The recent Astroworld tragedy was truly a sad event that cost many lives. And while we sit here in the aftermath, investigators are beginning to uncover significant gaps in the capabilities of the security teams hired to work the event.
In some cases, the security officers didn’t have instructions on who their supervisor was, what their role was, and how to manage a crisis should an incident arise. While we are not going to investigate this incident itself, we will look at some of the key elements required to ensure that security teams train and prepare with risk in mind.
- Proper training is the most important component: We are currently in a hiring crisis in the security industry. Guard firms cannot get officers hired quickly enough to sit on a post, and when they go, they are driving to get them on the front line as soon as possible. However, without proper training, you run a number of risks that can threaten your team's safety, and the safety of those they are there to protect. Make sure that your hiring process includes an extensive onboarding program to ensure that officers are knowledgeable about not only their role but the post they will be working on. Also, you want to make sure that when you schedule these officers that you are not putting officers on a post that they haven’t completely been trained on.
- Proper post orders that continue throughout the shift: Post orders are a critical component of the operation as they are the direct link from the command center to the front line. Having a solution that will drive post-order notifications in real-time with instructions and updates on the current situation will give the team a clearer picture of what is going on and how to handle the risk. Failure to get information out can cause gaps in communication and result in challenges that threaten the safety and security of the operation.
- Lone worker protection and proper dispatch methods: The challenge with a distributed security operation is that with fewer and fewer resources, it’s hard to get officers coordinated to converge on higher-risk locations. This is where having a good lone work communication and dispatch process is critical in communicating threats and getting a real-time response. Whether it is a panic button, push-to-talk, or simple notification, an officer can immediately contact the command center and have them look for the nearest officer and dispatch them to the location to assist. This way, officers can converge on where the highest risks are and avoid safety and security issues.
Could training and better communication have prevented the tragedy in the Texas concert event? Perhaps, perhaps not; but there were definitely gaps in the security operation that contributed to the escalation of the events that happened there. Regardless, for your operation, there some of the tools and processes that can help create knowledgeable officers that can rely on the tools at their disposal to ensure that they are communicating, they are able to respond quickly to new threats and create processes to enable the team to converge on where the threats are and quickly de-escalate and mitigate the risk and help protect what matters, when it matters.