The event industry is braving its next restart. The focus is back on the safety of attendees at face-to-face events.
At its digital “Locations Talk” Messe Frankfurt addressed the question of how to host “safe events”. Michael Biwer, Guest Events Division Manager, and Dimitrios Donis, Event and Corporate Security Manager, talked about hazard factors and risk management. This is a rather ambivalent topic. While attendees need to feel safe, “safety is a factor that should not necessarily be visible,” says Michael Biwer. “And which is often perceived as a nuisance,” he refers to queues, barriers or bag inspections. He says that safety requires comprehensive expertise. Biwer sees Messe Frankfurt as well equipped, singling out its Operation & Security Centre, which houses a central control centre, corporate and event security, fire protection and building control systems - all under one roof.
Dimitrios Donis highlighted safety-related aspects. Well in advance of an event organisers need to provide certain details - such as the type and size of an event as well as its attendee structure including any celebrities or guests of state. “We can then create a plan based on these particulars.” Event topics are also important, whether they are political in nature or have a high relevance in social media. “We then recommend appropriate security measures to our customers,” Donis describes. Against the background of the available data, his team carries out a risk assessment and presents it to the police, fire department, rescue services and the security service. “Only when these agencies give their consent can the event kick off.” In this context he has to point out the importance of a delicate touch to the authorities - due to the fact that not every international customer knows the rules of the federal state of Hesse.
When it comes to safe events, it's not just about responding to incidents, demonstrations or fire alarms. As can be expected, pandemic-related issues have gained importance due to the latest developments. At Messe Frankfurt, this issue was already part of the emergency management system before COVID-19. “We collaborate closely with Frankfurt Airport and have been working with an external medical expert for years,” reports Dimitrios Donis. “He advises us on what to do and on what is happening in the world health-wise.” Speaking of advice: Customers are not left to fend for themselves but are guided by the Messe Frankfurt teams. “We have many years of experience with all kinds of events,” says Michael Biwer, pleading for an open dialogue between guest organisers and the site operator.
If both sides can already communicate in advance, security measures do not have to be cost drivers. Messe Frankfurt also offers service packages. “They include something that is required by the authorities: the evacuation helper,” explains Dimitrios Donis. “And these helpers don't just stand around waiting for an evacuation alarm but can also be deployed for other security-related measures.” This generates synergies and, in turn, lowers costs (www.messefrankfurt.com).
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