Events vs. Incidents: Planning for Emergencies

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Events vs. Incidents: Planning for Emergencies

By Jessie States | Apr 30, 2018

In risk management, there is a difference between an event and an incident. An event is a scheduled nonemergency activity—much like the meetings you plan on a daily basis. An incident is an occurrence, natural or manmade, that requires a response to protect life or property.

The biggest difference in events versus incidents is time to execute. For events, there will be advance notice and time to complete a plan. While planning for an event, the situation is stable and there are clear boundaries regarding restrictions and limitations.

Since incidents are unexpected occurrences, there is usually limited notice and an unstable situation that often has the potential to escalate quickly. The information available will be incomplete. Additionally, unlike an event with resources staged on site, an incident may call for additional assets.

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While many incidents are handled with existing resources, event managers should be proactive in anticipating those times when an incident may overwhelm the resources of the event. The event operations/action plan should address how to acquire additional resources and when to shift from event management to incident management.

Though incidents are unplanned events, they can still be planned for. During the assessment phase of risk management, identify potential, credible hazards that could impact your meeting. A risk assessment marks an all-hazards approach, and will prepare you for when an event turns into an incident. It allows for preparation for possible threats and hazards, such as weather-related incidents.

If you are ready to learn more about the differences between events and incidents—and how to prepare for them appropriately—join us for our Emergency Preparedness for Meeting and Events certificate course at the World Education Congress coming up in Indianapolis on June 2.

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Safety & Risk Management Assesment

MPI would also ask that you take a short survey around your safety and risk management planning processes. We can use the results of this survey to identify areas in which additional resources are needed to help our community keep attendees safe at meetings and events around the world. 



Jessie States
Jessie States

Jessie States, CMP, CMM, is the Director of the MPI Academy for Meeting Professionals International, where she leads and advances MPI’s professional development strategy, developing and managing MPI’s portfolio of educational products delivered through all channels, including live and digital events, educational experiences, professional certificate programs and through educational partnerships.