Many modern public venues face a variety of security concerns that they need to consider when holding any kind of event or game. Terrorism is near top of the list, but it is certainly not the only threat that can jeopardize the safety of visitors and employees. Many of these concerns can be addressed or minimized by designing the structure and operational procedures to enhance overall safety. In fact, many larger stadiums and venues work with a team of security professionals to analyze and improve safety on site.
The high profile and large crowds of larger stadiums not only draw the attention of potential fans, but also that of violent extremists. Explosions cause chaos, fear and widespread destruction, which puts them high on the list of security concerns facing these venues. Visible long lines outside of the entrance are more attractive to terrorists than shorter ones, according to some industry experts. Since conventional screening processes are able to detect most explosive devices, they are usually detonated outside of the building at either the entrance or exit. Limiting the number of people who are at either location at one time can make the site less appealing to terrorists.
Attempted Assault or Murder
Despite rigorous screening processes, it’s still possible for members of the audience to become dangerously violent with their fists or a weapon. That’s why a force of security guards equipped with non-deadly weapons can be invaluable for maintaining the safety of fans. Private security forces are not always required to receive formal training, so stadium managers are encouraged to vet their personnel carefully before hiring them. Well-trained, professional security guards can also help guests evacuate the structure if needed and assist with other emergency scenarios as they arise.
Earthquakes are among the most devastating natural disasters that can strike a stadium, and they can do so with little to no warning at all. Structures in areas with high seismic activity, like many parts of California, should be built to accommodate sizable tremors. These stadiums should also have a detailed and tested process for evacuating guests from the structure if dangerous tremors do occur. On-site management must be able to recognize when it is no longer safe for the audience to remain and how to get them out quickly and safely.
Theft and Vandalism
Most stadiums offer a wide range of products, food and beverages to customers on site. This means that there are many employees who operate registers or otherwise conduct transactions with customers, which opens up an opportunity for would-be thieves. This is just one of the security concerns that prompt stadiums to install a comprehensive video surveillance system throughout the building. These records not only help protect the audience, they are also a deterrent to individuals considering inappropriate activity. Video cameras are also useful when attempting to identify someone who defaced or damaged stadium property during off-hours.
Contamination of Food or Water
Explosives and attacks with a physical weapon are the most obvious types of security threats facing stadiums, but the presence of a pathogen or poison can be just as devastating. Quality control and monitoring of products is advised for any stadium that serves food or drink to customers. The threat of biological or chemical weapons is very real, but it’s also possible for contagions or toxic substances to contaminate the facility on accident. A single case of food poisoning could lead to a costly law suit and public relations nightmare.
It may not be possible to make a stadium 100 percent safe, but there are many ways to increase overall safety for everyone inside. Stadium operators should talk to security and safety experts, and considering hiring a team to test the safeguards that are currently in place. Critical and creative thinking are both essential for addressing the main security concerns faced by stadiums and other popular attractions.