Prepare for Worst-Case Scenarios at Your Trade Shows
Much like life, trade shows will always have an element of the unknown. Disasters and mistakes can crop up at an alarming rate and even natural disasters can play a marked role in an events success or existence.
The best way to mitigate these potential scenarios is preparing for them in advance and benign quick to take necessary actions. With all our years in the industry, we’ve seen the impact of everything from snowstorms, fires, and terroristic acts.
To ensure the safety of your team and your investments, here are our top tips for preparing for a trade show emergency.
Emergencies Happen – Plan for Them
Every element of your event preparation should be considered in light of a potential emergency. Everything is designed, shipped, prepared and ready. But how does it look from behind the eight ball?
What will be potential challenges of an emergency evacuation? How will you secure valuables? What goes with you or your team and what stays? Is your team up to speed on the building safety routes? Do they know the location of the closest fire extinguisher?
What if the exhibit is already installed but the event has been canceled? Who do you call? Is there a crisis team at the ready? And what do you do with your inventory?
Look into event insurance policies that account for potential disasters. What do they cover? Is there a fallback site?
If someone is injured at the show, what is the procedure? Who is paying the bill? How do you track this information?
Work through these and any other questions and produce reasonable, practical solutions that can be implemented when needed to mitigate as many safety and financial blows as possible.
Prepare For Mother Nature’s Wrath
Many events have seen the day where the doors never open or they close prematurely due to a storm or natural event. Read your contracts and agreements carefully.
What are your rights as a vendor if the location or show makes the call to close up shop? Where does the liability lie? Who is the point of contact for financial claims?
Package your inventory in watertight crates and use plastic packing materials. Especially for anything valuable. If you’re in a rush to evacuate you may forget or have to leave equipment behind.
If there’s still time to move or secure your inventory and your exhibit, find out if the location offers freight containers, enclosed trailers, or off-site warehouse storage. Reach out to your contacts and your carrier to make those arrangements as quickly as possible.
Major weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes will vary in the amount of advanced warning you will have before Mother Nature strikes. Keep your eye on the weather and your team’s contact info at the ready if emergency protocols need to be initiated. Ensure they’re prepared to follow on-site procedures and know what steps to take for personal safety.
Don’t Let It Burn
Fires can start from faulty equipment, poor writing, overheating tech, and sloppy operations. With vigilant attention to detail, and updated gear (such as replacing halogen lights with LEDs) some of these can be avoided.
However, not everything is preventable once you’re in the booth. Get familiar with how to file damage or loss claims with your insurance or site management.
Be sure to stock an ABC-rated fire extinguisher in your booth and ensure that everyone working on site knows how to use it. Have each member familiarize themselves with backup extinguishers that are placed throughout the facility.
Once the safety issues are mitigated, find out who you need to notify at the location in the event of a fire. Or, if mitigation wasn’t successful, know where the closest fire alarm pull station is located and be prepared to pull it sooner, rather than later.
Check the airflow around all your equipment throughout the day to ensure there is proper ventilation. Also check surge protectors and charging stations for excess heat output and keep the area clear.
Covid-19 and Other Variants
If the recent pandemic taught us anything, it’s that nothing is sacred. Trade shows everywhere were shut down and some are still recovering.
With each new variant that is discovered, as cases rise and fall, ensure that your team is up to date with current or growing health concerns so you can take necessary precautions. Provide hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, masks, and immune boosters for booth staffers to set a health and safety precedent.
Give your staff the freedom to remove themselves from the event if they feel they’re getting sick or have come into contact with someone who is.
Prepare For the Worst, Hope for The Best
It all starts with a solid plan and a booth that’s designed with safety in mind. If you’re looking to increase safety and mitigation for your next show, reach out to our team for a free quote!