SECURITY (noun) 1. the quality or state of being secure; freedom from danger, fear, or anxiety. 2. an organization or department whose task is security
LICENSE AND REGISTRATION, PLEASE
Ask for proof that security companies you're considering for your meeting are licensed, bonded, and insured and have sufficient experience with your needs, whether that be exhibit security, crowd control, or executive protection. Police training of executive protection specialists is often touted by security companies, but remember that police are trained to insert themselves into trouble. You need to know that the agents can handle situations without a gun and avoid threatening situations. Event security's top issues are crowd control and alcohol-related interventions.
For a typical event, figure your security personnel needs to be at least one agent to every 125 guests, suggests Warren Sims, director of sales and marketing at Troy Security, New York. However, for crowds of more than 1,000 people, or when guests are split into a number of smaller spaces with a variety of entrances, exits, or stairways, the number of agents might need to be higher.
CALL THE COPS
Especially if you've decided not to hire event security for your event, a good idea, says Troy Security's Sims, is to make the local police aware of your presence. Call the community affairs officer at the local police precinct and give them the date and time of your event — and they'll probably swing by to check up on things.
HOW'D IT GO?
As with any other suppliers, be sure to check references. Did the agents show up on time? Did they dress appropriately? Did they manage the crowd effectively? A handful of security companies belong to the International Special Events Society and Meeting Professionals International.
THE COST OF SAFETY
Event security typically ranges from about $30 to $50 an hour, but executive protection services are higher, ranging widely, from $50 to $200 an hour.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Peter Tarlow, PhD, an authority on protecting tourism-based economies, last summer formed the nonprofit International Association for Tourism Security. IATS encourages education and networking for professionals in the hospitality and tourism industries who are concerned with deterring loss from terrorism, criminal acts, and other threats to the safety of tourists. For details about IATS, contact Rob@IFCPP.org, (800) 257-6717.
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