PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 14

continued from page 11


By Lawan McFerren



IN A TIME of terrorist attacks and natural disasters, all venues big
and small that accommodate meetings and events must have some sort of
emergency plan in place. As a planner for a large university in an urban
setting, I rely upon my university's Safety & Security Department for guidance.
This summer, my department met with one of the safety officers to discuss
emergency evacuations and how to handle an active shooter case. The key is
pre-planning, which entails notifying the department of the planned event
and all of the relevant logistics including date, time, location, number of
students, faculty and staff attending, etc. An important element in my case
is alcohol. If alcohol will be served, an officer has to be onsite to prevent
underage drinking.
But what I had not thought about - that we addressed in the meeting - is
what happens if there is an active shooter on campus or an emergency at one
of the Metro stations? Having an officer onsite does not address a larger scale
event that would likely affect the entire campus and surrounding city. We then
must rely on our campus alert system to notify us of the emergency and what
further action should be taken.
As a planner at a venue, having a Safety & Security Department is just the
first step. The second step is getting to know the protocols and processes
the department already has in place. In the training, we were given specific
instructions on how to notify the department of a potential threat and in turn
how they notify us. The third step is establishing a relationship with the
assigned safety officer so that in an emergency there is some familiarity. I've
spoken with my safety officer, Mike, several times since our initial meeting
so that now if I have a concern about an upcoming event, I feel comfortable
calling or emailing him for his advice.
We all know the old adage "fail to plan, plan to fail," but in the case of
emergency preparedness it rings true. You must have a plan and you must be
familiar enough with it that you can execute it in the midst of an emergency.
Before finalizing an agreement with a venue, get the name and contact
information of at least one key individual who will be responsible for
implementing emergency procedures during your event.
Lawan McFerren is Manager, Employer Programs at the F. David Fowler Career
Center at The George Washington University School of Business. She can be
reached at




in one of their facilities in the venue
location just before the event occurs.
This could become a crisis if the impact
on the local economy or other issues
hasn't been considered and planned
for. Any of these situations could cause
increased media attention and resulting
loss of confidence or credibility if
things are not brought under control.

Once a crisis occurs, you could have
as few as 30 minutes - but certainly
no more than 24 hours - to respond
in order to gain control of the flow of
information. Realistically, the amount of
time will depend on the type and extent
of the crisis, but there won't be much
time, no matter what. If your plan is in
place and up-to-date, you'll probably
be able to get a basic assessment of the
situation and prepare a statement in an
hour or less.
Pull out the crisis communications
plan and assemble the crisis team. Put
your spokespersons on notice that their
job is about to begin. Assess the crisis
and define the problem. Is this crisis
one of the potentials identified in the
planning process? If so, a lot of your
work is done. If not, you'll need to see
what is usable from what you have and
what additional information you have to
gather. Whoever has the responsibility
should start by obtaining as many facts
as possible and validating information
as thoroughly as is feasible. Determine
the specifics - time, date, place, extent
of crisis, injuries/deaths, and anything
else you can find out. What do you
know for sure and what is speculation?
Combine this new information with any
background information you have on
file to complete the picture. Now you're
ready to communicate. ■
Bob Mellinger is the president and CEO
of Phoenix, AZ-based Attainium Corp.
For more information about tabletop
exercises, drills, and The Disaster
Experience, contact Attainium Corp.
at 571-248-8200 or,
or visit the Attainium website at http://www.ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/IJEAB

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018

President’s Message
A Planned Approach to Event Crisis Communications
Leading in a Crisis
How to Push Emergency Messaging through the App
Venue Participation is Key to the Emergency Plan
How to Leverage Your Speakers During a Crisis
MACE! 2018: What to Know Before You Go
Destination Spotlight
Welcome, New Members!
Members on the Move
Index of Advertisers
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - intro
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - cover1
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - cover2
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 3
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 4
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 5
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 6
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - President’s Message
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - A Planned Approach to Event Crisis Communications
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - Leading in a Crisis
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 10
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - How to Push Emergency Messaging through the App
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 12
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 13
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - Venue Participation is Key to the Emergency Plan
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - How to Leverage Your Speakers During a Crisis
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - MACE! 2018: What to Know Before You Go
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 17
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - Destination Spotlight
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - Welcome, New Members!
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - Members on the Move
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - 21
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - Index of Advertisers
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - cover3
PMPI Engage - Winter/Spring 2018 - cover4