Emergency Event Plan
Today’s blog topic is a serious one and a topic that you would probably prefer to avoid. Unfortunately, in today’s world, we can’t avoid the need to have an Event Emergency Plan (EEP). You and your staff must know what to do if a fire breaks out, an active shooter is reported, or a medical emergency happens. While it is something nobody wants to happen it is much better to have the knowledge to act in these situations. You need to have a concise, written plan that you share and discuss with your staff.
The first thing that you should do when creating your EEP is creating a snapshot of the event. This should include the date, time, attendees, number of staff and any additional pertinent information. This can be shared with emergency personnel if you ever have an event and will be much easier to have a basic cheat sheet then trying to remember everything during a time of crisis.
The next step is to coordinate with your venue and see if they have an EEP already. If they do you can align your plan to theirs and come up with a cohesive plan if there is an issue. If they do not have a plan make sure that you have pertinent information from the venue. This would include: contact person on site, contact off-site, address to use if there is an emergency (sometimes it is easier to load onto a different side of the street than the legal address), how to dial out of the venue, and emergency exits. In addition, if you are in a different country make sure you know what the emergency and non-emergency police phone numbers are. You should also put together a cell phone list and roster for your team. This way you can always be in contact with your teammates and plan for all situations.
Next, you will want to put together an emergency evacuation plan. The most important part of this is to outline how you and your staff will get out of the venue and your designated meeting place. You will also have to outline how your attendees will get out of the building and the emergency exits for all the areas that you are using. This evacuation plan should also include the steps that your staff should take including how to alert authorities, who to remain in contact with, and how to message an emergency to attendees.
You should have a plan in place for a medical emergency as well. Check with your venue about how they would like to handle a medical emergency. Some venues have their own in-house medical teams and do not suggest calling 911. Make sure you know what to do in this type of situation in order to attend to the person and make the transition for the medical team arriving smooth and timely.
In addition, to having the plan you must also think of the potential outcome. If there are injuries or casualties that arose because of a situation how will you message this to your attendees and the general public? It makes sense to have a spokesperson or “voice of the organization” being the only person responding to media inquiries. This way you have consistent messaging, in a professional manner that cannot be misconstrued. In addition, you may want to caution your staff against going to social media and sharing information from their personal accounts. This will once again muddy the waters and can be confusing to people that are searching for the facts.
Now that you know how you will handle emergencies and the aftermath of them it is important to inform your team. During a team meeting or pre-con it is very important to go over your EEP so that everyone knows how to react to an event. Some organizations even have drills so that their staff will know exactly what to do. This plan should also be easily accessible (printed as well as cloud-based) so that if an incident does occur anyone can grab the document.
We highly suggest that you look at some of the available EEP templates that are available. They have them for all types of events from small board meetings to the Olympics and they are a great resource for you and your team.