SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2018

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January 2018 12 t GAME Plan We can all think of an example. The Boston Marathon bombing. The 1996 Olympic pipe bombing in Atlanta. The stadium explosion in Paris during a soccer match. And, of course, the recent Las Vegas concert attack. While not a sporting event, it is a prime example of the increasing threat of tragedy and the very real struggle to keep events safe. So, with the potential risks greater than ever, how do organizers and destinations best plan the safety and security of an event? Security plans today have to be much more thorough than ever before. "You have to be prepared for everything," said Beth Gendler, vice presi- dent of sales for the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission. "It's easy to think that it would never happen in your city or town but the reality is that things can happen anywhere. It's typical to more frequently look at weather-related issues or potential accidents because of the sport but you have to consider other risks, like terror- ism, and be prepared for all of it." Being prepared means making sure officials and volunteers involved with the sporting event know precisely what to do if an accident does occur and act instead of react, Gendler said. For exam- ple, with a cycling event held in the area, the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission provides volunteers on the bike route with instruction cards that explain what to do in the event of an emer- gency. "It's good to make sure an order is in place in case of an emergency," Gendler said. "We make sure that everyone knows ahead of time who is responsible for com- municating information to various groups. A communication plan like that is needed so that you aren't running around in an emergency trying to figure out what to do. And then you have to be sure if an emer- gency does happen that everyone sticks to the plan. Sometimes that can be hard when accidents do happen." Knowing who to communicate with during an event is crucial, added Trey Glover, park operations manager for the Spartanburg County (S.C.) Parks Department. The department has multi- ple facilities used throughout the year for sporting events and having a plan in place well ahead of time is crucial before each event comes to town. "Having the commu- nication aspect established ahead of time takes the thinking process out of the way if an emergency does occur," he said. "That makes the reaction more second nature ver- sus trying to scramble around to figure out what to do." Part of creating that emergency plan is making sure all of the right people are involved with the planning from the start. The Snohomish County (Wash.) Sports Commission starts host- ing local organizing committee meetings months in advance and numerous city officials are invited to the table from the very beginning. "Our committee has the city officials on board so that they are there to discuss all aspects of safety so that we can best ensure the safety of athletes and spectators," said Tammy Dunn, the commission's sports development director. "We have everyone look at the venue or space the event will be hosted and get their thoughts on what they see and any input they have to make the space safer. That's invaluable." The Atlantic City (N.J.) Sports Commission sits down with city munici- pality leaders—including the chief of fire, chief of police, chief of emergency medical services, beach patrol and the city's risk manager—every other week, which ensures everyone is on the same page before an event is hosted. "At each meeting we dis- cuss the events coming up and talk about anything that could have an impact on it, whether in a positive or negative way," said Daniel Gallagher, the commission's nation- al sales manager. "We want everyone on the same page and everyone to know what is going on." Having city officials and others within the first-responder community involved in event planning can also mean taking advantage of trained experts who are pre- pared for any emergency thrown their way. SAFETY & SECURITY How Do You Keep Events Safe? BY PAIGE TOWNLEY

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