Meeting Professionals International (MPI) announced it will publish “The Essential Guide to Safety and Security: Best Practices for Meeting and Event Planning 2018” by the end of June 2018.

In addition, the association will develop education, research reports and case studies based on the guide’s recommended practices, with launch plans slated for later this year and in 2019.

The announcement was made by MPI during its 2018 World Education Congress (WEC).

The new guide includes nearly 400 best practices to help meeting and event planners identify vulnerabilities, mitigate risks and protect critical assets, and is designed to serve as a reference tool for developing safety and security plans and procedures. It covers a variety of topics from handling unattended packages and safely managing crowds to recovering from a vehicular attack and securing event data.

All the best practices were evaluated by leading industry experts.

“Duty of care for attendees is an important responsibility of planners, and as the largest industry association focused on the development of event professionals, MPI is working to provide the best education and tools to assist meeting planners and event organizers elevate their capabilities around duty of care,” said Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI. “Our new safety and security best practices guide is the first of its kind for our industry. We believe it will become a critical resource and plan to review, refine and update the best practices every year so that the guide remains timely and relevant.”

Following is a sampling of advice from the guide.

  • If your event website has a "look who's coming" area, list by companies only to avoid room block poachers, phishing scams and potential stalkers from targeting your attendees.
  • While people are waiting for events to begin, AV teams can show videos or slides instructing attendees about emergency procedures.
  • Ensure the security of laptops, mobile phones and other devices by avoiding USB ports, which are easily infected by malware.
  • Test your emergency action and incident response plans before you get on-site. Formats can be scaled from one-hour orientations to full-scale drills depending on your team, resources and situational needs. Keep digital records of any drills and exercises run for a minimum of five years. Good records can help reduce legal liability.
  • Conduct an “After Action Review” within 48 hours of your event to go over any incidents that occurred. Discuss what happened, why and how improvements could be made. Appoint a scribe to capture and document the information while it is fresh in everyone's minds. Gather input from all staff levels. Use the review findings to make recommendations to improve existing plans.

The development of this guide is part of the association’s effort to increase safety, security and risk management education and resources for MPI members and the industry.

In June 2017, MPI announced its collaboration with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi to develop educational programming and resources.

The first program developed was the MPI Academy’s Emergency Preparedness for Meetings and Events Certificate Course, which debuted at WEC 2017 in Las Vegas.

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The association also shared that it was working with NCS4 on a five-year, pan-industry initiative to create the first global gold standards for meeting and event planning safety and security, and the first step entailed hosting its inaugural Risk Management Conclave during the MPI Thought Leaders Summit in October 2017.

During the conclave, best practices were discussed and collected for the new guide.

“The MPI best practices guide is intended to assist event management teams, in conjunction with public safety agencies, in developing, implementing and improving their safety and security plans and procedures,” explained Louis Marciani, executive director of NCS4.

For more information and to access MPI’s “The Essential Guide to Safety and Security: Best Practices for Meeting and Event Planning 2018,” visit MPI.org/safety-and-security.

The guide is complimentary for all MPI members, and non-members can purchase it for $49.

Read more thoughts from MPI President and CEO Paul VanDeventer on the "brand-new" WEC and meetings industry hot topics—such as safety and security—​in our exclusive Q&A conducted by Lori Tenny.