MPISFL Blog

Event Emergency Tips

Here in South FL, we’ve lived through Andrew, Wilma, Katrina, and many, many more hurricanes. Today as Hurricane Matthew bears down upon our beautiful caribbean destinations and seems to be shifting more and more towards South FL, we thought it was  great time to post some of our favorite event advice for being prepared for a natural disaster.

First off, let’s start with the facts:

Hurricanes | The good, the bad and the ugly (in mostly that order)

In South FL and in most coastal areas, we have Hurricane Season which begins on June 1 and ends on November 30 every year. The bad: That’s a long portion of the year!

The good: Yes, but we get a HUGE warning before a storm ever hits us. As natural disasters go, Hurricanes is one type that we can do a lot to prepare for. And for most South Floridians, shelter and personal safety aren’t major concerns during these storms. When we get hit by a Tropical Storm or lesser Hurricane it’s really more of a hassle than anything.

The ugly: That being said, let’s not minimize the damage that a more major storm can do. If you’ve never seen the damage that Hurricane Andrew caused, then you need to see THIS. Andrew was not to be messed with. Most hurricanes that hit South FL cause a temporary shut down of business and school, and usually power outages sometimes for extended period of times.

Okay, but it’s South FL… what about that regular rain you might ask?

Oh, it rains alright, but let’s face it, it’s also gorgeous most days! And in our humble opinion, not only is South FL a tropical oasis with gorgeous beaches, winter weather in the 70s most days plus fantastic resorts and golf, but we also have three city centers in our metropolitan area with a vast array of things to do! Sounds like an amazing place? Yeah, that’s why we’re based here!
 
But what about that whole Zika mess?

Yes, Zika was found in Miami. Thankfully, it’s been much more limited here than in many tropical locations. It’s been a serious concern, and it seems to be causing quite the media frenzy! While there are cases throughout the US that are the result of travel to a country with Zika, as of September 28th, the CDC reported 59 cases in FL (no other states) that are locally acquired. That means that 59 people total have gotten Zika while here in Miami. Read our favorite Zika advice is from an OBGYN.

So now that we’ve demystified the big three of 2016 for you, now how do we as event planners go about preparing for them?

…so you don’t end up with an event that looks like the above!

1.    For Hurricanes, stay vigilant, and know your cancellation policies. You may have to forfeit a couple of deposits, but by knowing the terms of your agreements you can best make a plan to cancel or postpone. As soon as we enter “the cone” we like to start making our phone calls to discuss our best options with venues and vendors. Find out when they will be making decisions and when they have future openings.

2.    We recommend that when working with clients from out of the area, make a decision sooner not later! If someone is traveling to South FL, then you certainly want them to be safe. If a hurricane looks like it might hit, better to postpone than have people traveling and then end up here to “weather” the storm (yes, we’re still that funny even during Hurricane prep!)

3.    If your event has begun and you already in South FL, be sure to immediately consult the hotel and assist your guests in finding out any emergency information they might need from shelters to assisting them to change travel plans to leave early- we always bend over backwards for safety.

4.    We also recommend that even planners take advantage of Visit Florida’s FREE Hurricane Insurance Policy. Wait, let’s repeat that: Visit FL has a FREE program for events happening during some months of the year that will help all our meeting planner friends cover losses up to $200,000! You’re welcome.

5.    Just a little rain? You should always have a weather backup space. We like to also have a tent on hold with one of our vendors in case it’s a drizzle and not a downpour. And we recommend choosing decor and lighting that can either be used in either the original space or the backup as seamlessly as possible.

6.    When it comes to Zika, should we all run and hide and cancel our Miami events? Well, we think there are some really good options besides canceling. We’re planning to wear our DEET bug spray, wear clothing to help shield our skin, stay indoors when possible at dusk and in areas where Zika was found, and oh yeah, provide big spray to all our event attendees (that’s because we’re just nice like that)! For the most official info on Zika, the CDC website has your stuff.

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