Manchester: A Message From VMA Chair, Steve Harper CFE

On the final day of this week’s Asia Pacific Venue Industry Congress in Sydney, the VMA learned of the unfolding tragedy in Manchester. The VMA formally acknowledged the incident at the beginning of our annual Gala Dinner by respectfully asking the 350 attending guests to pause for a minute’s silence.

As VMA Members return to their venues after one of VMA’s most successful annual congresses, we extend our thoughts and prayers to our Manchester Arena venue management friends in the aftermath of the recent terror in the United Kingdom.

With the heightened security environment and awareness globally, we encourage venue management professionals in the Asia Pacific region to review and assess their emergency management preparedness and procedures in light of the horrific recent events.

VMA members operate or work closely within a wide variety of venues which attract mass gatherings of people. As we know, patrons routinely attend our venues to participate in a wide variety of events including sport, entertainment, culture, arts, business to business, and business to consumer events.

Our members operate venues in regional and metropolitan areas, with audiences ranging from a handful of people to over 100,000 people. We work closely with law enforcement and emergency agencies, and as such, it’s a timely reminder that we review and assess our current emergency preparedness, and where appropriate, with relevant local, state, national and international agencies.

It’s also important that our members assess their events in liaison with promoters, presenters, producers, organizers and others that supply popular content for our venues. All events should be assessed using professionally recognized risk management protocols whilst taking into consideration liaison with emergency management agencies where relevant.

The VMA is affiliated with the IAVM, and as such we support and agree with the recent comments of IAVM Chair, Mark Mettes CFE, who said “We must recognize through this tragedy the importance of individual and institutional preparedness. In these times, we must remind ourselves of our personal responsibilities at our venues. Please make time to review your own Emergency Evacuation Plans and any Emergency Procedures your venue has for Staff. If your venue doesn’t have these plans or procedures, I strongly encourage you to reach out to the leadership of your venue and do your part in taking the necessary steps toward preparedness”.

As VMA members, our prayers and thoughts are with our venue colleagues in the United Kingdom as well as with all of the people touched by the horrific events experienced in recent days.