November 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio November 2001 Current Issue
November 2001 ChecklistPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:




The following checklist was adapted in part from The Convention Industry Council Manual, 7th Edition, 8201 Greensboro Dr., Suite 300, McLean, Va. 22102; (703) 610-0278;


  • Prepare action plans that take into account various scenarios, such as fires, medical emergencies, unruly demonstrations and bomb threats.
  • Coordinate plans with facility staff, taking into consideration the facility's own emergency action plans.
  • Designate people to take charge of enacting the plan if necessary. Delegate specific responsibilities.
  • Keep a master copy of all attendees' emergency contact information on-site.

  • Is a written emergency fire evacuation and procedure plan in place?
  • Are all hotel employees and facility staff familiar with the plan?
  • Does the plan include meeting and exhibit areas?
  • Exactly what actions are taken when an alarm sounds?
  • Are all guests given notice to evacuate in the event of a fire alarm? If not, what is the procedure?
  • Is there a primary assembly point for evacuees?
  • What is the evacuation plan for guests with physical disabilities or limited mobility?
  • What does the fire alarm sound like? Is it a bell, a horn or some other sound?
  • Do fire alarms alert the local fire department directly?
  • What is the proximity of the fire department and its estimated response time?
  • Is there a paging or telephone system that reaches all occupants simultaneously? Is it functioning?
  • Are all exits clearly marked in hallways, guest rooms and function rooms?
  • Are all exits clearly visible and well-illuminated?
  • Do all exit doors open in the direction of travel?
  • Do exit doors lead directly out of the building?
  • Are all stairwells well lit?
  • Are all stairwells open to ground and roof levels?
  • Are all stairwells enclosed and free from obstruction?
  • Are flammable materials stored or used in stairwells?
  • Do all stairwells have con- tinuous hand rails for those with limited mobility or in the event of obscured visibility?
  • Are alarm switches on each floor?
  • Do meeting rooms have at least two exits relatively far apart from one another?
  • Do sleeping and meeting rooms, service and exposition areas, including hallways and restaurants, have sprinklers and smoke detectors?
  • Are sprinklers and smoke detectors in good condition? When were they last inspected?
  • Is there an emergency lighting system in place? Is it on a separate power system?
  • Are exit signs lit by the emergency power system?
  • In the event of a fire, are elevators automatically locked?
  • Are ventilation systems turned off automatically?
  • Are electrical circuits in sleeping rooms, meeting rooms and exposition areas grounded?
  • Are meeting room and exhibit-area circuits separate?
  • Are the electrical outlets in the bathrooms GFI (ground fault interruption) protected?
  • Can guest room windows be opened? Do any guest rooms have outside ledges or balconies?
  • Do all sleeping and meeting rooms have an emergency evacuation map prominently displayed?
  • Are there fire extinguishers and hoses on each floor? When were they last inspected?
  • How often does the hotel conduct fire drills? When was the last one?
  • When was the facility last inspected for fire safety? Were any violations found? Have they been corrected?
  • Where are the nearest fire hydrants? Ensure that they are accessible and working.
  • What is the fire department's emergency number? (It might not be 911.) Ensure that this number is distributed to all event staff members.
  • What is the emergency number for the facility's security office? Distribute this number to all event staff members.
    Prepare event staff to handle medical emergencies.

  • Survey attendees for information about average age, activity level, existing medical conditions or any disability requirements.
  • Upon reviewing attendee profiles, train meeting staff to recognize potential medical problems.
  • Develop emergency procedures, using specific scenarios, for all meeting staff, including volunteers.
  • Teach event staff members how to recognize problems and respond appropriately.
  • Encourage all staff members to learn CPR and to keep their certifications current.
  • Provide special identification for staff members trained to administer CPR.
  • Designate staff to take responsibility for various emergency scenarios, and provide them with the name and number of the hospital.
  • Evaluate the facility's procedures for medical emergencies.

  • Is a written medical emergency plan in place?
  • When was it last reviewed?
  • How are emergency procedures initiated?
  • Is facility staff familiar with the plan?
  • Is a first-aid station on-site? If so, what are the station's hours of operation? What is the first-aid station equipped with, and how is it staffed?
  • Is a doctor on call 24 hours?
  • Is waitstaff trained to perform the Heimlich maneuver?
  • How are emergency care procedures initiated within the facility?
  • Where is the nearest hospital? What is its name and phone number?
  • Who is responsible for ambulance service? What is the phone number to call for an ambulance?
    Assess the potential for organized protests and consider the following precautions.

  • Hiring a security consultant
  • Briefing the organization's leaders, staff and facility officials
  • Consulting with local police and facility security
  • Hiring additional security

  • File a citizen's complaint.
  • Confer with leadership of protest group.
  • Cordon off an area for protesters; advise attendees of same.
  • Set up a press conference to address the issues, including disruptions or changes in the event schedule.
  • Ask speakers to be available for interviews.
  • Brief staff on the organization's position.
  • Clarify procedures for handling press.
  • Designate specific people who are authorized to respond to press inquires.
    If a bomb threat is received by phone:

  • Record exact time of the call.
  • Record exact words of the caller.
  • Record the facts of the call. Take note of who took the call, the telephone number the call was received at, the date and to what authority the call was initially reported.
  • Ask questions to keep the caller on the line so authorities have time to trace the call. For example: • When will the bomb will explode? • Exactly where has it been placed?• What kind of bomb is it?• What does it look like?• What is the name of the individual or group responsible?• From where is this call being made? • Why is the caller providing this warning?
  • Take note of the caller's voice, including any accent, inflection or lisp.
  • Consider whether the voice sounds familiar.
  • Take note of any background noises.
  • Write down all observations as they occur to you. This will help assist authorities in their investigation.

  • Consider the impact of inclement weather.
  • If transportation is likely to be impeded, consider offering attendees information about alternative transportation methods.
  • Plan for delayed departures and/or arrivals.
  • Inquire about possible union strikes, labor disturbances and resulting staff shortages.
  • Identify a local agency for handling hazardous materials, and distribute the phone number to event staff.
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