After attending an IAEE luncheon a few weeks ago, our team got some great insights from our country’s top security advisors on how to keep your events safe and secure.

The most important thing, above all, is to start planning months in advance. Work with your security team to identify potential risks and threats.

Know the nature of your event

Understand if your organization or something your organization represents evokes an emotional response. If your organization or someone inside your organization has a controversial view or project, know who the opposition groups/individuals are.

Be aware of high-profile speakers

Not all industry leaders are viewed positively. Be aware of the risks associated with your high-profile speakers (are there active groups that contradict their beliefs, values or work?) and work with their security teams and office to identify potential risks.

Identify hazardous materials

Do your exhibitors use or have hazardous materials in their booths that can be used to harm others? Take inventory of any such exhibitors and provide this information to your security team in advance of the event.

Know who to call

Always know who your main security contact is. Who is going to contact the event organizers to alert staff that the building is/is not secure? Communication is key in emergency situations. Don’t be left in the dark.

Collect emergency contact information

For all staff and attendees. In the event of an emergency, it’s imperative that responders can get in touch with family.

Listen to your “spidey-sense”

You know the one. Your intuition is there for a reason. Listen to it. If something feels wrong, speak up.

See something, say something

No matter how big or small, remind your staff and attendees that if they see something, they need to say something. It’s always better to air on the side of caution.

Work together

Last but not least, work with your security team well before your event. They need critical information and details from you (even if they don’t seem relevant!) in order to provide the highest level of security.

We want our attendees to always feel safe at our events. Consider addressing security risks head-on with them to let them know you have them covered and have a plan in place in the unlikely event of an emergency. Just communicate with caution. Know your audience and communicate in a way that will make them feel safe.