Magazine article Security Management

The Special Needs of Special Event Security

Magazine article Security Management

The Special Needs of Special Event Security

Article excerpt

Organizations spend millions of dollars every year on special events, meetings, and conventions. While corporations regularly use special events and meetings to gain recognition, they fail to consider the potential risks associated with these events. An untimely accident, criminal incident, or unanticipated emergency can cast gloom over an entire event, undoing all the goodwill it might have generated.

The unwary organization may suffer serious damage to its reputation, as well as to employee and customer relations. It may also lose proprietary information or even open itself up to liability. To avoid such potential problems, companies must integrate security and safety considerations into the advance planning process.

The host organization should acknowledge from the start that it is morally and legally responsible for the safety of employees and customers attending an event. Someone knowledgeable in the field of event security should be charged with primary responsibility. That person, who most likely would be the security director, then becomes an integral part of the pre-event, actual event, and post-event process.

Risks and liabilities can never be completely eliminated, but they can be significantly reduced. Precautions can make the difference between a successful event and a legal nightmare should incidents occur.

When an organization prepares to choose a site, the security manager should contact the local police station's crime analysis department to obtain current crime statistics and recommendations. He or she should work with the selected hotel or facility's security director to determine types of problems the staff there has experienced.

On international trips the security manager should contact the U.S. Department of State for current travel information and identify local resources that can provide current information for the venues to be used.

The security professional should also assess the surrounding environment of the venues, transportation routes, and activity locations that could pose security and safety-related problems. He or she should investigate the history of any activities and incidents, such as crime, labor problems, or acts of nature that may affect the venue or program.

The type of security personnel the facility provides is also important. Whether the staff at the convention site is certified in CPR and first aid and whether employees are trained in current security and safety topics should be ascertained. A review of the facility's emergency action plan should be performed to determine when the plan was fully tested, how various emergencies are handled, whether security patrols the interior and exterior of the facility, whether the exterior of the facility and parking areas are well lighted, and how the hotel or meeting facility security staff can support the event or meeting. The security professionals should also determine whether the event requires additional or special access control procedures, such as name badges, company identification, tickets, or special invitations.

If the event requires additional security, the security team should determine what is appropriate for the organization or event. For example, the host organization must decide whether off-duty uniformed or plainclothes police officers or contract security personnel would best serve the function and how many extra duty security personnel the program would require.

Special use rooms, such as the event control room, gift and equipment storage room, presentation room, and entertainers' rooms, should be rekeyed for authorized personnel access only. These areas should be evaluated to see whether special security equipment will be required to protect the room or its contents. It is also important to know about the other companies that will be using the facility before, during, or immediately after the client. They could be competitors. A host organization's name and activities are typically listed on the hotel or facility schedule board or TV. …

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