By Jessie States
A SPECIAL SECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL
Accessing and sharing information among various event, venue, agencies and organizations is challenging, but necessary for developing effective situational and operational awareness, and your information must be “consumable” and “actionable” to be useful. Here are some helpful steps to establishing communication with your safety and security team and how to empower them to situational assessment.
Set Up an Email or Text Group
Set up an email or text group for the appropriate individuals to ensure cross-information sharing. Utilize information-sharing software such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Sharefile, and create various communication vehicles before, during and after event to share situational awareness information with staff and attendees. This is essential for any event or venue regardless of size, but will scale according to event, threat, history and number of entities involved.
Train All Staff and Volunteers to be Observant
Train all staff and volunteers to be observant and report unusual/out of character or inappropriate activity to their supervisors. Document all the training. Explain examples of unusual behavior and inappropriate behavior. Include traffic/parking personnel, ticket takers, ushers, screeners, food and beverage staff, maintenance, stage workers, custodial staff, etc., in this training. And broadcast (using all mediums) “see something, say something,” giving all stakeholders and attendees a way and to whom and how they should report.
Consider Presentations Before and During Events
Consider presentations, live or video, to staff, volunteers and even key attendees prior to and during the event. Offer different mediums to report information (phone, website, text, social media or an individual). Front-line staff are a great source of intelligence/situational information. Since most work multiple events, they notice what is out of the norm.
Use Plainclothes Officer(s) or Security Staff
Use plainclothes officer(s) or security staff who are strategically placed throughout the venue/event to observe and report. Surveillance and counter surveillance teams are appropriate in external locations as well as within a venue to observe and report. Use in conjunction with CCTV, if available.
Jessie States is the Director of the MPI Academy at Meeting Professionals International.