Everybody loves Friday night football games at their local high school! Its just not the sport... its the community gathering, the hot dogs, the brisk evening air. Then all of sudden someone runs into the stands from the parking lot and shouts "they are shooting at each other...someone is down!". Now what?
This is a scenario that is rarely considered. We often think about evacuating a stadium or gym but who thinks about doing a stadium lock-down or shelter in place? Shelter in place in an open air stadium with a flat football field in front you?
Here are a few things to consider as you ponder this possibility which recently occured near our community.
- It is time to remember COVER and CONCEALMENT. This is when the announcer and ushers need to encourage people to find cover behind something that provides them protection or if they can't find cover then at least concealment (hiding so you are not an obvious target). Concealment could be as simple as laying prone in a row of seats or even on the sideline.
- LOCKING THE GATES. Does your event staff have immediate access to keys to secure gates, ticket booths and doors around the stadium perimeter or does the on-duty custodian hold the only key? Consider duplicating keys and distributing them with staff credentials so everyone has access to lock perimeter gates/keys. Consider creating a common key for all these entrances so it doesn't matter where you are posted...you can lock the gate or door nearest you.
- DARKNESS CAN BE YOUR FRIEND. If evil decides to move from the parking lot to the stadium gate don't make finding targets easy...turn out the lights! In times like these darkness is your friend as you seek cover and concealment until the police arrive. Do you have the ability to turn-off stadium lights quickly or must you make your way to the electrical room inside the stadium and find the right breakers? Consider installing a remote OFF switch in the announcers booth or other convenient location.
Hopefully these few ideas will begin a conversations within your school as you ponder how to manage stadium events in the future. This is John Baker for safetysolutions4schools.com.