015. 911! How to Handle Emergencies


Story: Ceiling falling in at hotel

Types of emergencies:

Natural Disasters
  • Flood, fire, tornado, earthquake
  • Natural disasters – Typically the venue will handle this. But you should stay involved. If guests are displaced, how are you moving them somewhere else? What are reimbursement policies?
Building Disasters
  • Power outage, water leak, structural failure
Vendor Disasters
  • Vendor, food failure, drink failure, service failure, rental delivery mixup, furniture failure, table, chair or stage or equipment collapses
  • Tables – use locks on tables to prevent them from being moved around
  • Where there is a vehicle in a room like a semi or a truck or car –
    • Story of Truck in the room
    • A lot of venues will say only a gallon of gas in a car. Or will require battery to be disconnected. May need an alternative way to power lights on a car if you want them on.
Guest Disasters
  • Trip and fall, health issue, heart attack, sickness, drunk guests, angry guests
  • Unruly guests – drunk fights
  • Story: Person getting caught having an affair in the middle of an event


9 Tips for preparing for and handling emergencies

  1. Planning for an emergencies starts with the initial site visit. How do we mitigate damage? Ask what if questions like: What happens in case of bad weather or riots or COVID or… Who makes announcements?
  2. Alert authorities how many people are in a building any time there is a large number of people in a building and bad weather is on the way.
  3. Keep contact information for guests somewhere off site.
  4. Constantly keep running in the back of your mind what happens if
    • Where is the risk? How do I mitigate it?
    • Someone doesn’t show up – have a backup
    • Someone gets sick or has a heart attack – identify medical personel at the event
    • Someone odd shows up – security
    • Who is in charge if something happens? Who contacts 911?
    • If you run out of food, how do you communicate that?
    • What if a stalker shows up? What do you do? You can uninvite him and escort him out. Can’t arrest him
  5. Try to take attention away from the disaster (unless it’s a natural disaster)
  6. Be part of the process, part of the solution, maintain communication with the client. Become a trusted part of the team so they are including you in the issue so you can be part of the solution.
    • Story: Hotel didn’t tell us they ran out of food so we couldn’t help solve it
  7. If high profile person, we always have security. We will sometimes have undercover security at events.
  8. Understand client concerns of potential threats. Be sure you know them. Get pictures of them. Be aware. Do your research.
  9. Do a safety walk looking for hazards. Like trip hazards –
  10. What about cancelling an event?
    • What do you have in place for communication?
    • Refund when you can
    • Be generous
    • Allow transferring to the next event
    • Because we don’t want the disaster to transfer to the next event
  11. Wedding disasters:
    • What happens if someone backs out of a wedding?
    • What advice do you give to the mother or father of the bride
    • Story: Bride showing up without their wedding dress


624 S Boston Ave Ste 1030 • Tulsa, OK  74152

(918) 899-0123