At VenueConnect 2017, venue managers attended numerous educational sessions to discuss safety and security techniques, and the technology that can enhance them. These sessions included highly trained, respected, and educated experts serving on panels, which focused on threats venues face, technology to be considered, security policies and protocols, and the ways ordinary, good people can help combat the terroristic threats.
Alternative Security Measures and Trends that Impact Your Emergency Preparedness Planning
Tuesday kicked off with Alternative Security Measures and Trends, and venue managers gathered to hear what panelists Matt Bettenhausen, Senior Vice President and Chief of Security for AEG Worldwide, Special Agent Adriaan Valk, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Memphis Division, & Chad Ludkey, Director of Public Safety for Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena had to say about the planning that should be incorporated in all venue’s security and safety protocols.
“Planning has to be a whole event,” said Bettenhausen, advocating that the same amount of detail that goes into the event should also be put into your security protocol, before and after the event.
“It’s about keeping your perimeter set until the end of the event,” said Ludkey.
Special Agent Valk expressed the importance of having a plan and working with your staff to make sure they know the correct protocols for every threat.
“Know your plan, test your plan, and work with your local enforcement,” he said, “and work with the FBI when appropriate.”
“Your best friend,” said Bettenhausen, will be “immediate, honest communication with your public. Eighty (80) percent of cases came from citizens reporting suspicious action to law enforcement.”
Featured Speaker: Stephen Rees
“The number one thing,” said Agent Rees, “the FBI has found that can combat these threats is good people.” Even with strides in artificial intelligence, having good people on your staff can be more effective than the latest security technologies.
“If you hire good people and train good people, they will be highly effective, they will make good decisions, and solve problems before you have to think about it.”
Agent Rees mentioned the 2013 Navy Yard shooting and how “good people with sound training” were the only reason casualties from that horrific day weren’t even higher.
“We live in a time that is more dangerous than ever,” said Agent Rees, and the audience sighed in agreement. Rees mentioned the numerous threats our country faces today—ISIS, Russia, and North Korea to name a few. “Street gangs, trans-national gangs, organized crimes, cyber hackers—all may disrupt your business today.”
No longer are the days where our fight against terrorism happened overseas. Technology has allowed terrorists to recruit and bring panic to our front door. Rees went on to explain how groups like ISIS recruit, radicalize, and operationalize people across the world through “social media”.
“People are able to share technology at a rate,” said Agent Rees, “that we as the government, and as security professionals, cannot control.” Once information is released on the internet, it can never be truly removed. Terrorists may make targeting packages, using open source information, to plan plots and cause destruction and fear.
So what can we do?
Find good people, train them, and build a network with other trained individuals across the community. Rees advised venue mangers to be well educated in security threats and to use technology (face recognition, communication support systems) to their advantage.
Taking advantage of educational opportunities can help venues do just that, and more.
Patron Safety – Being Prepared for Medical Emergencies at Your Venue
Like the saying goes, the show must go on, but in case of a medical emergency, Brian Higgins, CCP, Critical Care Paramedic with Vanderbilt LifeFlight, discussed the policies and procedures that venue mangers could execute in critical moments.
“You need a plan for being overwhelmed,” said Higgins. Knowing your venues’ communication capabilities and having access to security (in house or local) is vital. You should take notes of the type of event you’ll be hosting—how many people will be there, what’s the age group, will alcohol be served, what will the weather be like, etc.
But how do we deal with medical emergencies without distracting the other attendees?
“Maintain the integrity of the event, if possible,” said Higgins, “but the patient always comes first.” He advised people to be quick, yet thorough, to have and know their medical emergency protocol, and to care for the patient until trained professionals get to the scene. Higgins then cut to live footage of him and another team member removing a patient that was unable to leave her chair, using a Megamover Stair Chair, showing members how to properly attend to an ailing patient without disturbing the crowd.
Those portable transport bags, along with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and first aid kits, are important for venue mangers to have in case of a medical emergencies. Higgins stressed that a venue having its own medical team is ideal, but if they can’t, those tools would assist and provide aid until help arrived.
With any emergency, whether medical or terroristic, it’s important to see the signs and act accordingly, but in order to do that, you must be prepared mentally.
