Monday, October 1, 2018

Is Your Venue Safe?

The world is changing and so must meeting planners. If the past year has been any indication, no place is exempt from risk. Think beyond terrorism. Think about hurricanes, volcanoes, shooters, and military coups — anything that puts your attendees at risk. Today, meetings and events come with a specific set of risks. The factors in determining hotel safety alone are numerous.

The big question you should be asking your meeting planner: Have you assessed the venue from a risk standpoint?

Your planner should conduct proper due diligence when sourcing a location and venue. Then they should develop a customized risk assessment questionnaire to be completed by the venue ahead of contract signature.

The top 8 factors in determining venue safety are:

1. Hard-wired smoke detectors.
These are more reliable as they are connected to a power supply and will sound indefinitely until turned off. They have battery backups to ensure they continue in the event the power supply is cut.

2. Adequate emergency lighting.
Does the venue have a generator? Does it auto turn on? You certainly don’t want attendees using their cell phone lights in the dark!

3. Locking devices on windows and doors.
Do the windows and doors open outward? If so they can be difficult to barricade. Does the venue have active-shooter denial devices? If not, will they add and train staff to use?

4. Emergency operations plan.
The venue should have a plan for all types of hazards — fire, hurricane, earthquake, terrorism. The plan should among many things, clearly marked evacuation routes, and the locations of fire extinguishers. Ask them to share their plan.

5. Readily available AEDs, and a list of staff trained in first aid and CPR.
You’d be shocked at the number of hotels that respond with “no first aid/CPR training.” I recently received the response, “We usually just call 911 and they arrive pretty quick.” (Scary.)

6. Security training.
Who on staff is trained to recognize threats? Will those people be onsite for your event? Who is the go-to person to report suspicious activity?

7. Food terrorism.Does the kitchen have procedures to combat food terrorism? What’s their procedure for vetting kitchen staff and food?

8. Recent threats?
This should be the first thing you ask — have there been any recent (and define recent) threats to the venue?

Bottom line: work with an experienced planner. If you need assistance assessing the safety and risk preparedness of a venue, andgreat can help! We invite you to contact us today.

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