Lifesaver: The Value of Safety and Emergency Preparedness Training for Hotel Staff

By John Welty Practice Leader, SUITELIFE, Venture Insurance Programs | September 02, 2018

The hotel industry is no stranger to emergency situations. From active shooters and terrorist attacks, to weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes, hotels often play host to a variety of unwelcome events that can endanger guests and employees and wreak havoc on operations, facilities and reputations. Though these events occur without warning, that doesn't necessarily mean hotel owners and their staff have to face these situations unprepared.

Proper training and a good emergency preparedness plan can be literally a lifesaver in navigating a crisis situation. Too often, when there is an emergency, fear takes over and people don't know how to react or forget how to respond appropriately. Having well-trained employees and a plan in place for before, during and after an emergency, and testing that plan frequently can ensure that employees are better prepared when faced with such an event.

Whether its removing potential projectiles from the hotel's pool decks before a hurricane's high winds or performing CPR on a guest immediately after a pool accident, regular appropriate staff training can influence positive outcomes. However, key to that phrase is the word "appropriate." Staff training must be done right and in many cases, the best way to make sure individuals are trained correctly in emergency preparedness is to work with outside vendors with specific areas of expertise when it comes to safety.

Consider the horrific event that happened at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas last year. Tragically, 57 people were killed and 500 injured by an active shooter, but employees who had emergency training stayed on task and helped bring the situation to an end before gunman Stephen Paddock could do even more damage. In this case, it was an unarmed security guard, Jesus Campos, who was able to think on his feet during the crisis. He traced the sounds of gunfire to Paddock's floor and provided police with key passes to enter doorways, according to the Huffington Post.

Although this is an extreme situation, this story demonstrates the importance of an employee being able to navigate an emergency situation and respond appropriately. Hotels need to have safety preparedness plans in place whether they are designed to address an extreme event like an active shooter or on a smaller scale, a guest accident. Risk management experts and leaders in emergency preparedness like the American Red Cross can help hoteliers get their staffs prepared to handle a variety of emergency situations.

Training for the Unthinkable

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