Safety vs. Security?

Attacks in Paris, Brussels and Berlin have been in the news but are an entire ocean away. And although the United States has experienced other terror acts on American soil before and after 9/11—such as the Oklahoma City bombings, Boston Marathon explosions, and mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and Fort Hood military base near Killeen, Texas—none of them has had nearly the same impact as 9/11.

Stories about emergencies, security and safety seem to pop up nonstop, however, thanks to the 24-hour cycle of social media and news sources. It’s a giant wheel, with many spokes, including active shooters, terrorist attacks, power outages, contagious diseases, stolen equipment, data thefts, weather disasters, political upheavals and economic blunders. We become complacent until another bomb goes off.

For those who plan and manage large events, such as conferences, these recent acts of terror remind us that we must be proactive when it comes to security, both cyber and physical.

Planners need to ask themselves, “Do I know how to protect my attendees? Do I really need to do so?”

“Planners have a legal duty to take care of their attendees,” says attorney Tyra Hilliard, CMP, an assistant professor of business and hospitality at the College of Coastal Georgia. “To live up to this duty, they need to use due diligence when planning and managing a meeting, including choosing a safe facility and suppliers.”

She says that to create a safe space, planners don’t need to have an absolute obligation, but they must do “what a reasonably prudent meeting planner would do to ensure that the meeting and attendees are safe.”

This begs the question, “What is safety and security?” Check this space again for more information.

*From Smart Meetings, April 2017, an article written by Alan Kleinfeld.


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Alan Kleinfeld
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