How can we protect ourselves from these situations? It all begins with planning. I am a proponent of the National Incident Management System. Utilizing NIMS brings most parties to the table to discuss all known problems and issues. We also will have joint efforts in place to handle any problems that come up. Issues are: who will be there? Is the event dealing with a hot topic or, simply a meeting to bring the community up to date about the actions of our elected officials? During the planning stages insure duties and responsibilities; and answer the question in advance - are our actions within the confines of local, state, federal guidelines, and ultimately the constitution?