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Public Event Security: How To Prepare For An Active Shooter

The news of mass shootings has become a far too frequent trend in society. The terror attack on citizens in France, and most recently the nightclub mass shooting in Orlando are examples that public event venues are vulnerable to acts of life-threatening violence. After such incidents the issue of public event security has gained national attention. How can public venues prepare against active shooter attacks? This blog will cover the profile of active shooters, their weapon of choice, and how to prepare an Emergency Plan of Action against active shooters.


What Is The Profile Of An Active Shooter


According to the Department of Homeland Security:

  • An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.
  • Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Active shooter situations often last 10 to 15 minutes and are over before law enforcement has time to arrive on the scene.


The Weapon Of Choice For Active Shooters


The Orlando shooter used a Sig Sauer AR-15 rifle, a weapon that has been used by many active shooters in the past. The AR-15 rifle was developed by former Marine Eugene Stoner in the 1950s and sold through a company called ArmaLite. AR-15-style rifles come in many shapes and sizes and have high capacity for ammo. They can be modified with various add-ons such as silencers.


The Risks To Public Event Venues


There are many risks that go into planning a public event. The following are risks all venue owners and event planners should take into consideration:


Location– Is the public event located in an area with a high crime rate? Is it located in an area that sees a lot of traffic? This info can help you determine the amount of security staff needed and whether to use armed or unarmed guards for a public event.


Entrance Screening– Is there someone to screen guests as they enter? Security staff should be stationed at the entrance and depending on the type of event, guests might be asked to present the contents of any backpacks or purses before they’re granted access into the venue. If checking bags fails to stop a firearm coming into the event, trained security staff will know how to react during an active shooter attack.


Number of Attendees– Will the event have hundreds or thousands attending? Screening thousands of people can be a challenge no matter how much staff you have. Metal detectors can be an effective way to screen for weapons and speed up entrance to the public. Metal detectors can be expensive, but it’s an investment that could save hundreds of lives.


Event Monitoring– Depending on the size of the crowds or the value of the equipment, a single public event may require camera surveillance. If there will not be camera surveillance then security guards will need to be used.


How To Prepare For An Active Shooter

Emergency Action Plan (EAP) – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends training your staff for an active shooter situation and having an EAP in place. According to the Department of Homeland security an EAP consists of:


–       A preferred method for the reporting of fires and various emergencies

–       An evacuation policy and procedure

–       Detailed emergency escape procedures and route assignments (escape routes, floor plans, safe areas)

–       Contact information for individuals to be contacted under the EAP, including their responsibilities

–       Information about local area hospitals (name, phone number, and distance from your event)

–       An emergency notification system (this can include email or text message) to alert various parties of an emergency including:

– Individuals at remote locations within premises

– Local law enforcement

– Local area hospitals


For more information on creating an EAP contact the U.S. Department of Labor, or the Occupational Health and Safety Administration at Visit our website to learn more about our security services or contact us at 305.418.9214.






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