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24/7 Software Blog

Have You Done This to Your Emergency Management Plan?

by 24/7 Software / August 12, 2014

We all have one sitting on a shelf neatly (or not) on a bookshelf, used every so often for reference and occasional training. Well, it’s time to dust off your emergency management plan binder.

Season is literally ‘round the corner. You've been preparing for the usual suspects. Wet spills, slip and falls, unruly guests, wheelchair requests. Great! Those will keep your staff plenty tied up on game day. But…

We know the summertime can be a fun part of the year, but mixed with Mother Nature it can get a little disruptive. You don’t need to be Bill Paxton or Helen Hunt to already know this.

From heavy rain to lighting ambushing your venue, the elements can tremendously affect your game day operation. Worse, the result is an unsafe environment for your staff and your valued guests. Giving your guests a legendary experience is what you’re striving for here, right?

Does your team really know what to do in the event of adverse weather? Let’s step it up a notch - how would they handle a bomb threat? How is this communicated to need-to-know staff? Are you using an incident management system to organize, track and manage these high priority incidents?

We know. We know. These protocols are clearly outlined in your emergency management plan binder. Every protocol is written, with a step by step list per incident. You do an annual training and even role-playing every 6 months.

We get it. But…

When your busy team gets sideswiped by a call for a bomb threat, are they ready? Really ready? Can they execute instantly? Can they execute flawlessly? Do you have peace of mind that in a real emergency your team can and will execute?

If part of your plan is to have someone run to your office to grab the binder, KEEP READING! If your protocols aren’t automated, KEEP READING!

An Incident Management System Completes Your Emergency Management Plan

Your emergency management plan contains the breakdown for all your protocols to handle incidents at your venue. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this information being communicated effectively to your staff when they need it?

Giving your staff the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently is the goal.

In order to gain real-time data and communication flowing throughout all your departments, you must put your incident management infrastructure in place. Real-time communication is the only way to receive real-time data. This flow is vital in an emergency.

This data is a measurement of the response times to slip and falls, how many pieces of broken equipment are reported, hotspots associated with unruly guest behavior, and medical calls that have a ripple effect throughout your operation.

An incident management system is what gives you essential information – especially if you’re running a smaller venue. Supplementing your incident management system with mobile hand-held apps will help your command center disseminate protocols to handle, when they need to be handled, and how you need them to be handled. Your front-line staff can report incidents in seconds – not minutes – directly into your incident management system.

The system isn’t merely about capturing the incident – it captures all of the actions associated with that incident AND communicates proper protocols.

Frequent incidents pose a challenge in operations. Emergencies cannot – there is no room for error. This is why your incident management infrastructure is imperative.

Severe weather is approaching. Lightning is showing on the radar 15 miles out. You need to communicate to all your game day departments - now. Timing is everything when it comes to safety of your guests. With enhanced communication you’ll be able to quickly let your staff know it’s time to execute the adverse weather protocols AND have them readily available to them. No one needs to look at the binder.

Don’t have a protocol for adverse weather conditions? This should help. (You can thank us by USING it.)

Adverse Weather Conditions Protocols for Your Plan

Event or Game Day

      1. The Command Post – upon determining that weather conditions threaten the safety of guests and participants at an event – will contact the Manager on Duty and/or the Incident Management Team and the Event Promoter (if time permits) to advise accordingly.
      2. The Command Post will advise the police department and event security to prepare to assist guests to move under shelter or to evacuate.

Move Your Guests Under Shelter

A public announcement will inform the guests of the impending situation and their option to leave the venue. Guests will be advised of safe areas to seek shelter in the venue should such areas be available.

An Evacuation Order to use this Season

A public announcement will notify the guests that a report of pending weather problems requires the event be canceled.

      1. Upon notice of evacuation all security, ushers, maintenance, police, and fire rescue personnel shall go to their assigned evacuation posts.
      2. All food and merchandise vendors shall close their stands, secure their inventory and lock their cash drawers. Upon stand closure, all vendors shall exit the venue to a specific location and assemble for headcount.

Event Staffing & Security at the Venue Gates

      1. Proceed to assigned gates as if the event were about to end, and open the gates. If a gate key is not available, one can be obtained from the event staff supervisor.
      2. Ensure that all gates are open. All turnstiles should be closed.
      3. Direct guests out of the venue and make sure that guests do not re-enter the venue.

Ushers on the Concourse

      1. Position themselves near each exit from the seating areas as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing the guests out of the venue to the closest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
      2. Upon being relieved, reassemble with supervisor at a specific location for headcount. Attendance will be taken.

