The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and independent security leaders agree that stadiums and event facilities in the United States could serve as attractive targets for terrorism. These facilities also face unique risks such as hooliganism, stampeding, and a higher likelihood of disorderly behavior affecting safety on a large scale. Yet, event venues have largely avoided regulation. The United Kingdom has several national laws and best practices impacting this space, but the United States has not followed suit.
Individual event and sporting organizations maintain their own sets of standards for safety, as do the venues themselves. But U.S. legislators have not seen fit to mandate security for public events and facilities. Instead, the DHS has spent the last six years working with industry organizations to provide training and tools that give these facilities and their managers a better shot at meeting best practices.
In 2005, DHS, in partnership with the International Association of Assembly Managers (www.iaam.org), launched an online tool intended to help stadiums with large seating capacity assess and address their own vulnerabilities. It takes an all-hazards approach and includes such topics as information security, physical assets, communication security and personnel security. This tool was built on best practices guidance developed by IAAM. DHS has also provided grants to organizations to provide training to venue managers on security and safety issues.
Other organizations to turn to for best practices, training and guidance include the National Center for Spectator Sport Safety & Security (www.ncs4.com/about.php), otherwise known as NCS4, which is a project of the University of Southern Mississippi. NCS4 offers a certificate program in sports security management, regular workshops, and the Sport Event Security Aware program, which presents venues with a Seal of Approval upon completion.
In the absence of regulation, venues and their managers should take advantage of all the guidance and training offered to them. If they don't, and a major event occurs, it's certain that new rules will be right around the corner.
Marleah Blades is senior editor for the Security Executive Council (www.securityexecutivecouncil.com/?sourceCode=std), which provides strategy, insight and resources to risk mitigation decision makers. The Council incorporates input from all industry segments into proven practices to provide an array of options that solve pressing issues. With a faculty of more than 100 successful experienced security executives, we work one-on-one with Tier 1 Security Leaders(tm) to help them reduce risk and add to corporate profitability in the process. To learn about becoming involved, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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