Association Leadership - January/February 2016 - (Page 25)

M E ET I NG S Safe & Sound: Meeting Security in Today's World By Tyra W. Hilliard, Ph.D., J.D., CMP ccording to Meetings & Conventions' Global Planner (2013), terrorism is the most pressing concern among meeting professionals who plan global meetings. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control, terrorism accounts for less than 2 percent of the deaths of U.S. travelers in foreign countries. The big killer? Road traffic. Which goes to show you- sometimes it's not the big things you need to worry about; it's the little things. Safety and security is very much this way. Certainly if you are going to a country with political unrest, you have big security concerns. If you are holding a meeting in the midst of an Ebola outbreak, you have serious safety issues. But for the average meeting in the average place, you have average safety and security issues. Instead of worrying about having a slick, perfect-bound Crisis Preparedness Plan with 150 alphabetized tabs, an elaborate phone tree, 27 8×10 glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, 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 meeting planning 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 a kidnapping attempt. * Location of the nearest hospital and 24-hour emergency dental clinic. * How many security personnel are scheduled on property for each shift 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 over which an emergency announcement will be made following an alarm and, if so, whether it can be heard in guest rooms and 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 address while you already have everyone sitting around the table: LOSS PREVENTION * 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, Read the digital version at 25

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Association Leadership - January/February 2016

Communicating on Common Ground
Focus Pocus: The Magic of Single-Mindedness
Connect Texas Recap
Safe & Sound: Meeting Security in Today’s World

Association Leadership - January/February 2016