Meetings Industry Moves Forward With Safety Initiative

During the 2016 edition of IMEX America, stakeholders announced steps to further safety endeavors within the meetings industry through the launch of a new council. The council extends the events industry’s ongoing collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security.

At this week’s IMEX America, in Las Vegas, the topic of security was top of mind for attendees—something reflected by a new industry council introduced this week.

The Industry Security Council, an extension of the ongoing Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative, is being formed to help create a campaign to encourage event planners to get their events certified under the SAFETY (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) Act and to solidify the application process for that certification.

Some big names in the event space were already working on the Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative—among them the International Association of Venue Managers, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, the Exhibition Services Contractors Association, and ASAE—and the council helps formalize the approach.

The work of the initiative was announced this summer as a collaboration between these meetings-related groups and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Safety Act Implementation. Bruce Davidson, who heads that federal department, emphasized in comments reported by Successful Meetings that strong leadership was essential to the success of the effort.

“The most important factor for venues to achieve this designation will be inspired leadership from the top of the organization. It will require a complex series of initiatives to attain,” Davidson said.

While the effort is certainly considered important, it won’t be cheap. MeetingsNet reported that the Industry Security Council hopes to raise $250,000 to help pitch the initiative to the broader meetings coomunity, something the council hopes will be a shared expense by the industry.

Part of that fund, reports MeetingsNet, will go to the creation of an app by the vendor Keyway—something that will prove particularly helpful, as the application for SAFETY Act certification is a whopping 42 pages long.

But it can be done—and already has been, in one of the largest weekly event platforms in the world. Davidson noted that the National Football League has already taken steps to be compliant with the SAFETY Act.

The coalition hopes to launch the initiative by the end of March 2017.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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