We need to talk about the gorilla in the room… The same gorilla as before, but the guidelines, they keep changing. Why is that?
Because this is a novel disease, something we’ve never seen before. We’re pushing out information as soon as we think we have a handle on it, and then we get schooled by the virus again, and the information changes. Information flows faster now than it ever did before, so you get to see how science itself ebbs and flows. Science has always been this way, but we’ve never before had the ability to communicate it as fast as it happens.
We’re all concerned about COVID-19. Whether or not you’re one of the people who are buying out all the toilet paper on the eastern seaboard, we here at Usagi Medical Group would urge everyone to try to put their anxieties in check when it comes to COVID-19 and what it might do to the local convention scene. Panic seems almost reasonable these days, but panic creates more trouble than it solves.
The only thing that we can predict about COVID-19 is that we can’t predict much. This is a novel virus, and while the scientific community is discovering an amazing amount of information very rapidly, our society and this virus move even faster.
Fire alarms go off. Evacuations happen. How do you prevent your disaster from turning into another disaster? If you run a convention, you’ve got to have a disaster plan. As a convention organizer, the responsibility lies with you to always be a step or two ahead, to build and regularly exercise a plan in conjunction with your venue and local law enforcement. Disaster planning: it’s the right thing to do.
Assessment and Planning
We at Usagi Medical Group have been there and done that. From vulnerability assessment and plan writing, to training, implementation, and revision. We’ve been studying mass gatherings and disasters for decades. We are familiar with common pinch points, pitfalls, and cautionary tales. We’ve constructed plans that have been used with great success. And even when things go really well, we assess afterwards and make improvements and adjustments.
Drill and Train
You can write the greatest plan in the world, but if you don’t continually train and drill your plan, no one will know what to do in an emergency. Training doesn’t have to be a big deal or a downer, it can be short, fun reminders of what to do when you-know-what hits the oscillating unit. You’ll notice that we don’t get into specifics here, because your needs are going to differ based on your event, and are influenced by your specific convention culture, your venue, and current events, and may require change from year to year.