The devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian is a reminder to all meeting planners to establish crisis management operating procedures. When an emergency strikes, whether big or small; a clear and concise emergency plan is needed. A professional and organized response to any crisis will help ensure the safety of you, your team and your attendees.
Preparing for an emergency can begin as soon as contract negotiations are underway. Include a comprehensive force majeure clause providing performance relief due to unforeseeable circumstances. Next, ensure the event’s insurance coverage is adequate. Add coverage as needed to include sponsorship and registration income as well. Once these precautionary efforts are enacted, taking the time to create a formal written document that outlines emergency procedures is paramount. Sharing the details with all stakeholders will enable quick and concise action if disaster strikes.
In the event of an emergency, communication is key. Ensure messaging is uniform across all channels inclusive of social media and registration. After all, the plan is to ease anxieties and shouldn’t create additional havoc by dissemination of conflicting information.
Enlist the help of your hotel and destination partners along the way. In an emergency, all industry partners are in it together. The hotel will share fire and weapons threat procedures along with emergency exit diagrams, shelter units, secure radio lines and internal emergency response team engagement (if any). Conversely, share your organization’s plan and expectations as early as possible. Again, open lines of communication go a long way to minimizing chaos. Don’t forget to loop in your local vendor partners as well.
As an event organizer, it is your duty of care to ensure adequate emergency preparedness measures are in place. Draft a plan that meets your organization’s needs and is scalable based on event size. Once in place, be sure to review before each event tailoring it as needed.