Following a survey of its members' emergency procedures, the International Association of Conference Centers recently issued a 55-page preliminary white paper on this timely subject. The paper is the product of IACC's recently formed Emergency Procedures Task Force, which was charged with polling members about their practices in four critical areas: health emergencies, natural disasters, facility emergencies, and acts of deliberate disruption. The survey unearthed a number of best practices and ways to handle emergencies, but it also pointed up a surprising truth: “We assumed all our members had written safety procedures,” says IACC spokesperson Steve Smith. “But one of the things we discovered is that they don't.” IACC's board of directors has now added a guidelines recommendation that “all IACC conference centers should have a written Emergency Procedures plan.”

The white paper, described as a work in progress, is organized according to the four critical areas and packed with suggestions. It includes an introductory general practices section that covers lines of authority, communications, training, and emergency-response plans. It is available free of charge to members; nonmembers can order a printed copy, including future updates, for $50. For more information, contact the IACC office at (314) 993-8575.