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It's Time to Reevaluate Your Emergency Management Plan

, , | November 19, 2015 | By

On Tuesday, November, 17 the FBI along with many other law enforcement agencies conducted security training at Levi’s Stadium in preparation for Super Bowl 50 in February.

The training involved SWAT teams, bomb and hazardous materials (HAZMAT) units, and medical staff. Over 100 people participated, inclusive of helicopters that flew over the stadium.

Rick Smith, a former FBI agent, and training participate made a precise, extremely important, and intriguing comment that caught our attention:

“It takes the coordination in the event something happens. Every time there’s a major event there’s a problem with radio.”

This statement really got us thinking.

You can have a strong plan in place, but even then, you can’t let it sit. You can’t accept that processes once ‘good enough’ will remain that way.

You need to be proactive. You need to come back to it, and often. Because anything could happen – especially clogged communication, even with technology in place.

That leads us to the most important question of the day:

You might be wondering whether your team really knows what to do in the event of adverse weather? Or, how would they handle a bomb threat? How is everything communicated between departments and staff during a crisis?

Do you have software in place to organize, track, and manage your high priority issues during small and large-scale events?

We get it, these protocols are organized and outlined within your emergency management plan.

Every protocol you’ve established is written and lists each issue and incident related to your property.

Even better, you conduct annual training workshops for new and returning staff that includes tabletop exercises to improve your staff’s response time to incidents or issues.

Here’s the problem, though.

When your busy staff gets an unexpected call for a suspicious package or bomb threat or that there’s severe weather approaching, are they ready to respond?

Do you have peace of mind knowing that in a real emergency your staff can and will execute? Most important, will they execute according to procedures laid out in your emergency management plan?

If your staff is confused when it counts, or your procedures need a bit of a facelift, and if your protocols are nowhere close to being automated, then it’s definitely time for you to reevaluate, and even overhaul, your plan.

Keep reading, because we’re going to show you how!

Investing in an Incident Management Solution

Your emergency plan contains the breakdown for all your protocols to handle issues and incidents at your property.

You’d probably like to have this information communicated effectively to your staff when they need it most, right?

It’s vital for you to understand that giving your staff the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently is the goal.

In order to gain real-time data and have communication throughout all your departments, you must put the right incident management infrastructure in place. (We recently wrote an article about the importance of an infrastructure for getting the facts, check it out here.)

Real-time communication is the only way to receive real-time data. It’s vital in an emergency.

Remember what Rick Smith said about radio problems? You definitely want to minimize or eliminate the impact of communication on your success.

An incident management system is what gives you the essential information you can use during emergencies, incidents, or issues.

Augmenting it with mobile hand-held apps will help your command center efficiently communicated protocols to handle, when they need to be handled, and how each needs to be handled.

Your staff on the front lines can report incidents in seconds, directly into your incident management system.

It gets better because the system isn’t only capturing the incident. 

  1. It captures all of the actions associated with that incident.
  2. Then, it communicates proper protocols to your emergency response teams.

Frequent incidents pose a challenge in operations. Would you agree?

Well, emergencies can’t. There’s no room for error here. That’s why you need a progressive incident management solution and a reliable structure in place.

We value perspective. Consider the scenario below.

Severe weather is approaching your property. Lightning is showing on the radar 16 miles away.

What needs to be done now? You need to immediately communicate to all your departments for starters, right?

Timing is of the essence when it comes to the safety of your guests.

With improved communication, you’ll be able to inform your staff that it’s time to execute your property’s adverse weather protocols.

Now, you’ll need to have the protocols ready for your staff. Why is this? They won’t have time to scan through the written version of your plan.

Do you have a plan in place for adverse weather conditions? This should do the trick.

Simple & Executable Adverse Weather Conditions for Any Emergency Management Plan

Event/Game Day

  1. Upon determining that weather conditions will threaten the safety of guests and participants at an event, your Command Post operator will contact the Manager on Duty (MOD) and/or the Incident Management Team and the Event Promoter (that is, 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.

Moving Guests to Shelter

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

Detailed Evacuation Order

A public announcement will notify 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 property to a specific location and assemble for headcount.

Relocate Event Staff & Security Personnel to 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 property and make sure that guests do not re-enter the property.

Concourse Ushers

  1. Position themselves near each exit from the seating areas as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing guests out of the property to the closest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  2. Upon being relieved, reassemble with the 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 guests out of the property 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.

Seating Area Ushers

  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 the case of an evacuation, the elevators will not be in service.

On-Field Event Staff & Security

  1. Assist the police department with escorting officials from the field.
  2. Secure all playing field entrances to the 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 property, and being relieved, reassemble with your supervisor for headcount.

Parking Operations

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

You and your staff will look professional when everyone executes these protocols in an efficient way? Your guests will feel safe and secure during the entire process.

Now, when the weather is an issue so are the after effects. From wet spots to slippery walkways, use your incident management system to implement adverse weather protocols.

Do this to keep your guests safe and to help you achieve peace of mind.

Combine Trained Staff With a Progressive Solution to Effectively Execute Your Plan

It’s important for you to get your emergency management strategy into motion with a well-trained and high performing team – that can be ready for anything.


  • Do you have new and returning staff?

Then, prove yourself as a leader by setting your team up for success and peace of mind.

Put in the effort to help them develop the knowledge on how to mitigate incidents. Anything that might occur at your property:

Integrate tabletop exercises into your training process too.

Create a training process for returning, new, and temporary staff. Bring together important policies and processes from your emergency management strategy into semi-fictional scenarios.

At this point, staff can learn what you need them to do and how you need them to do it.

Ask and discuss questions like these:

  • Does staff have the awareness needed to identify potential hazards before they occur or escalate?
  • What if a suspicious person or package appeared at your property? How does your team handle this? Who do they communicate with first?
  • Does staff have the appropriate training and the ability to handle a bomb threat professionally, and in a way that your guests’ experience is not negatively impacted?

You want to deliver first-class customer service, which is why preparation is key.

Now, do you have bomb threat protocols put in place for your property? Is your staff well trained on these protocols?

If not, we've put protocols together for you to implement, practice, and execute at your property.

Whether you have an existing plan in place or are starting from scratch, we encourage you to use these as a professional standard to follow.

Understanding this is important because you need to practice these steps with your staff to ensure that everyone’s prepared to deliver a safe and memorable experience for guests.

Conduct Bomb Threat-Related Tabletop Exercises

  1. All bomb threats received at your property must be reported immediately to the command post and property management. If the bomb threat is received during an event, the command post will inform the Manager on Duty (MOD) 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 property will be a collaborative effort by the members of the police department, fire rescue, and the Incident Management Team.

Search Guidelines for Bomb Threats at Your Property

  1. If approved, property 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 the search of each area, the Command Post should be notified who will note completion of each area's search.

Over to You

Today, we’re confident we’ve made headway on reevaluating your emergency management plan. We’ve shared the importance of using a solution with an infrastructure in place.

You now have new processes and protocols available at your fingertips. Now, it’s time for you to put the plan to paper and reevaluate your property’s plan for the future to come.

So, are you going to reevaluate your emergency plan to prepare for what’s coming?

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