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Waco, Texas has a new stadium in town, and it’s whopping. $266 million and just shy of two years later, McLane Stadium is the new powerhouse of a stadium for the Baylor Bears.
Anticipation for Baylor’s new treasure is high as it replaces the formerly recognized Baylor stadium, Floyd Casey Stadium. The new stadium has a capacity of 45,000 fans with expansion limits up to approximately 55,000 fans. The stadium also includes 39 suites, 74 lounge boxes, 1,200 outdoor club seats, 3,000 Baylor Line seating, and a student section for 6,700.
This season will not be lacking in exhilaration nor a shortage of memories. The demand for incident management with efficacy won’t be lacking either, because it’s a priority that goes beyond McLane Stadium and the Baylor campus, to stadium managers across the country.
(Check out this time-lapsed video of McLane Stadium during construction)
Since the city and new stadium are new to the influx of fans preparing for the Bears’ new season, incident teams will be honing their event security initiatives. Security guards and police will be on high alert while the football team does their job to protect “the palace”, as stated by Baylor senior quarterback, Bryce Petty.
“Speaking on behalf of all the guys, I think we’re extremely excited to open that thing up. We want to protect that palace with everything that we’ve got, and put a team out there that’s just as great as what we’re playing in.” – Bryce Petty, Quarterback, Baylor Bears
Frank Patterson, Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Waco, noted how his team has been working extensively to not only keep fans safe at the stadium, but during the festivities surrounding the opening of McLane Stadium.
Police, EMS and Fire Rescue departments will be strategically placed throughout the stadium and surrounding metropolis. Patterson also mentioned that he oversaw the city’s emergency management plan for several seasons in Floyd Casey Stadium.
However, the introduction of a newer, much larger stadium will prove to have some challenges for the coordinator and his emergency management team.
To add impact to the already known challenges faced by event staff, the new stadium butts up against Brazos River. Stadium operations, security, and Waco emergency managers need to be prepared for the influx of fans this season. Texas Parks and Wildlife will be deploying park rangers to effectively and efficiently prevent potential hazards that might occur from a larger presence of spectators and fans on the river during games.
Even with all the precautions taken by stadium operations, emergency planners and Texas Parks and Wildlife, the greatest potential hazard for game day illustrates the most uncertainty: traffic patterns. The increased influx of patrons poses a monumental challenge for officials and emergency management personnel on game days.
It is clear time has been invested into an emergency management plan for the Stadium and Baylor game days. From the potential hazards related to the increase in expected fans to the “game changing” traffic patterns, it is paramount all staff works diligently to execute emergency plans. Being proactive and prepared for all upcoming games this season will be the effect of tracking, analyzing and improving processes for game day.
"Because again the best laid plans is just a plan, when you put it into action, you put it into play you might see some things you might need to tweak.” – Frank Patterson, Emergency Management Coordinator, City of Waco, Texas
Now you’re probably asking – how valuable can incorporating an incident management plan be for my stadium operation? Glad you asked.
We believe this is insight stadium managers can take and run with when they’re putting their incident management plans into place for this season, for seasons to come and peace of mind! This is how.
Your venues and events need incident management. Incidents are always happening. Your job depends on your staff being aware of them, every lasting one of them.
One game day, fights, medical issues, and guest complaints are part of the the usual noise – knowing and communicating this info with staff gives you the upper hand. You know what’s going on.
During your events so many variables exist. At times too many incidents are happening in the moment. With that said, the first step in initiating your plan is being aware of incidents taking place at your venue.
Practice how to identify and prepare for incidents with your emergency response teams. (A perfect practice, makes perfect). Repetition and preparation pay off – trust us. That’s how you nurture and become an effective team. Be ready and aware of incidents before and as they occur.
Read our blog on role-playing, invest in some, and you will see how it leads to safer events. Your fans will LOVE it!
Documenting is the fundamental way to prevention. We’d say you’re pretty aware at this point. Now what? Well, you’d like to be able to mitigate the incidents which already occurred. You’d also like to prevent them from happening again.
To accomplish this, two things will need to happen. Before you can get a handle on how to enhance your operation, you need to track everything. Document it. Then you’ll own it. That way, you can analyze your incidents, easily and all the time.
Documenting your incidents gives you a historical record of everything that’s occurred on game day. Putting documentation processes into place protects you from–liability.
Take the insight you’ve learned from tracking incidents. Then measure it, analyze it, and use it. It’s simple stuff, yet so gratifying when you see the positive effects.
Whether you implement a software solution or use a process you invented, the only way to make your game days a success is by optimizing your operation with analytics.
Analytics gives you all the dirt on your processes, guest services and problem employees. Diving into your operational weaknesses through spreadsheets, graphs and charts shows YOU where to practice harder and prepare more. It shows you what you’re doing right!
Don’t forget this one major–super important –very critical fact: If you don’t know it, you can’t manage it. So document incidents, first.
With the analytics “value pack” you get some cool benefits:
Manage your analytics to better mitigate incidents, and don’t stop the cycle. Track, manage, analyze, and do it all over again.
You could continue spending money on radios. Could. However, we understand the importance of communication – so we don’t recommend it. With football season starting – it’s going to be a loud one! If you can’t hear what’s occurring through all the chanting, you could be missing out on vital information.
Do yourself a favor. Arm your front-line staff with mobile apps to easily and effectively report incidents. This is what’s needed to bring your purpose to fruition. It’ll also let you give your team real-time info on new developments you’re finding from your analytics…during game day.
See how this all comes works, harmoniously?
Create an easy-to-learn set of communication courses of action inclusive of mobile apps, automatic alerts and notifications. Automation helps you keep your eye on the ball! Automate associated information to empower your staff. Watch communication excel.
Smarter communication gives your initiatives the influence to endure with the advent of progressive technology and active shooters. Correct what’s already happened, mitigate it as it’s happening, and strive to prevent it from happening again.
You’re aware of the four benefits of putting a plan into action. Continuously work to improve your awareness, documentation, analytics, and communication on game day, all season long. It’ll give you peace of mind, take our word for it.
It’s game time, time for you to show your operational greatness!