By design, events put people out of their comfort zone. And that’s a good thing, most of the time.
Events transport people to another place, far away from what they’re used to, whether literally or figuratively. But that’s exactly why event medical services are so important.
When people are in another place, they’re compelled to do things they haven’t tried before—potentially risky things. And, nearly every moment of the event, they’re surrounded by other people.
That tallies up to incredible risks from factors both seen and unseen.
Event planners can help solve some medical issues themselves, but they must rely on event medical services to help people in serious need. And they can assist those medical professionals by being prepared with key information right when it’s needed.
Even if you don’t have event medical services, event planners need to memorize these nine things to minimize the risk of medical crises at their event:
1. Know where to find contact info of all participants. Make sure you have a list of all participants—including attendees, stakeholders and suppliers, and their emergency contacts readily available, both electronically and hard copy.
2. Know how staff should contact emergency services. Should they use a landline phone, a cellphone or a radio? What if you’re in a remote area—should a satellite phone be available? And which person on your team should reach out to emergency services if needed? Consider creating a contact list for distribution to all staff. Know the hotel’s emergency number that they dial in an emergency—it isn’t always 911.
3. Know who can use an automated external defibrillator (AED), perform first aid and do CPR. Not everyone on your team knows how to do first aid, CPR or use an AED. And that’s OK. But, by knowing who can perform which life-saving procedure, event planners can avoid wasting priceless time waiting for professionals to arrive.
5. Know security procedures and emergency process. The way you should respond if an event participant has an upset stomach is much different than the way you should respond to a broken arm or armed intruder. Have a written plan on escalating issues. Know and document what an emergency is and isn’t.
6. Know where the venue’s AED is located. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, with about half of those coming from sudden cardiac arrest. Immediate CPR and early defibrillation with an AED can more than double a victim’s chance of survival, according to the American Heart Association. Also, ask your hotelier how many staff they have that are AED certified.
7. Know where the nearest medical professional is. Whether that’s a medical professional your venue has, one you’ve hired for your event or one available via 911, knowing where the nearest doctor or EMT is imperative to creating a safe event.
8. Know how long it takes an ambulance to arrive. Depending on where your event takes place, there are considerable variances about how long it takes an ambulance to arrive. New York City, for instance, requires a 10-minute response time, but rural locations might anticipate a longer wait. Event planners should adjust accordingly.
9. Know where the U.S. embassy is. If you’re hosting an event that’s out of the country, being able to point a participant in the direction of the U.S. embassy can be handy. Or, if you’re hosting international attendees in a domestic setting, they might need to find their foreign embassy. When traveling abroad, U.S.-based participants may register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, helping them make informed decisions about their travel plans.
However, according to a Global Business Travel Association survey, nearly 30% of companies reported their organization didn’t have a risk management plan in place or were unsure if there was one. Additionally, 13% found their plans ineffective after the March 2016 Brussels attacks.
That proves the importance of risk mitigation for events and incentive travel. When event planners expect the best—but prepare for the worst—they’ll create a seamless experience for their people.