Tools, Trainings, and Partnerships Highlight 2019 SAFE Conference

With a hotel ballroom full of bed bugs, legionella, and cannabis, what could go wrong?!

Those discussions were just the “under card” at California Hotel & Lodging Association’s annual SAFE Conference Sept. 19 at the expansive Hilton Anaheim. More than 130 attendees engaged in roundtables, heard keynote presentations, learned about nuts-n-bolts training opportunities and shared best practices as part of the hotel industry’s commitment to the safety of its guests, its employees and its communities.

“Every year, we gain new knowledge that helps keep our hotels among the safest industries in California,” said Lynn S. Mohrfeld, CHLA President and CEO, who hosted the annual day-long conference. “And, every year, we see how dedicated our members are to protecting their people and their property.”

SAFE’s top topics captured the seriousness of worldwide issues manifesting themselves in populous destinations such as California: “Soft Targets & Crowded Places;” “Managing Homelessness;” and “Risk Assessment for Human Trafficking.” Keynote speakers highlighted increasing protections against terrorism and managing the daily challenge of street behavior as growing issues hotels are addressing to remain safe.

Knowing how to balance the safety of guests with the rights of people with mental illness, drug and alcohol addictions, and without shelter who enter hotel properties drew the attention of many attendees.

“Working with your law enforcement partners is critical, but we have to engage with legislators and regulators so our community addresses these issues as they are not unique to hotels and entertainment venues,” said Arthur Dennis, Director of Safety and Security at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, The JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live and The Ritz-Carlton Residences.

Department of Homeland Security Protective Security Advisor Brian Keith echoed Dennis’ comments: “It’s vital that the public and private sectors collaborate to enhance security of locations such as hotels, restaurants and special event venues.” Keith offered numerous training programs for hotels provided by DHS and law enforcement agencies.

Attendees were encouraged to engage with elected officials and regulators at every level of government to proactively protect communities and hotels. Building those relationships can help provide lawmakers with knowledge about the impact their decisions have on hotels, big and small.

Guests heard about new or updated laws changing how every California hotel operates as they address compliances for Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program, Automated External Defibrillators, Prop 65 signage, human trafficking training, marijuana laws, and law enforcement requests.

“Understanding how these rules and every mandate applies to your hotel is not optional,’’ said Todd Seiders, Director of Risk Management for Petra Risk Solutions. 

For more information about California hotel safety and training programs, please visit https://calodging.com and log in to the members’ only area.