Ushers at Ramps & Elevators

      1. Position themselves at each exit to the ramps as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing the guests out of the venue as quickly and efficiently as possible.
      2. Calmly advise exiting guests that the escalators will not be working during an evacuation. The ramps must be used.

Ushers in Seating Areas

      1. Respond to the front of your section as if the event has ended.
      2. Direct guests out of their seating area toward the nearest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
      3. Assist the handicapped.
      4. Advise any handicapped in your area that in case of an evacuation, the elevators will not be in service.

Event Staffing & Security on the Field

      1. Assist the police department with escorting officials from the field.
      2. Secure all playing field entrances to ground level tunnel.
      3. Ensure that no one is allowed to re-enter the playing field except authorized personnel.
      4. Upon all personnel and officials exiting the venue, and being relieved, reassemble with your supervisor for headcount.

Parking Operations

      1. Parking operations should prepare to open all exit gates as if event has ended.
      2. Parking operations should stand by for directives from the command post concerning blocking off gate(s) and sections of the venue perimeter road for use by emergency vehicles.
      3. Upon all spectator vehicles leaving the venue, parking operations will reassemble with supervisors for headcount.

Imagine how impressed your guests will be when you execute these protocols in a professional, seamless manner where they feel safe and secure during the whole process?

Where adverse weather conditions are present, so are puddles and wet spots. You don’t want to be caught in the rain!

Using your incident management system to implement adverse weather protocols is powerful and results in peace of mind.

An Effective Plan is Incident Management Coupled With Well-Trained Staff

To be ready – really ready for this season – it’s important for you to get your emergency management plan into motion with trained staff.

You've got new and returning staff on the roster. Position yourself as a credible leader by setting your team up for success. Help them develop the know-how to mitigate incidents like adverse weather and bomb threats that might occur at your venue.

Integrate role-playing techniques into your training process. Create a role-playing process for returning, new and temporary staff to blend important policies and processes from your emergency management plan into semi-fictional scenarios where staff learns what you need them to do. Even better, how you need them to do it!

Does your team have the awareness needed to identify potential hazards? What if a suspicious person or package appeared at your venue? How does your team handle this? Do they have the training and ability to handle a bomb threat professionally and in a way that your guests don’t feel the effects? In the end, it’s always about delivering an exceptional guest experience!

Do you have bomb threat protocols put in place for this season? If you don’t – or even if you do – check out the one we've put together. We recommend you customize it for your operation or take what you find valuable.

Practice the steps with your staff and be prepared to deliver a safe and secure event for your guests.

Bomb Threat Protocols to Role-Play with Your Staff

      1. All bomb threats received at your venue must be reported immediately to the command post and venue management. If the bomb threat is received during an event, the command post will inform the Manager on Duty and/or the Incident Management Team, and the Command Officers from the police department and fire rescue.
        1. If a bomb threat is phoned in, the recipient of the threat must keep possession of a bomb threat information sheet until it is given to the appropriate official.
        2. If the bomb threat is received in written format, all materials (envelope, box, etc.) received along with the threat must be maintained and turned over to the appropriate official.
        3. If the bomb threat is personally reported by an individual, officials will be requested to the location of the reporting person.
      2. All information known about the bomb threat will be reviewed by commanders from the police department and fire rescue, in conjunction with the Manager on Duty and/or members of the Incident Management Team.
      3. The decision to conduct a full or partial evacuation of the entire venue will be a collaborative effort by the members of the police department, fire rescue and the Incident Management Team.

Bomb Search Guidelines

      1. If approved, venue personnel who are familiar with the area(s) of search should be utilized to search designated area (s).
      2. Rooms and enclosed area searches should be made with two person search teams who divide the area into search zones by both height and floor area.
      3. Search teams should look for unusual objects, a package similar to one that might have been described in the conversation with the telephone caller; or a package whose origin is questionable and/or suspicious in nature. Do not touch or disturb such objects.
      4. Upon completion of search of each area, the Command Post should be notified who will note completion of each area's search.

Bring Your Plan to Life This Season

Now that you've dusted off your binder, imported your protocols to handle into your incident management system and trained your staff for this season…are you ready for the peace of mind you didn't have last season?

The importance of having an emergency management plan in place and in action is paramount.

Are YOU ready for this season?

Click here to see how we've developed an Incident Management System to help you control your chaos and create order for your venue and events.

Wait! There’s more. Supplement the Incident Management System with our easy-to-use incident management mobile Communicator app, and see how revolutionary these solutions can ALL be for your operation this season.

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