The amount and type of emergency action plans you need to prepare will depend on the theme of your event, its venue location, and the demographic of your guests. We've put together some key points to help get your emergency planning started.
1. Assess Possible Emergencies
Such emergencies could include:
- Injured or sick guest or staff member
- Inclement weather
- Fire or Infrastructure failure
- External acts of violence
- Internal assault or theft
2. Ask the Venue for Information
Contact your venue for a copy of their EAP's. All properties in the Christian Retreats Network have emergency procedures in place; ask your Conference Services representative for a copy.
You don't want to alarm your guests by including the venue's full strategies though. Simply write-up a document that outlines evacuation and shelter-in-place guidelines for the venue, emergency phone numbers, and the "see-something, say something" idea; this can be included in their welcome packets.
3. Work with the Venue on Preventative
Think on what preventative measures, if any, your event may need. More than likely after the COVID-19 pandemic, your venue will have extra steps in place to keep their staff and your guests safe. Just keep in mind that any extra steps you're taking are still practical for venue staff, your planning team, and guests.
If you feel you have several high-risk guests, provide additional supplies to your guests. You could setup additional hand sanitizer stations or provide face masks in their welcome bag.All event planners should be encouraging their guests to follow proper hygiene with frequent hand washing, limiting contact, and excusing guests that are visibly sick.
4. Make Registration Forms Thorough
Make sure to include room for emergency contacts and relevant health information, especially if the guest is a minor. While cloud storage is convenient, download or print a copy in case of natural disasters or loss of INTERNET. Just ensure all information is secured and kept confidential.
5. Communicate with Guests
For youth camps, ask counselors to go over emergency information with the campers within their cabin on the first night. For retreats or conferences, provide an emergency document in their welcome packets as mentioned above.
If possible, you could setup a hotline for a guest to call and/or text with a concern.
6. Create a Staff Phone Tree
When it comes to emergencies, communication is very important. Make sure your staff are prepared by going over the Emergency Action Plans and know who to contact when something occurs.
7. Purchase First Aid Kits
Even if the property has supplies for you to use, it is still good practice to bring one or two of your own.
8. Prepare Emergency Backpacks (Remotely located camps or wilderness experience)
Provide at least one counselor per room/cabin/tent with an emergency supplies bag. These are important to have in case of a natural disaster, like a tornado, fire or earthquake.
Items within the bag should include:
- Water bottles
- Snacks (non-perishable like granola bars or trail mix)
- Survival emergency blankets (light weight and easy to pack)
- A copy of the Emergency Procedures
- A physical map, compass, or GPS
For additional supplies, check out the American Red Cross website.