7 Tips for Keeping Events Safe & Secure
Conference and event security is one of the biggest trends for 2017. Current geopolitical factors demand increased focus on securing the safety of your attendees. See how you can better prepare for the unexpected.
Assess your Risk
Prior to your event, it's critical to assess areas of risk. At minimum, you should review the venue's emergency procedures and fire exits, determine if the venue and event personnel have emergency procedures training, assess how easily the general public can gain access, ensure there are actively monitored security cameras, locate fire exits and ensure ease of access for emergency personnel. If you have the budget, there are companies that specialize in this type of risk assessment.
Know your Exit Strategy
During site visits and initial planning, it's worth identifying exit routes and locations where large crowds can be evacuated. These may or may not be the same as your standard evacuation routes. Forward evacuation onto a sports field is one example of where an alternative plan is required. This critical feature of a major incident plan should be reviewed in slow time to ensure successful execution during a live incident.
Get the Low-Down on Lock-Downs
Consider ways to lock-down specific areas of an event should an incident occur. Security threats depend on continuous access to large crowds. By segmenting and denying large-scale access, attacks may be thwarted or easily contained. Ideally, these measures should be tested as part of a multi-agency tabletop exercise before the event. Also, remember that a major incident may require a significant presence of emergency service personnel – plus their vehicles and equipment. It's helpful to identify a suitable rendezvous point for these incident commanders.
Embrace Best Practices
Learn from other incidents, the actions they took and the success of those actions. From bag inspections and metal detectors to security cameras and checkpoints – do your homework on security methods that work. And don't limit your research to domestic events. Some of the most innovative security and crowd-control measures are being implemented in international venues. You can also incorporate best practices from airports, nightclubs and sports venues. Following the recent Orlando nightclub attack and this summer's Dallas police officer shootings, police departments and security teams have learned a great deal about large crowd control and anticipating the myriad scenarios that could present themselves.
Know When to Hire the Pros
For some events, an experienced security detail is a must. Large scale meetings and conferences with multiple access points, significant attendance and/or those being held in sensitive destinations require the leadership and coordination of professional security teams. The best plans are worthless without the right people implementing them. When planning a large event in Dallas, companies like Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC) can seamlessly support all of your security, entrance management, and protection needs.
Ensure your Staff is Well Trained
During your pre-event planning, ensure your event and hotel staff are familiar with emergency procedures – don't just assume that the venue has properly trained them. They need to know how to spot suspicious-looking packages and individuals, who to contact in an emergency and how to communicate and manage the crowd in case of emergencies. Make sure everyone working the event is clear on the procedures and what happens if the worst comes to pass.
Prepare your Attendees
If unique security procedures are required, it is important to communicate this to attendees before the event. Give them a heads up of what to expect on arrival, including tips on how to best prepare. More and more, metal detectors, bag searches, security dogs and frisking are becoming the norm for large business meetings, conferences and trade shows. Plan accordingly, and ensure exceptional communication before and during your event.
For more information on these resources and planning your next meeting or event in Dallas, TX, visit www.visitdallas.com/meeting-planners or call our planning partners at 800-232-5527.