How Secure Are You In Your Onsite Event Security
By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM
You have your game plan set, and you’re ready for your big event. BEOs proofed and signed? Check. POE updated and ready to distribute? Check. Rooming list triple-checked and all VIPs upgraded? Check. Presentations loaded into the show machine and proofed one final time? Check. Onsite security ordered … Wait! If you can’t check that final item off your list, your entire event is at risk.
Whether you’re hosting a meeting for an internal or external audience, think about having onsite security on hand. If you have production equipment in the ballroom, you’ll want someone to guard it overnight. This person should have a list of who is and who isn’t allowed in the room. They should ask for ID whenever someone claiming to be authorized walks in. (I once had a guard ask me for ID, and I was the one who signed the contract. I tipped him generously because he was interested in only one thing: Protecting my gear.)
Make sure you give the person guarding the space a map of the area they’re watching. If your setup includes rear-screen projection, there are probably doors behind the screens that could be an access point. If your onsite security doesn’t know what’s back there, they aren’t watching it. Have room service deliver coffee to your security person around 2 a.m. Many hotels have 24-hour room service or late-night limited menus. Make sure whoever is paid to watch your things is awake and alert. No room service overnight? Order a carafe of coffee, so it’s there all night.
Really big meetings
If you’re hosting an event with more than 1,000 people, I highly recommend security for the event and the overnights. Put that many people in one place at one time and you increase the odds of someone having a mishap. Having someone who’s trained in CPR and first aid standing by may save a life. Larger crowds are more difficult to manage. You may need badge checkers at doors, and they may need backup should they be challenged by an uninvited guest (think: the competition).
Consider having a security guard to handle potential crashers whenever you have a party/event outside the host property. This person should also watch for guests who overindulge or any other unexpected thing that may arise. You’re busy enough without having to listen to someone try to sweet-talk their way into your event.
Make sure you hire the onsite security you need. Do you want retired or off duty police officers, or can security professionals meet your goal? My advice: Don’t skimp on the important stuff. Hire a firm with a solid reputation that comes recommended by the hotel or venue. It helps to have that person familiar with the building they’ll be working in.
Introduce your hired onsite event security to the hotel’s head of security. It’s good to have everyone aware of who is in the building and what their role is. Nothing makes you feel more secure in your plan than having the right people in place to handle whatever comes up. Hiring onsite security is one of the best ways to do that.