As a meeting organizer, you are asked to coordinate a mountain of logistics with the expectation of producing an event that is pleasing and meaningful to attendees, sponsors, board members and other stakeholders. To deliver such an event requires considerable attention to detail and a high level of coordination and communication between your team members and vendors. As you begin building your plans, one of your responsibilities is the creation of a comprehensive emergency response plan should the unthinkable occur.

What To Consider First

You will find it helpful to start the planning process by first considering situations and events that are most likely to occur given where in the world the event is being held and build your plan around the scenarios with the greatest potential to happen and have the highest risk. Some pertinent things to consider when formulating a plan include: where are the closest emergency services, what are the typical weather patterns for that time of year, what is the local political climate, and what other events are happening in the area that may pose an impact? Best practice in this area tells us to make emergency response plans specific to the things that are most likely to occur where the event is being held.

An Example

I recently traveled to an event in coastal California. I typically walk the hotel grounds right away to familiarize myself with the property. During my exploratory walk, I noted tsunami warning signs strategically placed along the beach paths as well as the around hotel complex. I found myself considering the possibility of an earthquake occurring and the potential for a tsunami during my stay. Several questions quickly came to mind: Where would I go to find safety and shelter in an unfamiliar city and how would I get there in a hurry? What items would be essential to take with me during an evacuation? What was the communication protocol for my team? In this case, being so close to a beach, the answers to these questions could be vital to the overall safety of attendees. At the property, I was not concerned with tornado procedures or the airport being snowed in and preventing my team from getting home. Although anything is possible, those events were less likely to occur than an earthquake or tsunami so I stayed focused on the most likely dangers which holds true for anyone when putting a plan together.

Once you have compiled a short list of potential scenarios, you can start developing your plan by coordinating your efforts with the venue and their security teams as well as local emergency services personnel. Possible scenarios to consider:

  • Natural Disasters
  • Terrorist/Bomb Threat
  • Medical Emergency
  • Fire
  • Severe Weather
  • Socially Charged Gatherings/Demonstrations

To Aid You In the Process

MeetGreen has put together several helpful resources. If you are looking for a tool that will help outline a plan and provide a short list of essential plan components including: pre-planning protocol, onsite emergency response procedures, and critical documents and forms to have during an event, MeetGreen’s Emergency Response Template is available for free on the MeetGreen website at: MeetGreen also recently expanded our emergency response planning service to include an array of fee- based options including:

  • Mentorship Support: MeetGreen provides assistance in writing an Emergency Response Plan
  • Staff Training: MeetGreen conducts an in-person or virtual training to prepare your team
  • Full Emergency Response Plan: MeetGreen develops your plan for your staff to implement
  • Onsite Emergency Response Plan Implementation: Our team is there to implement the specifics of the plan

Regardless of where you are at in your planning process, MeetGreen wants you to know that you are not alone and we are here to help make your events a safe place for all. For more information, please visit our Emergency Response Planning Services or contact Della Green directly.