Fortunately, most meetings, conference and corporate events take place without serious emergencies arising.
Even so, it's important for event planners to have strategies in place to deal with emergency situations whether they involve accidents, illnesses, severe weather, or fire.
Some emergency situations are outside the control of event planners so it's important to keep this in mind when formulating plans. The following steps may seem like overkill but, if an emergency does arise, the event team will be prepared and situations can be handled more effectively. Make a habit of reviewing these steps from time to time.
- Be sure to obtain emergency contacts for all attendees including emails and phone numbers.
- Citizenship information for all members of the group is important to collect.
In the event of a severe emergency or weather related disruptions that require assistance from consulates, this information can be provided quickly and easily.
- At some destinations, hotels make a copy of the page of the passport with identifying information and vital statistics.
If a group is traveling to a high risk area, it may be a good idea to adopt this practice and keep the information handy.
- It goes without saying that information about allergies, medical conditions and physical disabilities is also important to collect both as a preventative measure and so that attendees can get assistance without delay.
Occasionally, a client will express concerns about providing information of a personal or sensitive nature. In these instances, the documents can be provided in a sealed envelope marked "Personal and Confidential" and with each attendee's name on the outside.
These can be retained by a designated member of the client organization if there is discomfort with giving the information to the event planner. The documents can be returned to attendees or destroyed at the end of the event.
- In case of serious delays or accidents, it's never a good idea to have the entire executive team travel on the same flight.
- Keep first aid kits, emergency supply kits, and cold remedy kits on-hand to be prepared for any eventuality.
Meetings and Conferences
Follow these best practices:
- Review emergency procedures with your team before all events.
- Be sure the event team knows the location of the nearest clinic and senior members of the team have access to the emergency numbers for fire, police and hospitals.
- At the beginning of events, meetings or conferences, take a few minutes to review emergency procedures with attendees and identify the nearest fire exits.
(This practice is rarely followed for meetings, events and conferences.)
- Keep booze in balance to avoid alcohol related mishaps.
Outdoor Activities/Off the Beaten Track
- When going off the beaten track or participate in a high risk physical activity, always have first aiders and a doctor or nurse present.
- For some itineraries, it may be important to file the groups itinerary and contact information with local emergency personnel.
Also consult Goofproofing Spring and Summer Events, Health Care for Corporate Events: Covering All Bases, Preparing for Unexpected Winter Weather, When Snow Hits Your Event - Part II, and When It Pours: 9 Event Planning Lessons From Toronto.
Photo Credit: Dwayne Bent