Meetings Today: Do you have a security/disaster plan in place? And if not, are you or your organization exploring this? What are your opinions on the necessity for security/disaster preparedness and planning?

Gary Schirmacher: Yes, we have a department within Maritz Global Events that works with clients, venues and destinations to make sure that all stakeholders to the event have plans in place including the client, venue, city and have the ability to provide quick and efficient communication with ALL attendees in case of an emergency or issue. We follow what’s happening with EMSSI and those partnerships and how attention to security and safety are good habits for any event to embrace. -- Gary Schirmacher, CMP, Senior Vice president, Industry Presence & Strategic Development, Experient, A Maritz Global events Company, Boulder, Colo.

Liz Whitney: We do not have an official plan in place. We have talked about this and look at ideas and suggestions that make sense for our events. Our largest event has only 425-plus people on peak and most are between 40-150 people. Being smaller gives us more flexibility and ability to react more quickly. But developing a plan is something we need to do. -- Liz Whitney, WLP, International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA), Des Plaines, Ill.

Wendy Sutowski: Yes. One of my value-adds will be to update this plan and keep all parties involved accountable for their specific areas of responsibility. -- Wendy Sutowski, CMP, Director of Events, The American College, King of Prussia, Pa.

Gina E. Allega: We typically don't have specific requirements for bandwidth on most of our programs (a few exceptions). So for a majority of programs, we just get the lowest pricing or try to have the cost waived since we don't use much. -- Gina E. Allega, CMP, Senior Program Manager, Meeting & Event Services North America, BCD Travel, Cleveland

Debbie Kopkau: Yes, from the respect of if the main planner is not available then who is the backup, but not from any natural disaster. Not sure what security threat we would need to worry about. -- Debbie Kopkau, Director of Certification, MBA, CAE, CMP, GMS, Michigan School Business Officials, Lansing, Mich.

Scott Shellman: We’re in the early stages of organizing our security/disaster plan. We’re adding to what we’ve had on-hand in the past as the need for such a plan is more prevalent now than ever. -- Scott Shellman, Principal, Framework Meetings and Destinations, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Geoffrey S. Duncan: Yes, off-site data recovery options and replacement virtual order entry systems (Web-based). -- Geoffrey S. Duncan, Director of Sales & Marketing, Radius Display Products, Dallas

Jack Molisani: We are currently working on one and will have it in place before our next event. I think we’ve always needed one, and perhaps were too busy or too blind to create one. Witness your own article, “NeoCon Death Triggers Lawsuit,” December, 2018. -- Jack Molisani, Executive Director, The LavaCon Conference, Long Beach, Calif.

Don Pietranczyk: Our operations team is responsible for security/disaster planning. -- Don Pietranczyk, Senior Manager, Experiences and Activations, New York City

Diana Bryant: We do not have one in place but this is on my list of tasks for 2019. I haven’t previously seen this as a priority but know that we must have a plan in place – even in small southern towns where we have our conferences, we are not immune to weather emergencies and violence. We do have a special force majeure for our industry added to our contracts because our attendees work for organizations that are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. -- Diana Bryant, Director, Conferences & Meetings, TVPPA (Tennessee Valley Public Power Association), Chattanooga, Tenn.

Kay B. Clark: In a general sense, yes, we review emergency procedures with each venue before we hold an event. We have a tiered communication plan in place with staff. We try to be aware of any public demonstrations or events going on during the same timeframe. We continue attend educational sessions/webinars whenever offered at trade events to keep abreast of new ideas and learn what others are doing. Each event is specific, there is no one way to do it. -- Kay B. Clark, CMP, Director, Meetings & Events, Material Handling Industry, Charlotte, N.C.

Samantha Vogel: Yes. After Las Vegas, we took a long look at our emergency plans and procedures. We consulted experts and made some changes to our plans in early 2018 that we felt took our Duty of Care policies to best in class. Sadly, over the same dates as our Annual Conference in August, the gaming community was tragically targeted during a competition in Jacksonville, Fla. We realized then, even with our overhaul, we weren’t ready. Late in 2018, we sat down again and put into place even more protocols. We’ve realized that we have to be able to bring our emergency plans to life in real time. We have to step up our staff training and really rely on front end policies to mitigate the risks we are facing in the security sector. -- Samantha Vogel, CMP, Sr. Manager, Meetings & Travel, GameStop, Inc., Dallas

Tracy Orpin: I am working with my future sites asking them to have a meeting with my team in advance of each conference on their evacuation plans, safe rooms and overall security measures. I am also building a security/disaster plan for the team (which includes my decorator/AV team/photographer, etc). -- Tracy Orpin, CMP, IAAP, Kansas City, Mo.

Katie K Riggs: Each of our client meetings has their own that is tailored for their event and specific needs. We incorporated these about three years ago and keep adapting them each year. -- Katie K Riggs, CMP, CMM, CAE, HMCC, VP, Client & Conference Services, Raybourn Group Int., Indianapolis

KD O'Neal: Our institution has police and safety department that designs the security/disaster plan; it includes things like active shooter and severe weather. The event team is included in the discussion and planning so that guests at our institution are considered. I feel it's important to discuss our emergency plans with the clients so tailor-made changes are made to suit the event needs. -- KD O'Neal, CMP MBA, Conference & Event Services Manager, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas

Jef Robinson: We have a dedicated professional Global Security team, managing cyber and physical security, with members in all geos. This is absolutely vital, and growing in importance, especially for global organisations. -- Jef Robinson, Global Category Manager–Travel & Meetings, Anonymous, London

Chere L. Brooks: Safety is always at the top of my list. With the increase of mass shootings, I put a lot of energy and planning for any type of emergencies that may arise. My team and I do multiple walk throughs with hotel staff and VIP handlers to ensure we are all on the same page. -- Chere L Brooks, Learning Events Manager, Habitat for Humanity International, Atlanta

Leslie Zeck: We follow the security plan of the venue in which we meet as they have the expertise. We also always get the information for the closest hospital, landline phone numbers and create an internal phone and communication plan in the event we cannot use phones at our meetings. -- Leslie Zeck, CMP, CMM, HMCC, Director of Meetings, International and American Associations for Dental Research, Alexandria, Va.

Megan Martin: Yes we do. Every organization needs to have a plan in place. -- Megan Martin, CMP, MPA, Senior Meeting Manager, National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver