SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2018

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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January 2018 14 t GAME Plan 120 workshops—funded by FEMA and DHS every year—around the country and it also provides training to approximately 190 countries. The newest addition to the center is the National Sport Security Laboratory (NSSL), which was established in 2010 in a response to help validate and vet new technologies on the market. The lab is constantly investigating current threats to venues and the technology available—or needed—to help close the gaps. The lab also offers the lab-tested designation to technologies it deems beneficial, once tested. "We want to make sure we are educating people on technology and getting them the right technology," Ward said. "Everything we do is centered around people, process and technologies." NCS4 is also home to many safety and security best practices across four specific sports areas: professional sports safety and security, collegiate, interscholastic sports and endurance events. NCS4 makes information available on its website and it encourages groups across the world to take advantage of its expertise and information. "We try to be a resource to support, facil- itate and foster continuous improvement in sports and entertainment safety and security," said Ward. "Now, after all of the tragedies we've seen, you're having to look at safety and security from so many more angles. You have to consider much more." In that, Ward noted, venues and des- tinations have to find the right balance between protecting people and allowing them enough freedom and space to enjoy the event. "That's difficult," he said. "You want the event to be open and inviting but, at the same time, you want them to be safe. It's a challenge because you don't want to violate the participants' or attendees' privacy or intrude upon their experience but you need the right technology to protect them. It's very difficult for anyone putting on an event to stay ahead of the curve with that." The best way to attempt to stay ahead of the curve, Ward said, is staying in tune with what is happening globally. "A lot of the time, what we see happening overseas eventually makes its way here," he said. "And then you must have an awareness of what is going on around your event that could cause controversy. Then try to forecast through a threat and vulnerability assessment what your specific threats and vulnerabilities are. No two events or venues are the same, so the risks will be different." Even when knowing the potential risks, it can be overwhelming to put an effective safety plan together but it's critical that ven- ues and destinations make the effort to do so. "You have to start somewhere," Ward said. "You can sit and talk about every neg- ative that could happen but you have to take the steps to continuously improve. And we look at ourselves as a resource in helping people do that. We are constantly looking at the problems of today to try to forecast the solutions of tomorrow." For more information about The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, and the National Sport Security Laboratory, visit n ONE CITY great COLUMBUS, GEORGIA P.O. Box 1519 | Columbus, GA 31902 706.660.1996 Columbus Aquatic Center Columbus Civic Center • Columbus Ice Rink Columbus Convention & Trade Center FOR EVERY SPORT A GREAT VENUE South Commons Softball Complex Cooper Creek Tennis Chattahoochee River Historic Golden Park Columbus State University Woodruff Farm Soccer Complex A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium RiverCenter for the Performing Arts Flat Rock Park PLUS SO MANY MORE VENUES

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