Stadium & Arena Security

The director of the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management outlines strategies for overall security planning and implementing management systems


Evacuation Plan
It is recommended that the CP develop clearly-defined emergency and evacuation procedures and plans to outline specific procedures, shelter-in-place evacuation and partial or full evacuations. Once this takes place, regular exercises with facility employees can test these response plans. This will ensure that adequate resources are available to implement the plans and verify that all operating units can implement their responsibilities according to the plans. The administration should consider at least one emergency drill prior to or early in the season and conduct regular reviews to ensure that they remain accurate, workable and current.

After-Action Reviews
It is important to critique all the safety and security activities/incidents. Prepare written reports and incorporate the reviews into the existing plans. An effective sport event security management system will require the involvement and commitment of many agencies and individuals, including volunteers, public agencies and outsourced contractors. It is imperative that the security staff, law enforcement, emergency management and response professionals work together. This teamwork will result in a cohesive, mature and efficient problem-solving environment.

Management Systems
The other aspect of the strategy to secure stadiums and arenas is the implementation of management systems and processes which will protect assets — human and otherwise — to the highest possible degree. The ultimate result and capability will be to detect potential threats, delay attacks on assets and mitigate consequences of an incident, therefore minimizing casualties.

The SESA Seal
The Center for Spectator Sports Security Management at The University of Southern Mississippi encourages the Sport Event Security Aware (SESA) Seal of Approval (as seen on the cover of this issue). This seal can be achieved at every stadium and arena that has a security management system in place. The requirement for the seal includes four processes:

• Assessment: The external vulnerability assessment or self-assessment should include a review of the department’s policies and procedures, physical protection systems, game-day operational plan, emergency response plan, evacuation plan and recovery plan.
• Training: The training should include multi-agency training for all key managers, orientation and training of game-day personnel, team training and role orientation of members of the emergency response team.
• Exercises: The exercises and practice should include annual game-day operations simulations, an emergency response disaster drill, an evacuation plan drill and a leadership response team drill.
• Review: An annual external event security review should include countermeasures, recommendations and improvement plans.
Taking the lead and securing your sport venues with an effective security management system helps sport venues fulfill moral and legal responsibility to protect spectators, competitors, employees, the community and the environment; reduces exposure to civil or criminal liability in the event of an incident; enhances a venue’s image and credibility with spectators, competitors, employees, suppliers and the community; and reduces venue insurance premiums. ?

Dr. Lou Marciani is the director of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Spectator Sports Security Management. He has served as athletic director at several universities and executive director of several national sports governing bodies. He is the principal investigator of DHS grants to conduct vulnerability assessments and game-day audits of university sport venues, develop a simulation system for stadium evacuations, implement a national pilot for sport venue safety and security and design, develop and implement a national risk management certification for sports events.