Feature Article - January 2016
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Safe & Secure

New Trends in Sports Facility Security & Safety

By Kelli Ra Anderson

Train of Thought

After key people have been identified, risks evaluated and solutions developed, the next vital step to improve security and safety is effective staff training on incident management strategies and risk management practices, plans and policies.

Best practices developed by NCS4, for example, suggest that staff clearly understand their manager's "what, why and how" of practicing the prescribed safety and security responses. When staff are involved with the planning process and understand what, how and why certain measures should to be taken, the resulting buy-in means they are more likely to follow through.

Training is not a one-time event, however. It needs to be an ongoing process of regular evaluation, collaborative problem-solving and raising awareness. And practices need to be reviewed annually. Between conducting regular exercises and discussion-based training (seminars, tabletops, simulations), and full-scale exercises, facilities will find themselves much better prepared to handle the "what ifs" should they actually arise.

That has certainly been true in Neuburger's opinion when it comes to the countless adjustments IU made in response to the risk management process. "The most important is a culture of enhanced awareness of security threats to our students, staff and guests," Neuburger said. "Bag checks, dedicated entrances, amended policies, physical enhancements and better trained staff have been the primary changes thus far. We now have short, intermediate and long-term plans for continued threat assessment, staffing and physical improvements to our facilities."

Such an approach as Neuburger describes avoids one of the most common mistakes clubs makeā€”to view risk management as a program in isolation. It is essential that training and improvements be ongoing, applied to all a facility's policies and procedures.

Additionally, the benefits of all this effort go far beyond improved safety and security. The process also tends to improve teamwork, generate better recreational outcomes, enhance image and reputation, improve management efficiency, and even lower some costs.