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Crisis Management Not in Planners’ Plans

Disasters, both manmade and natural, just seem to keep rolling in. From hurricanes and other severe weather events to active shooter threats, any large public gathering seems ripe for disaster. Your attendees, staffers and organizations are at risk. So why aren’t you more concerned?

Our 2018 Meetings Today Trends Survey found that an alarming number of meeting planner respondents were not very concerned about security issues and natural disasters (only 31 percent) and a majority didn’t have a written security/natural disaster preparedness plan in place (70 percent).

One respondent, whose company is actively getting prepared, was from a New York City-based corporation.

“Security [at meetings and events] is a huge issue right now and we are in the midst of revising/strengthening a formal policy around how that will look going forward—e.g., number of security personnel per number of attendees, location, etc.—as well as emergency planning, chain of command, etc.,” said the planner, who wished to remain anonymous.

Another respondent, who plans meetings for a university, is enlisting law enforcement to help them prepare.

“Security has become more of an issue,” said Kelly O'Neal, conference and event services manager for the University of Dallas, in Irving, Texas. “Our school has recently hired a law enforcement (armed) staff along with our campus safety officers. Once oriented to the school policies and procedures, the director of the Campus Police Department will be formulating a [more formal security] plan.”

Another was concerned about the issue, and putting the wheels in motion to get on top of it.

“Security has not been an issue for us in the past, but it will be something we look at going forward,” said Betty Ice, vice president, marketing & communications at Health Dimensions Group in Minneapolis. “Given some of the recent [tragedies], security will be an issue on everyone’s mind.”

What’s your take on disaster preparedness and security planning? Check out the 2018 Meetings Today Trends Survey to see more responses on this issue as well as other topics and stats related to the meetings industry.

Meetings Today also hosted two roundtable On Location educational video broadcasts on risk management, filmed at the 2018 PCMA Convening Leaders conference and the 2017 MPI WEC conference.

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About the author
Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.