardens” to direct guests to proper emergency exits? • Are there any specific instructions for exiting the premises that guests need to be aware of? • When was the last fire inspection? • Were there any deficiencies and if so, what were they? Don’t let another day go by without taking a step toward planning for the safety and security of your attendees. G 1&2 Crisis Planning For the Meeting Planning and Convention Industry Summary Report, Russell Miller, PCMA 35

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

Government Connections - Winter 2010
Table of Contents
President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going Places
Education Edge
That’s Technology
Supplier Strategy
Plan Green
Travel Tips and Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
The Per Diem Pendulum
Contact Sport vs. Meeting Professionals
Raining Cats & Dogs
Are You Planning to Fail?
7 Deadly Sins of Small Meetings
Meeting Follow-Up is Key to Success
SGMP Nation
Membership News
Conference Connection
Advertisers’ Index
The Meeting Minute

Government Connections - Winter 2010