There are approximately 1.8 million meetings and events held in the U.S. each year. With a large number of individuals condensed in a single location, companies hosting large-scale galas, conferences or events must keep the safety of attendees top of mind.
Below, we provide four tips to ensure your business event is safe and secure.
1. Identify Venue Security Vulnerabilities
Business event planners must identify all security risks at their venues, and take proper precautions to mitigate potential threats. Address safety hazards by thoroughly evaluating your event venue:
- Estimate your expected headcount, and obey venue restrictions, such as room capacities, to prevent overcrowding.
- Note all entry points, and properly secure all unnecessary entrances to stop uninvited guests from gaining entry.
- Review floor plans, and ensure that there is ample space for individuals to move freely or evacuate, if necessary.
- Take inventory of your current security equipment, and purchase additional equipment if needed.
- Verify parking accommodations with the venue, and pre-plan transportation for guests prior to your event.
- Consider the purpose of your event, and take safety precautions to protect against threats, such as protests, crimes or fires.
- Vet all attendees, and ensure only authorized guests are permitted by distributing identification badges or collecting tickets at the door.
2. Prepare an Emergency Plan
A disorganized evacuation could lead to preventable injuries or property damage. To protect attendees in the case of an emergency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests that businesses prepare emergency plans and take the following safety precautions:
- Clearly mark emergency exits and illuminate escape routes with sufficient lighting.
- Coordinate with emergency service providers to ensure they are readily available at the time of the event and promptly notified if anything goes awry.
- Create unobstructed pathways to exits that are wide enough to accommodate all attendees.
- Designate trained employees to help guide attendees away from hazardous situations to safe areas.
- Install distinctive audible and visual alarms to alert attendees should they need to evacuate the venue.
- Prepare and post maps of the venue layout that direct attendees to the nearest exit.
3. Vet and Train Event Staff
Whether you train individuals or hire private security, planners must ensure they have enough qualified personnel to supervise their events. Security staff must understand all emergency response procedures and attend training, which should include:
- First aid and proper use of emergency equipment.
- Methods for preventing unauthorized access to the venue.
- Potential event threats, hazards and protective actions.
- Individual roles and responsibilities.
- Venue layout and evacuation procedures.
4. Enhance Event Security with Technology
Even at a well-staffed venue, you may be exposed to unforeseen risks at your event. With the right security equipment in place, event planners can create peace of mind and better manage security threats:
- Install monitored audible and visual fire alarms to notify attendees, and promptly dispatch first responders in the case of an emergency.
- Strategically place video surveillance cameras at entrances to monitor who enters the venue and to capture visual evidence of unusual activity, such as loitering, around the perimeter.
- Use access control technology to bar attendees from entering restricted areas and to limit private areas to select authorized personnel.