by Sarah F.J. Braley | June 05, 2018

Meeting Professionals International will publish "The Essential Guide to Safety and Security: Best Practices for Meeting and Event Planning 2018" by the end of this June. The association also is developing education, research and case studies based on the guide's recommended practices, which will be presented later this year and through 2019.

Nearly 400 best practices have been compiled to help planners identify vulnerabilities, mitigate risks and protect critical assets at their events, and to help them develop solid safety and security plans and procedures. The topics range from handling unattended packages and safely managing crowds to recovering from a vehicular attack and securing event data.

"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."

Some insights from the guide:

  • If your event website has a "look who's coming" area, list people by company only to avoid room-block poachers, phishing scams and potential stalkers from targeting your attendees
  • While waiting for events to begin, A/V teams can show videos or slides instructing attendees about emergency procedures
  • 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 that you 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 ongoing effort to increase safety, security and risk-management education and resources for MPI members and the industry. Last year, MPI began a collaboration with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi to develop educational programming and resources, which led to the development of the MPI Academy's Emergency Preparedness for Meetings and Events Certificate Course, which debuted at WEC 2017.
 
The association also is working with NCS4 on a five-year, pan-industry initiative to create the first global gold standards for event planning safety and security, begun with the 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.
 
"The Essential Guide to Safety and Security: Best Practices for Meeting and Event Planning 2018" is free for MPI members and $49 for nonmembers.