Safety first

Getting ready for a new year of events includes taking a good, hard look at your current procedures. Are they up to date? Can you improve them somehow? And if you think of improving them in 2019, I have a few tips for you in this blog post.

Do you know where the emergency exits are?

Gathering a lot of people poses a risk and an increased possibility of something unexpected happening: One of your guests can get a heart attack and you as a meeting planner should know who to turn to if you don’t know CPR or know how to use a defibrillator.

When you coordinate your event with the venue, do you remember to ask them which of their employees are trained in CPR and where the nearest hospital is? And where the defibrillator, first aid kit and emergency exits are?

I’ve been a meeting planner for many years now, and fortunately, I have only had to use these things a few times, but you only need one emergency to know that having this information can make the difference. I always ask for this information, just as I always brief my staff before the event.

What if all the VIP’s are stuck in traffic?

Transportation is another thing we as meeting planners must consider. Are all the people who are important for the meeting and its execution driving to the venue in the same car? And if so: Is that particularly smart?

Because what do you do if the car is involved in an accident on the way to the conference? What if you have 200 guests waiting who can’t get what they paid for. You might have some colleagues who can take over and run the conference, but can they reach the venue in time, and do they know exactly what needs to be done so that they can get everything done in a way that pleases the participants?

Most people will, of course, show great understanding that an accident has occurred and that some changes to the plans have been made, but there is no reason to test this understanding. In fact, many companies don’t let their management team travel on the same plane – and that is not just for fun!

Is teambuilding dangerous?

In general, team building is not dangerous, but we meeting planners need to be aware of the risks. For example, if you often plan activities such as kayaking, ziplining or segway driving you need to pay attention to safety. In these cases, you should have emergency plans ready in case a participant falls into the water, or off the zipline or segway.

I have previously been a party po..er and refused to let a group of 40 people sail the harbors of Copenhagen in small boats of 4 people because of the safety issue. In the US you had solved this by having the participants sign a waiver, but we simply didn’t have time to organize this (and it is not that common in Denmark anyway).

The transportation issue, however, was solved by having all the guests on board a canal tours boat with a professional captain.

Safety planning is part of event planning

Meeting planners spend hours and hours on planning every little detail of our event. Everything is thought through when it comes to the food, the program, speakers, décor etc., but most meeting planners don’t spend much time planning for safety.

So, if you are planning for the new year, I recommend you include safety planning for your events. It is not the most fun or exciting issue to address, but in the end,  it’s about doing as the boy scouts: Be prepared!

How prepared are you?

 

PS: I haven’t included steps to (try to) prevent acts of terrorism. I think we are all very aware of the risks in this regard, but I am pretty sure we could all do more on the smaller scale. And the risk of a car accident is quite higher than that of a terror attack.

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