Planning events is an exercise in crisis management. When a VIP guest attends without an RSVP or a vendor arrives late (or not at all!), the problem falls to the event planner. We seldom, however, deal with true emergencies at our events, but should one arise, we don’t want to be caught unprepared. Be proactive by observing the following tips:
Know Your Venue
Schedule time with your venue manager to learn the building and the room in which your event will take place. This means you should ask to see emergency exits and walk to the areas to which guests would be directed. Be sure to discuss emergencies that require that the building be vacated, such as fire or bomb threats, as well as situations like weather emergencies that require that everyone remain inside.
Share the Information
As the planner, it is important for you to know all of these details, but you may be too busy handling the actual emergency to assist guests. Train your staff and volunteers on emergency procedures so they can assist guests during the situation. The more people you have helping, the better you can handle the emergency and still take excellent care of your guests.
Use Your Resources
Georgia Tech has safety resources, such as the Georgia Tech Police Department and Environmental Health and Safety, that you can tap into for guidance.
The Georgia Tech Police Department can advise planners during all phases of event planning. For all events on campus (or large off-campus events), complete the Request for Special Event Security form to start a conversation with Sergeant Archie Hill about how to improve your event safety.
Environmental Health and Safety provides guidance for maintaining a safe environment for your guests both indoors and outdoors. When planning outdoor or large events, you should reach out to Fire Marshal Larry Labbe for direction on best practices. Refer to the Environmental Health and Safety website for information on services and how they can help with your next event.