Security is a factor for any event - it’s the reality of our society today. As an event planner, it is your job to do everything you can to make sure your conference is safe for anyone attending.
- Ask your venue about security measures. Most venues offer security in some way, either with their own staff or with suggestions for security companies in the area that they employ. Check out these suggestions diligently and include the hiring of security in your conference budget.
- Ask your VIPs and keynote speaker if they are bringing their own security detail or if they expect you to provide security. In these cases, communication between the security of the VIP and the security of the event must be clear and concise.
- Use an event registration system, such as Eventleaf (Online Event Registration | Jolly Eventleaf™) that offers security features, such as attendee screening against a criminal list or other watch lists. Print secure and hard-to-reproduce event badges. Tighter security can be achieved by developing a system that can control access at various point, not just the main entrance.
- Inform your conferees about security measures and provide a contingency plan. The security section of your packet should provide emergency service numbers, local alert signal information, and general safety information about the area. Provide a map with fire exits and access paths. List emergency procedures.
- Plan an event walk-through. Visualizing the exact path your guests will navigate can really open your eyes to potential problems. Host a walk-through with staff members a couple weeks before your event begins. With this, you literally want to park your car and walk through your venue as your conference attendants will. Be on the watch for potential safety and security hazards as you do this, and don’t forget to consider everything from the perception of attendees, VIPs, and guest speakers. What are the potential issues they will face while attending the occasion?
- Make sure that your site or building is safe. All temporary structures must be secure. If need be, hire someone who can assess structural safety.
- One of the most important, but often overlooked, components of conference security and site protection is the after action review. These reviews are held after the completion of a conference, meeting, or event and should be attended by all of the event organizers. One of the major benefits of these reviews is that they can be used to discuss challenges and target areas for future improvement. Furthermore, these reviews can also be used to assess the impact of possible security breaches. For example, during an after action review event organizers may report incidents such as suspicious behavior, the loss of sensitive material, or access to an unauthorized area. During the review, these issues can be fleshed out in detail as a group and follow on plans developed.
Depending on how large your conference is, ensure the proper security details are taken care of by having a security manager that reports to you directly. Do what needs to be done in order for the conference to be a huge and safe success.