Former law enforcement officer and IAVM Director of Education, Mark Herrera, captivated his audience with intense Situational Awareness-Mindset training. Herrera’s background relies heavily in security; he has trained individuals from the Dallas Cowboys and American Airlines, but now spends his time developing and implementing security policies and procedures and instructing security awareness programs.
His session began with a simple question: Could [Herrera] get into in a stadium at any given time and make it to the field without being stopped?
His response: Absolutely.
Herrera argued that simple observation was key when it came to protecting venues from that type of security breach, as well as working and training good people to recognize the signs.
“If in your emergency protocols,” said Herrera, “you put the importance and the value in your front line staff and those folks that work in that outer perimeter, which is the station area for some really bad things, to where you provided them with the training and the level of expertise and show them how valuable they are in managing that outer perimeter, to where they see that anomalous behavior, to capture it, immediately communicate, then you have procedures in place to start secure your entire environment. That would stop me.”
Herrera continued his session by having a slideshow of various security breaches and explained in each one where the victim or staff went wrong. He advised security staff to be alert and ready at all times, to take notice of the surroundings, and find every possible exit (or entrance) in a place. He encouraged the audience to find the “anomalous behavior” as he showed pictures of various evets that had violent endings.
By the end of his discussion, audience members left feeling inspired, a little nervous, but better prepared to face the infinite threats. No venue is completely secure from an attack, but Herrera promised that, “we’re going to make it a little more difficult for the threat to breach our environment.”
“Security measures are a Band-Aid,” said Herrera, “but a much needed Band-Aid.”
Safety and Security: What’s in Your Bag?
With new terror tactics targeting large, public gatherings, venue mangers are looking for ways to enhance their security, without diminishing the fan experience. Panelists Jason Allen, Sales Manager for US Testing Equipment; Bruce Wagner, Senior Vice President, Branch Administration, CSC; and Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Director for Public Safety Chad Ludkey, gathered for a quick discussion on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to security technology and procedures.
“A bag policy,” said Allen, “is more important, or helpful, than getting technology.” Technology can be expensive, and without the proper training, useless and even problematic for venues. By having a bag policy, venues can eliminate potential threats while speeding up the entrance process.
“Bag searches slow down entrance time,” said Ludkey, arguing that what qualifies as a large bag can be complicated. “It’s just easier to not have them.”
Though we all want to protect our venues and use the proper security procedures to do just that, Wagner reminded the audience that we needed to keep our fan base in mind.
“Remember your fan base,” said Wagner. Most people do not like pat downs but they want to know they’re safe at a venue. “Make it as easy for the fan as possible.”
Drone Technology: Intelligent Safety and Security
A former Blackhawk flyer and lawyer, James E. Mackler, Principal, The Mackler Law Firm used his many years of experience in drone technology to explain to venue managers the legal rights of drone usage and the complications with that particular piece of technology. The discussion was a nice overview of the history of drones, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) involvement, and the legal restrictions concerning both venues and hobbyists.
Drones can be great tools when it comes to studying venue property and collect incredible footage of different events, but the legal restrictions users have to follow can be pretty unclear. What is clear for venue mangers is that they need to read and follow Part 107 of the FAA guidelines to discern limitations when flying a drone. Some of these limitations include:
- Under 55lbs
- Must be registered, marked, and inspected
- Must fly under 400ft
- Must fly at or below 100mph
- Must NOT fly over people
- Must NOT fly from a moving vehicle
Mackler did mention, however, that some restrictions can be waived depending on the situation or business reason for flying. Venues who decided to look into drone technology were also advised to check with their insurers on drone insurance.
“If you’re not sure you have it,” said Mackler, “you don’t.”
When discussing the legal issues of drone technology, Mackler talked about his case involving a Kentucky man whose drone was shot down by a neighbor that stated the aircraft was trespassing on private property. Unfortunately, the rights and obligations of drones, and the area they pass through, are unclear. The laws are so new, that no one, including our regulators or law makers, know what really qualifies as regulated or unregulated airspace—a policy that desperately needs to be sorted out.
At the end of the discussion, Mackler encouraged the audience to reach out to him if they ever had any questions regarding the confusing drone regulations. He encouraged members to have a policy set in place at their venues, to decide what they deemed appropriate that correlated with Part 107, and if your state already had laws in place to know them. Every single piece of information would be helpful to venues in the future.