Large Venues Reviewing Security Measures

Venues that attract crowds, such as large sports events and concerts are reviewing their security measures, both inside and out, to prevent an attack such as the suicide bombing after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that killed at least 22 people.

Most venues have strict rules about bags, backpacks and coolers. Some check items thoroughly before allowing them inside an arena and others do not permit them at all. Venues also employ security detail to check those attending events as well as plainclothes detail to monitor the crowd. In the Unites States, the Department of Homeland Security warned that the U.S. public may experience increased security at public events.

Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld Expo, where Ariana Grande is scheduled to hold a concert in September, said it plans to improve security at all concerts and events. Besides baggage inspection, there will also be metal detectors and search dogs, it said in a statement.

According to the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong venue said it will begin using metal detectors to screen for potential threats, in addition to its usual backpack and baggage inspections. It also said it would consider using search dogs for any suspicious items or requiring visitors to wear security straps to track them while in the venue.

One mega event, the annual Indianapolis 500 over Memorial Day weekend, took to heart the task of keeping attendees safe. Adding to security planning measures for more than 300,000 attendees was the safety of Vice President Mike Pence, who was expected to attend—and arrived on Sunday morning.

Indy 500 crowd, May 26, 2017. Photo by Dana Garrett

Reuters reported that the Indy 500 has a Homeland Security SEAR 2 (Special Event Assessment Rating) designation, which means federal assets can be brought in to enhance security efforts during the event.

The Indy 500 is regarded as the world’s largest single day sporting event. Only venues on par with the Super Bowl and the Democratic and Republican conventions are given higher security ratings. Local, state and federal agencies contributed to security efforts at the Indy 500, including sniffer dogs, license plate recognition equipment and multiple security checkpoints to enforce restrictions.

There are those who believe, however, that even with enhanced measures, terrorist acts cannot be completely anticipated or stopped.

“Whatever is done—and in this case it’s British intelligence which is considered among the best in the world—it won’t prevent such incidents happening,” Jean-Charles Brisard, president of the Centre for the Analysis of Terrorism told Reuters. “You can bring back the perimeter, add security gates and as many controls as you want, but that will not change the fact that a determined individual will carry out his act if he is not caught before.”

Fed Program Initiates Life-Saving Training for Shootings, Terror Attacks

The length of time victims wounded in school shootings and terror attacks must wait for help from an EMT could be minutes or hours—during which time they could bleed to death. This has happened in a number of cases, including a shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June, when a woman bled to death while waiting for help to arrive.

These incidents have prompted the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop the Bleed campaign, a nationwide initiative to empower individuals to act quickly and save lives in emergency situations. Bystanders are asked to take simple steps to keep an injured person alive until medical care is available. Security guards, custodians, teachers and administrators are being trained at schools and other places to administer first aid until help arrives.

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Stony Brook University Hospital’s trauma center is spearheading training for school districts and colleges across the country. According to the Associated Press:

At a recent training session, paramedics and doctors brought in fake body parts—blood spurting from the wounds—to show staffers of a Long Island school district how to tie tourniquets and pack open wounds with whatever they have.

“Seconds matter. It really can be minutes when you can lose your life,” said Dr. James Vosswinkel, the chief of trauma and emergency surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital, who led the training.

Doctors emphasized that in the critical seconds after an attack it’s important for teachers and other school staff to stay calm and begin assessing injuries. Teachers learned to apply tourniquets in case a student is shot in the arms or legs—using T-shirts or belts, if necessary—and to stick anything they can to pack wounds in the torso.

Stony Brook doctors have reached out to local schools to offer the training, but are looking to expand the program as part of a federal Department of Homeland Security initiative to other schools, colleges and police departments across the country.

“Nobody should die from preventable hemorrhage,” Vosswinkel said.

Active Shooter Preparations Lagging, Study Finds

Between 2014 and 2015, the United States experienced nearly six times as many active shooter incidents as it did between 2000 and 2001, according to the FBI. The report, Active Shooter Preparedness by Everbridge, found that even though U.S. companies are overwhelmingly concerned about violence and violent acts in the workplace, they remain unprepared.

Out of 888 organizations surveyed about their safety plans and ability to manage an active shooter situation, only 21% felt that they were prepared; and 79% said their organizations were at best somewhat prepared for an active shooter incident. Even among those who feel they are prepared, only 7% are “very much prepared,” Everbridge said.
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Preparedness is important, as companies cannot rely solely on police and other government assistance. According to an FBI study of active shooter events between 2000 and 2013, 60% ended before the police arrived. Adequate preparedness requires communication and practice plans to make sure responders know who is at risk and that people know what to do if an event happens.

Despite this, close to 40% of respondents said they did not have a communications plan in place for active shooter events.
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The survey also found that executives of organizations are much more concerned about employee or student safety than they were two years ago—the overwhelming majority (79%) said they were.
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Other Findings:

  • 69% of respondents view an active shooter incident as a potential top threat to their company or organization. Workplace violence was cited as a top threat by 62%.
  • Communicating to people who may be in an impacted building and confirming their safety was seen as the biggest challenge during an active shooter situation (71% of respondents).
  • Safety concerns are growing: 79% of executives/leaders are more concerned about employee or student safety than they were two years ago; 73% said that employees or students are willing to exchange some aspects of privacy for enhanced security.
  • 61% do not run any active shooter preparedness drills at all.

Terrorism Incidents Down, Disruption Up in 2015

A number of high-profile terrorism attacks worldwide have raised people’s fears this year, but the reality is that the number of attacks and deaths from such attacks actually decreased in 2015, according to Marsh’s 2016 Terrorism Risk Insurance Report.
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The report summarizes terrorism risk insurance trends, benchmarks terrorism insurance take-up rates and pricing, and offers risk management solutions for terrorism exposures.

The more current attacks, often perpetrated by a single individual or small group, are different from those carried out in the 1990s and 2000s when high profile locations were targeted. Individuals carrying out the more recent attacks may have no direct contact with a known terrorist organization, but could be drawn to them through writings and video, particularly on the internet, Marsh said.

These events can be very disruptive to operations in some companies. In the travel industry, for example:

  • About 10% of American travelers canceled booked trips due to the recent attacks in Egypt, France, Lebanon and Mali, which impacted $8.2 billion in travel spending, according to a survey by YouGov.
  • Booking losses for Air France were estimated to be €50 million ($56 million), the company said in a statement.
  • Airlines, hotel chains and travel websites experienced drops in their stock prices after this year’s airport bombing in Brussels.

In the United States, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (TRIPRA) offers businesses a federal backstop against terrorism-related losses. While the overall take-up rate for TRIPRA coverage in the U.S. increased slightly in 2015, it has remained in the 60% range since 2009, Marsh said.

Managing terrorism risk requires a combination of strategies that protect people, property and finances. On the financial side, the choice is whether to retain or transfer the risk with insurance. But the changing pattern of terrorism risk has some companies asking if they are adequately insured for business interruption and related losses. They also wonder how to prepare for potential losses from cyber terrorism and other events.

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • As small group and “lone wolf” terrorist attacks appear to be the changing face of terrorism, many organizations are assessing their coverage for indirect losses stemming from business interruption risks.
  • Following the 2015 passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIPRA), take-up rates in the US edged up for TRIPRA terrorism coverage embedded in property programs.
  • Among industry sectors, media organizations had the highest take-up rate for terrorism insurance in 2015.
  • Workers’ compensation markets for terrorism risks generally stabilized.
  • The number of Marsh-managed captives accessing TRIPRA increased by 17% from 2014 to 2015, but many captives that could offer a terrorism program do not.
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