Contingency planning checklist

The best time to make a contingency plan is when you don’t need it. Here are some guidelines to get you started.  

Organization guidelines

  • The first priority is safety.
  • Have guideline for who will be in charge if an emergency situation occurs. Know who to call, when to call and where to call.  
  • Make up an incident report sheet providing detailed information and whom it should go to.
  • In medical emergencies, details who accompanies an attendee to hospital and how long they stay.
  • Have a control room location, equipment and staffing.
  • Have a plan in place for communication among attendees, staff, home office, media and emergency personnel.
  • Procedures in place for emergency evacuation, with a designated relocation site.

On site

  • Have detailed floor plans.
  • Vicinity map.
  • Location of nearest 24-hour pharmacy and nearest hospital.
  • Know the location of alternate airports.
  • Know where to get the latest weather updates and forecasts.
  • Is there a possibility of an on-site doctor, automatic external defibrillator, PA system, CPR-certified staff and  24-hour security.
  • Go over the venue fire plan and public emergency checklist. Walk the fire plan if you can, with on-site personnel.  
  • If the event is politically controversial, decide if added police security or presence is necessary.


  • Have a complete list of all attendees, with cell numbers, emergency contacts, and special needs if applicable.
  • Keep an arrival/departures manifest for all attendees.
  • Keep a rooming list with room numbers
  • Contingency plans for specific emergencies ( fire/earthquake/ bomb threat/ terrorism/extreme weather).

Contact numbers

  • Local emergency numbers ambulance, fire, police.
  • Hotel/ venue Security
  • Transportation: have numbers for airlines, airports, car rental, trains, bus companies and taxi.
  • Passport/visa contacts, human resources and legal departments, Red Cross and local consulate.


  • Distribute your full emergency plan to all personnel on-site with copies to the event owner, home office emergency or security teams and on-site security team.
  • Give all attendees on-site hotel contact information, and a 24-hour emergency hotline number.
  • During the event, let people know the nearest exits, the evacuation route from the hotel or venue and where to report in an emergency.

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