Ready? Engage! Your Onsite Event Communications Plan

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Ready? Engage! Your Onsite Event Communications Plan

By Jessie States | Oct 8, 2019

When looking at communications during an onsite incident, meeting professionals want to make sure that their Operations / Communications Plans include options and alternative methods at all levels from the events staff to the venue to public safety operations. Pre-planning and redundancy are essential, and the integrity of communications is essential during a crisis. This is clearly scalable based on the event, environment and potential incident.
Following find best practices around organizing and implementing your crisis communications plan.

Have Multiple Communications Platforms on Hand

Plan for multiple communication platforms with sufficient redundancy to get timely and accurate information to those who need it when they need it. Consider public safety communication capabilities, public and commercial radios, landlines, cellular, HAM radios, video boards, broadcast media, social media, text and PA systems.

Test Equipment Operation Prior to Event

Test your equipment in a working environment to ensure that it is working properly before the event. Install signal enhancement (repeaters) to ensure venue-wide coverage as necessary for all communications (radio, cellular, data).

Utilize Traditional Communication Methods

Don’t rely upon any single method/system of communicating for operational or emergency communications. With technology advances, don’t forget the old reliable capabilities that have proven tried and true, such as Ham radios and their operators. Also, maintain landline phone capability. Always have a back-up even if it is dispatching a person to relay information.

Use Megaphones for Event Attendee Crowd Control

Have megaphones as a backup for crowd control and emergency communications. Also, use first responder equipment PAs for emergency communications. Be prepared for the unexpected. For large events, pre-stage megaphones at ingress and egress points around the venue. This is the most prevalent tool used.

  1. Develop audio and video scripts for all types of incidents with specific emergency announcement broadcasts. New megaphones allow for pre-recording of various incident scripts. This will help to avoid confusion during an incident. Consider all forms of media. Scripts should be preprogrammed into devices to save critical time.

  2. Written instructions should be in place to address incoming threats, whether telephonic or via any other medium. All incoming threats should be properly recorded and preserved.

  3. Establish a process to get information on reported threats directed at adjacent facilities (buildings, train or subway stations, businesses, fuel storage, factories). Specify persons who need to be notified and the order of notification. 



Jessie States
Jessie States

Director of the MPI Academy at Meeting Professionals International.