Planning for the Unplanned – An Emergency-Preparedness Action List



  • emer2Create a preparedness plan with contingency checklist for site visits and planning processes.
  • During site inspection, determine evacuation and safety plans.
  • Send and collect a medical form from attendees that lists health concerns, food allergies, and emergency contact info. Consider adding an elective section that asks for known medical conditions and medicines that emergency personnel should be aware of.
  • Back up all files pertaining to the event, vendors, and attendees, including contact information. Make sure a colleague has access to it as well.
  • Budget for extra safety, health-care, and security personnel.
  • Have an emergency kit on hand for event staff. Include batteries, radio, water, flashlights, written instructions, and first-aid supplies.
  • Prepare contingency plans for all what-if scenarios, including civil disturbances, severe weather, and medical, terrorist, or other events that would require evacuation.
  • If having a high-profile guest or guests, or your event attracts media, coordinate with local law enforcement officials.
  • Provide written instructions for attendees, including contact numbers, exit plans, meeting area for evacuations/shelter, and local health care centers.


  • Establish a streamlined chain of command for emergencies.
  • Delegate a point person to monitor and relay safety and weather issues.
  • Select a process to monitor severe weather; e.g., the Weather Channel or phone alerts.
  • Establish a notification system so information can be promptly relayed to event workers and attendees. Consider using radios and/or cell phones. Document contact numbers in a written plan.
  • Reserve a spare company phone and pack it separately from your regular phone. If your phone is left in a taxi or damaged, you’ll stay in touch. In addition, consider renting one or more satellite phones so you can communicate with staff or headquarters in the event cell phone service is down.
  • Stay informed on current travel advisories that may impact your event.


  • Notify your embassy about the event three weeks prior to arrival.
  • Request scanned copies of your attendees’ passports. Print a physical copy, then save to a thumb drive.
  • Identify the local emergency number (the 911 equivalent) and locate local trauma centers.
  • Provide attendees written documentation of your embassy contact, local numbers, hospital information, evacuation routes and shelters, and event staff numbers.
  • Check to see if your company’s insurance covers claims on international events.
  • If not, consider obtaining coverage specific to the event.
  • Keep local currency on hand. When power is down, credit cards cannot be authorized and checks will not clear.
  • Identify local banking resources that can  expedite wire transfers, if needed. Have monetary backup and a secondary staff member who can authorize payments in the event the primary payer becomes unavailable.

emer5The American Red Cross offers volumes of information on many kinds of emergencies:

FEMA’s site delves into the details of planning for and mitigating emergencies:

Familiarize yourself with emergency medical response and find referrals to local CPR training programs through the American Heart Association:

The U.S. Department of State issues travel advisories and country-specific alerts and warnings:

Danielle Childress

Danielle Childress

Danielle Childress (Dani) has planned everything from board meetings for 6 to product launches for 500 to the NFL Experience at the Super Bowl for 100,000.

1 Comment

  • Leona
    August 29, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Daniele, such a catchy title. Easy to read since it’s in bullet form. I like the part about monetary backup. It’s one of those things that we sometimes forget during disasters or crises. Thanks for listing resources about emergency planning. Will definitely read those.

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