Planning a special event or meeting has gotten more complicated in recent years. Not only do organizations have to ensure the logistics and content provided during the event is of value to the audience, they must consider the safety all of attendees. Why? Because aggressive behavior turning into violence has become more and more commonplace.
Before opening the doors and allowing people to file into an event, be sure to prepare for the worst-case scenario by:
- Assessing all possible attendees
- Selecting a secure physical venue
- Making sure all personnel is ready to act
Assess the Level of Threat
When it comes to the safety of attendees, always weigh the risks against the costs. This means determining the level of security needed and planning accordingly.
Consider these questions to fully determine if there could be potentially aggressive behavior from invited or “uninvited” guests:
- Are there disgruntled employees currently or recently let go from the organization?
- Does an employee have a domestic situation that may lead to violence?
- Is the subject matter of the event controversial?
- Is the speaker/presenter(s) controversial or associated with a controversial issue?
- Is there political unrest in the area?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, be prepared with extra security safeguards and personnel.
Chose the Venue Wisely
In light of the recent active killer situation in Las Vegas NV, it’s easy to play “Monday Morning Quarterback” and say the outside concert venue was ripe for a mass shooter. The reality is, aggressive behavior can take place anywhere, at any time. This is why meeting and special event planners must start thinking like these individuals when choosing location. To be as proactive as possible consider:
- How secure or protected is the physical structure and/or outside space?
- Who are the attendees? (e.g. if attendees of the event are elderly, will they be able to navigate steps to escape an aggressive attacker?)
- Are exits clearly marked and clear for a mass exodus?
These are just a couple of things to consider with determining location. When it comes to minimizing fatalities and saving lives, nothing is more powerful than prevention. However, during the event it is essential that planners, security personnel and all attendees are aware of their surroundings and listen to their gut instinct.
Practice Situational Awareness
It’s one thing to know there is a potential for violence and another to sense the potential for violence. As human beings we all possess intuition and that not-so-pleasant feeling that makes the hairs stand on end. The key is to harness these self-preserving signals that something is not quite right and be ready to act upon them. This is where situational awareness comes into play.
- Be fully present in your environment (e.g. locate the closest exit)
- Watch for and access potential threats (e.g. be aware when the tone of the event becomes tense/uncomfortable)
- Observe, orient, decide, then act
Overall, trust your gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t! If someone becomes verbally or physically aggressive, be ready to RUN | HIDE | FIGHT.
Is Your Special Event Prepared for Aggressive Behavior?
SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can help you be as prepared as possible for your next special event. We can provide security assessments of the venue and teach you a new way of thinking and behaving that helps de-escalate and/or prevent aggressive behavior during the event. Contact us or call 330-255-1101 to schedule your Physical Security/Vulnerability Assessment and/or Aggressive Behavior Awareness at Special Events Training today.