Last week’s Boston Marathon bombings provide a good reminder that organizations should ensure that their meeting and event emergency plans are comprehensive and updated each year. Although planners cannot anticipate all possible occurrences, a good plan ensures that staff and attendees clearly understand what to do in many emergency situations.
Some key components of a thorough plan include:
- Identification of the risk management team and their roles
- Procedures for response to possible hazards such as:
- Hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake
- Bomb or terrorism threat
- Strikes, boycotts, or picketing
- Medical emergency
- Technological events such as utility outage or computer crashes on site
- A communications plan. How will emergencies be addressed both internally and externally?
- What will be the role of the home office?
- Hotel/venue security information
- Facility and hotel emergency plans and emergency contact information
- Staff and attendee emergency contact information
- Procedures for accounting for attendees and staff
- Explanation and notification of evacuation procedures and escape routes
- Local hospital and 24-hour pharmacy information
Planners should customize their emergency plan so that it is suitable for their organization and meeting or event. It is vital that the plan is updated and distributed yearly and that staff is trained so that they can act quickly.
Detailed information about risk assessment and the preparation of emergency plans is available in PCMA’s publication Professional Meeting Management
. See also 6 Ways to Prepare for an Event Emergency
and other online resources.