With global incidents firmly putting event security at the forefront of every event professionals mind, Grass Roots spoke with our Assistant Director - Operations, Stuart Tomlinson, who gave his expert advice on crisis management and how to ensure the security of your exhibitors, visitors and staff.
Q: Who is responsible for crisis management at an event?
A: Collaboration is crucial. As the venue we will take the lead because we know the space best and have well-established procedures, but responsibility ultimately lies with us, our organisers and our suppliers. Our wider plan is assessed for each event to ensure it compliments that of our organisers, and joint messages and procedures are always prepared should the worst happen.
Q: How joined up does crisis management involving meetings and events need to be?
A: It depends on the agency and the client. They need to look at all elements of the supply chain to make sure each has a crisis management plan but to make sure they are all joined up. It's fine having your own plan but it only works if it is linked to everyone else’s.
Q: What everyday crises arise that exhibition planners need to anticipate & mitigate?
A: In recent times, the term crisis seems to have become synonymous with a terror attack. Fortunately the incidents that happen most frequently—from a leak in the roof to a chip pan fire in the kitchen—are isolated ones that can be readily prepared for and mitigated quickly. It’s important to understand that some things are beyond your control and it’s impossible to plan for every single scenario. That’s why it’s essential for planners, venues and suppliers to have and fully understand a co-created plan that can be broadly applied appropriately to every situation.
Q: What examples are there of effective crisis planning in meetings/events?
A: The most effective incident planning analyses the entirety of an event portfolio in great detail and puts measures in place prior to the event taking place. Things to consider include the number of expected attendees and their demographics. Are they vulnerable? Is English not their first language? An event’s content also needs to be considered; could it attract protesters or have high-value items on site? Effective planning starts from the moment a show is contracted."
To read the full interview download the Grass Roots industry report.