When a tragic situation unfolds such as the deaths and injuries following the bomb explosions at the Boston Marathon last week, it is only natural for those cities which have upcoming marathons to show extra vigilance in preparing for their events. It is a common spike in attention to detail that, while always present, goes up an extra notch.
Not surprisingly, it is also during these times that security companies offering explosive detection, building guards and other safety measures see an increase in business as they reinforce the message for keeping guests safe. Global Information Inc., which provides market research on the global security industry, said the private security industry was already projected to increase 5 percent annually to an estimated $63.8 billion in 2016, and that the events in Boston could spur even faster growth.
Venues that have balanced all-hazards plans that consist of protective measures, emergency response and recovery operations are best prepared for bad things that might happen.
“It is a reality in our country that the interest in protecting infrastructure along with those inside them increases following a tragic event such as the Boston Marathon bombings, then decreases in interest as evidenced by state, local, and federal budget cuts between catastrophic events,” said Mark Camillo, senior vice president – strategic planning for Contemporary Services Corporation.
Camillo said that in the private sector, security is often viewed as a liability since it is difficult to translate preventative and protective measures into successful outcomes. “The truth of the matter is we’ll never know exactly how many acts of criminality, targeted violence and terrorism have been deterred by security operations in action, but common sense will tell you that if you have a heavy response element and a light prevention element, then responding is the likely outcome.
“Venues that have balanced, all-hazards plans that consist of protective measures, emergency response and recovery operations are best prepared for bad things that might happen.”
Steve Zito, a long-time venue manager who now serves as president of sports and entertainment for Andy Frain Services, noted that since the terrorism in Boston there has been an increase in providing facility screening services and additional security officers for some customers, including not only the sports and entertainment division, but also the commercial security, transportation and retail security areas.
Zito added that with the threat of terrorism on the rise more and more venues are seeking companies that are SAFETY Act Certified, which basically eliminates the massive liability that could arise out of a terrorist attack for sellers whose anti-terror products or services have been reviewed and approved by the Department of Homeland Security.
“There is new industry awareness for the mission critical value and overall risk protection for venues and events to only utilize companies that are certified for the provision of their event security services,” Zito said.
The Federal government passed the SAFETY Act a year after 9/11 to “encourage the development and deployment of anti-terrorism services and technologies that will substantially enhance the protection of the nation.
“Our customers know that they have a substantial basis to avoid and/or limit tort liability arising out of a covered act of terrorism involving our security services,” said Zito, whose company received SAFETY Act coverage in 2006 and renewed in 2011.
As with 9/11, the Boston Marathon was another example to warn against complacency when it comes to events and security.
“The number one threat to a resilient security operation is always complacency,” said Camillo. “We owe it to all those in attendance at a public event to provide them with a safe and secure environment that has an exercised contingency plan ready to go should needed.”