Events that attract large crowds of people, such as concerts, festivals, ceremonies, expositions, and more, are intended to be enjoyable for all who attend. However, with large crowds come large security risks. Without proper security measures, tragedy can strike as it did at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, and the Waukesha, Wisconsin Parade. With any event, large or small, it is important to take important security measures to ensure that everyone is safe and can enjoy. Here are 5 important security measures to prevent a mass casualty event:
1. Assess Your Security Risks
Different events have different needs in terms of security and safety. Security needs all depend on the people attending the event, the venue, and more. Assess your security risks for the event by having your security team consider some of the following:
- Who is hosting your event?
- Who is attending your event?
- What is the context of the event?
- Who is speaking, performing, or exhibiting at the event?
- Are there any unique security risks?
- Does the venue have any security vulnerabilities?
2. Create Security Checkpoints
Strategically placed security checkpoints are crucial to securing any crowded event. A key tactic to protect people from security threats is to set up checkpoints away from entrances to the event. For example, instead of installing a checkpoint right at the main entrance, place it a few hundred feet in front of the entrance. This way, if there is an unauthorized person or threat trying to gain entry, they can be stopped before reaching the crowded entrance.
ViewScan is the perfect tool for any event security checkpoint. As an easy-to-use passive weapons detection system, ViewScan provides a speedy throughput of about 900 persons per hour, and its portability allows for a quick setup in just 15 minutes.
3. Match IDs to Registration Information
For any event, it is important to have a system in place to confirm that all who are present are officially registered to be there. Collect multiple data points like name, date of birth, and address, that can be easily matchable to a government issued ID. If someone fails to bring ID, or there are discrepancies, it is best to not let them into the event. Be sure to also have protocols in place in the case that someone fails to bring ID or their ID does not match.
4. Keep Security Equipment and Measures Visible
Staffing uniformed security guards or having security cameras in visible sight not only provides attendees with a sense of security, but it also helps maintain a zero tolerance for threats of any kind. Having visible security measures in place with a well-protected presence can help in deterring potential agitators.
5. Develop an Emergency Plan
Events take a lot of planning, and an important thing to coordinate is an emergency plan for your event. Event organizers should work with security teams and the venue to create an emergency response plan that includes:
- Evacuation plan
- Active shooter plan
- Locations of safe areas
- Staff meeting areas
- Communication plans
- Signage and notification
6. Implement a "See Something, Say Something" Campaign
While there are so many preventative measures an organization can take for an event, the most effective way of preventing tragedy is through the participation of attendees. In many instances of mass casualties around the world, such as the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas, the perpetrator had many subtle but noticeable hints that could have been stopped by the vigilance of people reporting. A “See Something, Say Something” campaign for your event could encourage attendees to speak up if they see something out of the ordinary, even for something subtle. After all, it is better to investigate something suspicious that turns out to be innocent, than to not investigate at all.
True Security Design offers effective Threat, Vulnerability, and Risk Assessments (TVRA) that help in developing a valuable emergency and security event plan. The TVRA identifies the security risks an event can face and ensures that a physical security program is designed to combat those risks. Effective security starts with a clear understanding of current vulnerabilities. Contact True Security Design to learn more about TVRA services and let us assess your strengths and weaknesses in a wide variety of scenarios to create the roadmap your event needs for safety and success!