Within the span of a week, the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. was rattled by an earthquake and slammed by Hurricane Irene. Severe weather can strike unexpectedly, so venue managers need to know what to do in advance to protect their facilities and guests. One resource to turn to is the International Association of Venue Managers’ Severe Weather Planning Guide.

The comprehensive, 70-page book explains how to build relationships with emergency management personnel, establish a command center, and create a severe-weather-event team. It outlines how to monitor weather conditions and properly communicate with staff, guests, event presenters, and others. The guide, updated in 2011, also includes a template that venue managers can use to create their own hazardous-weather plan.

“The safety and security of venue guests are top priorities at IAVM,” said Vicki Hawarden, CMP, president and chief executive officer at IAVM, based in Coppell, Texas. “This organization is committed to providing innovative safety and security guidelines, resources, and training that are pertinent and useful to our membership. They help them protect their No. 1 priority¬¬—the lives of the guests who attend their events.”

In addition to the planning guide, IAVM offers the Academy of Venue Safety and Security, an intensive, five-day training program in security planning and management. For more information, go to at http://www.IAVM.org/AVSS www.iavm.org/avss.

In November, IAVM hosts the annual International Crowd Management Conference, which focuses on the skills venue managers need for safe and effective crowd control. The 2011 conference runs November 6–9 in Dallas. IAVM also offers a training program in which participants become ”Trained Crowd Managers.”

While the guide is written primarily for venue managers, meeting planners could use several parts of the plan to help them monitor and address severe weather issues. The guide costs $75 for IAVM members and $125 for nonmembers. For more information on the planning guide or any other emergency-preparedness resources from IAVM, go to IAVM’s Web site.