Convention centers are honing in on security to address today's ever-changing global environment.
Not all gatherings at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center (MBCC) require Military Police, local police, or federal agency support like those of the Marine Balls and election-related events that took place there this year. But for meetings and events across all industries, conversations about safety and security have become customary-and increasingly complex.
"There seems to be more awareness for a potential incident by groups using the convention center," says Paul T. Edwards, general manager for the MBCC-which has a newly installed upgraded camera security system that doubled the number of cameras; features new 360-degree movement, pan, and zoom capabilities; and has a higher sound quality. The cost of the system was just under fifty thousand dollars, but the investment may prove invaluable. Planners have praised the MBCC, says Edwards, for "staying current with our efforts to make the facility a safe environment for their event."
The Myrtle Beach Convention Center is proactive in elevating event security by investing in an improved security camera system.
Across the country, meeting venues are taking similarly proactive steps to ensure the safety of their groups-setting up bag checkpoints, conducting more frequent safety inspections, and doing floor sweeps before the start of an event, for example.
At the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), where new high-tech camera technology has also been installed, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducted a facility vulnerability assessment. There are new photo identification policies in place for LVCC staffers, and the size of its security team and K9 unit have increased. Many team members have participated in an active shooter certification program. "It is vital to make sure our guests are safe, secure, and comfortable," says Ray Suppe, the LVCC's executive director of customer safety.
But the onus of security does not fall entirely on the host facility: Planners, too, need to take a seat at the safety table, particularly when their events feature high-profile speakers, controversial program topics, or are open to the general public. "They should always make security a part of their budget," says Edwards. "It also helps to reduce their liability should something take place."
Suppe encourages planners to sit down for a "Crisis Team Meeting" with key LVCC personnel, law enforcement agencies, and any third-party security suppliers prior to the start of an event. A custom-designed Emergency Operations Plan template helps planners without a plan fill in any security-related blanks.
Open communication regarding emergency plans has earned the MBCC praise from planners.
That detailed exchange of information-from both sides-ensures that all necessary precautions are put in place and that venues and planners are on the same page. "Everyone always thinks it won't happen here or to them," says Edwards-but, nevertheless, people are on higher alert these days." He says that more planners are requesting information on the MBCC emergency and evacuation plans, for example. "We have always had these plans in place internally, but now we are sharing them with our clients."
Learn more here about hosting your next important event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.