Brighton 1984 – a bomb explodes in the hotel where Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet are staying for the Conservative Party conference, five people are killed. Seattle 1999 – massive and violent demonstrations erupt at the WTO Ministerial Conference resulting in what is later dubbed “the Battle of Seattle”. Rosemont, Illinois 2014 – nineteen people are hospitalized after a chlorine gas attack at a Midwest convention.
Conferences, like any other large gathering of people, constitute a security risk for participants. Thankfully most conferences pass without much more trouble than a spot of traffic delay, and perhaps some food poisoning caused by bad shrimp. But once in a while the unthinkable happens. Political tension can explode into riots or violent protests, and few have probably missed that international terrorism is a growing threat. The risk associated with large gatherings has been showed not least by incidents at global sporting events such as the Boston marathon bombing of 2013, and the targeting of the Stade de France football stadium in the Paris attacks of November 2015.
So what can you do? It is hard, even impossible, to protect yourself against the threat of terrorism, or against protests suddenly turning violent. Where and when an attack occurs cannot be predicted, but when it does – information is crucial. Fast and correct information helps people on the ground feel safe, and enables them to make the right decisions.
We are therefore proud to start a cooperation with MCI – who’s been organizing events and congresses since 1987 all across the world – in order to bring some peace of mind to travellers visiting conferences. This year we are offering our app Safeture for free before, during and after four major health congresses. WCC in Mexico City was first out, followed now by EULAR in London June 8-11. Later we will also offer the app in connection to OHBM in Geneva and WCA in Hong Kong. In total over 35 000 people will be able to download the app for free.
The Safeture app by GWS provides travel risk alerts on iPhone and Android platforms. If you are visiting any of the congresses above – we can’t promise the scrimp are safe, but hopefully your free Safeture trial will bring some peace of mind and increase your personal security during your congress.