In a room last week at IMEX America in Las Vegas, 135 people gathered to learn about the official launch of the Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI), which was founded to address safety and security concerns at venues around the United States.
“Everywhere we go in (the trade show and meetings industry), safety and security keeps us up at night,” said International Association of Exhibitions and Events President and CEO David DuBois.
The initiative is a joint effort between IAEE, International Association of Venue Managers, and the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association, as well as more than 20 other supporting organizations, including the IMEX Group. Two of the supporting associations, according to DuBois, are leaders in security – the Security Industry Association and American Society Industrial Security and a third organization involved is the American College of Emergency Physicians.
This initiative also will be facilitated by security consulting firm Keyway, which has assembled a strong team of career law enforcement officials.
At the event in Las Vegas, attendees not only heard about what the initiative entails, but also what some of the next steps are, as well as a talk given by Bruce Davidson from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Safety Act Office.
Now that the initiative has been launched and four sub-committees have been formed, next steps include setting up conference calls with all of the committee members to move some objectives forward.
In addition, DuBois said, by spring they would like to have an application process put together in conjunction with the USDHS Security and the Safety Act Office to start having venues apply to.
In a similar vein to the US Green Building Council’s LEED-certified program for sustainability, venues will have the opportunity to be certified in three different available tiers for their safety and security.
“Our goal is to have over 300 centers in the U.S. certified,” DuBois said. “You know what that means? They’re safer and more secure.”
Another goal for EMSSI, DuBois said, was to raise a one-time goal of $250,000 to help offset initial costs to launching the effort.