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When Safety Trumps Privacy

Personal data/privacy has been a growing concern over recent years. At times, in the event industry, we may become too concerned regarding requesting information from our attendees. This is especially true when it comes to emergency contact information. At Event Marketing Partners, we believe it should be a ‘Best Practice’ to secure this type of data from attendees for all events.

As we are all well-aware, “the devil is in the details” when it comes to orchestrating an event and a plan should be in place for any medical emergencies. A key component of which needs to be emergency contact information. In the Fall of 2016, we had two events where, unfortunately, personal health emergencies took place (Note: both individuals ended up being fine).

In the first instance, the client was reluctant to request emergency contact information due to concerns over requesting too much personal data. To make a long story short, this meant that we needed to contact the attendee’s coworkers who then had to reach out to their corporate office to secure both the name and phone number of the individual’s partner. Once we spoke, we were able to gather pertinent medical information and relay it to medical staff. Fortunately, in this case, the issue was not life-threatening and the delay did not have a negative impact.

Emergency contact information was readily available for the second medical emergency. We were able to communicate to EMS that there were no pre-existing conditions we were aware of and family members of the attendee were in touch with the hospital staff within 30 minutes of requesting medical assistance.

At EMP, we respect and understand the need for privacy of personal data and ensure that emergency contact information is both encrypted and accessible by appropriate events staff. We recommend that this is communicated to all attendees when such information is requested.

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