On the night of October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds of others. This set event planners on a quest to see if and how they could better secure their events. This article serves an educational how to designed to aid planners in securing meetings, conventions and other events.

Excerpt 1

In a world where mass shootings and copycat events prevail, event planners are currently grappling with how they might better protect event venues from mass terror without impacting the experience for their audience.

Gregg McManners, executive director of Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison, says, “The landscape of security in public venues had changed long before the Las Vegas shooting. We have an obligation to customers and employees to make sure our security systems and processes are geared toward today’s security threats. At Monona Terrace, like many other venues in the state and across the country, we have had to make significant investments in the building to update our security readiness. Today’s issues are much different than issues we faced in the late 1990s when Monona Terrace opened.”

Unfortunately, even with all the preparation McManners describes, the reality is that, as the recent Las Vegas shooting at a Jason Aldean concert proved, no amount of planning and preparation is guaranteed to stop every lone wolf shooter.

Attorney Steven Adelman, who focuses on event security, says it’s impossible to plan for an emergency that has never happened before. “There is no previous shooting like this one. It is literally unprecedented in the world of live events,” he says.

Excerpt 2

While it’s unlikely your event will be targeted by a terrorist, planners can and should employ the following additional security measures:

  • Background and record checks on staff, and possibly vendors and attendees. (A good practice when bringing in a celebrity or high-profile speaker, which may require a dedicated security team as well.)
  • Full security sweeps of the meeting space prior to anyone arriving each morning and again at the end of the day when everyone has departed.
  • Bag searches, metal screenings or canine units, such as those employed at concerts and sporting events.

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