by Paul Hughes | October 01, 2014
Establish clear guidelines for your security team regarding which incidents should be handled by law enforcement.

Make sure security personnel have effective but nonlethal tools.

Always walk the security team through emergency evacuation procedures.

Make the security presence highly visible around the perimeter; keep a more subtle profile on the main floor.

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This checklist was created by Paul Hughes, COO at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Guardian 8, which provides defense products to the security industry.

Exterior and perimeter
•  Use a current crime-data heat map to determine what criminal activity is typically in the area (car thefts, robberies, etc.).
•  Coordinate with local police, establishing a commitment on response times for incidents, and inform your security team of these.
•  Be sure your security team has the proper tools for the job and any foreseeable events.
•  Establish a security presence around the perimeter that is highly visible, is respectful of guests and has a strong positive image for your venue.
•  Clearly articulate the types of illegal activities in which you want your security team to intervene and those for which you are willing to wait for a law-enforcement response.
•  Ensure all entry points to the venue grounds, such as gates and driveways, are well lit at night and that they are monitored by an officer who can stop unauthorized entrance.
•  Be sure all security staff are aware of emergency evacuation procedures for their assigned areas of responsibility.
•  Promote off-site parking and free transportation to reduce risks associated with lot overcrowding, and create an off-site parking lot that is less inviting to criminal activity.

CLAWS (Concessions, Lobbies, Aisles, Walkways and Stairs)

•  Maintain a high-profile presence in areas where concession lines create friction for through traffic.
•  Monitor lobbies, which are a favorite operating area for pickpockets and purse snatchers.
•  Scout aisles and walkways for blind spots and areas where video surveillance isn't available.
•  Be watchful for horseplay or inebriated guests who need assistance on stairwells. Stairs represent a slip/fall hazard to everyone, including your staff.
•  Don't just discuss emergency evacuation procedures with your staff; walk them through the procedures. There is liability if they get it wrong.
•  Decide who is responsible for intervention if an altercation arises. Is law enforcement's response time sufficient?
•  Practice responding to a fight on the stairs. Approach from the floor above if possible.

Main Floor
•  Emphasize a positive guest experience by being helpful with seating and maintaining a lower visible profile on the main floor. Be mindful of disrupting sight lines.
•  Use a guest-to-staff ratio of 250:1 as a starting point for proper staffing levels. Concerts might require 100:1.
•  Establish an autograph area if it is part of the experience. Discourage crowd-swarming whenever possible.
•  Be watchful for heavy-drinking attendees and intervene early, and politely, only on an as-needed basis.
•  Establish an 8- to 10-foot clear zone between fans and performers throughout the event. This is your security express lane, in the event an incident requires a team response.
•  Ensure that radio communication can be heard over crowd/performance noise levels. Practice the use of hand signals and light
•  Practice the medical evacuation of a guest. Coordinate external medical support with in-house first-aid stations.
•  Be sure the defensive tools carried into an incident are appropriate for highly crowded areas and designed to mitigate risk.