Leadership / 11.23.21
For Convention Centers, Boston Serves as Safety Act Template
VenuesNow (11/18/21) Zoltak, James
More convention centers are expected to pursue U.S. Department of Homeland Security SAFETY (Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) Act awards, and the first facility to be so designated was the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). The venue organized a blueprint for obtaining this designation, and Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) officers Robert Noonan and Nate Little said the process was completed just weeks ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic's arrival in the U.S. "Part of the reason why it took us I would say right around 18 months from start to finish to go through the process is that we were the very first convention center to get that far," Noonan recalled. Convention centers stand out from other venues in that security requirements vary in accordance with the wider diversity of events they host. "What we did was show [Homeland Security] the process by which we evaluate the events and how we arrive at what the level of security needs to be based on the activity that's taking place," Noonan said. He added that "[a] lot of our events are booked six or more years out, so we really start the planning process maybe multiple years in advance." Noonan said the International Association of Venue Managers has made efforts to provide a template for convention centers to apply for the SAFETY Act designation, and he is appreciative of what it means in terms of "establishing security best practices and security standards throughout our industry." Little said the BCEC's successful designation "shows that it can be done and now there's a roadmap for every convention center in the country, and the world, frankly."
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Tags: Security , News , Leadership