The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Report: Active shooter discussion at USITT 2018

Discussion in 'Safety' started by gafftaper, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,734
    Likes Received:
    2,784
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    USITT 2018 had a panel session titled: Situational Awareness: Planning and Process for Active Shooter/Armed Aggressor Scenarios.

    The Panel featured:
    Jenifer Mason: Security Manager- Walt Disney World
    Dominic Yeager: Director, Arts Management- The University of Alabama
    Douglas Goerke: Intelligence Unit Commander- Orlando Police Department
    Jennifer Mason: Security Manager-Walt Disney World Emergency Management
    Maria Bouffard: Director of Emergency Management- Yale University
    Steven Adelman: Vice President- Event Safety Alliance


    It was an all question and answer session. Below are some highlights from the discussion:

    Houselights on or off?
    First the police like the lights on so that they can see where the bad guy is. So turn the house lights on. But more than that get on the God Mic and instruct people to get up and fight back this is not a drill. People go into the theater to turn off reality and be entertained. It can be difficult for them to make the transition from fantasy to reality. Turning the lights on and telling people this is not a drill, telling them how to exit... or to stay locked in... will help them react logically to the situation.

    Should I pull the fire alarm?
    No, the fire department are not the correct people to protect you from a shooter. Plus, depending on the facility activating a fire alarm may disable other aspects of the emergency communications system.

    Should I stay or run?
    If you don't get out, you can't send help in. So, run and take as many people with you as possible. Don't think of this as being a coward running away think of it as leading as many others out of danger as possible. Once on the outside you are a critical resource for the police since you know the situation and the theater.

    Planning
    The entire staff needs to be trained on what the emergency plan is. Work with your local police and fire department. Contact them now. Create your plan with their help. Don't let the first time your police (or fire) department walks inside your theater be in a crisis.

    What sort of plan?
    "Run. Hide. Fight." is a common strategy these days.
    Yale uses a variation of this that I found really good.
    1) Plan : this may include Run. Hide. Fight. But have a plan and train for it.
    2) Evaluate : Reality never works out exactly as the plan. So, when the moment comes stop and think creatively about the plan and the reality of your situation. Evaluate what part of the plan, what variation of the plan, what improvisation on the plan, will work best.
    3) Respond : Respond based on the plan and your new evaluation of the situation.

    What can I do to reassure my staff?
    Plan and talk openly. It's scary for everyone. Admit it. By thinking about what you would do you take some control over the fear. By preparing and planning, thinking about it you make everyone safer.

    Should I lock people in?
    From a lawyer's point of view it's a whole lot easier to defend a lawsuit for locking someone in, inorder to protect them than it is to defend a wrongful death case for just letting them leave into the arms of a shooter. Reality is it may be difficult to keep them in depending on the group and the location.

    And a few misc thoughts:
    If you are doing a show with firearms on stage in this current environment it's a good idea to include a notice, just like you do for strobe lights.

    You can't plan for everything. Know that from a legal point of view, emergency planning needs to be tailored to your most reasonably foreseeable hazards. So make good plans for the most logical things.

    Call the police about anything suspicious. BUT only report what you KNOW, not what you have heard. The panelist from Disneyworld told a story about a situation where there was an argument in a restaurant and a tray fell on the floor. Within minutes the situation was peacefully resolved by Disney staff. However around the restaurant, words of shots fired spread quickly and people were running from the park for their lives saying shots had been fired.

    When you are creating your plans for security think like a bad guy. Look for the weaknesses in your security. How would I get in? How could I do the most damage. Yes it's difficult, but it will lead you to find problems you need to adress.

    And finally they encouraged people to not spend lots of time creating their own plans. Instead find a good emergency plan and modify it for your own use. The panelist from Yale shared their emergency response website http://emergency.yale.edu
     
    Derickls and RonHebbard like this.
  2. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,734
    Likes Received:
    2,784
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    So now my personal thoughts.

    The session did a really good job of covering all the basics of active shooter planning. Having been involved in several of these type of sessions myself there was nothing particularly new here. That said, they did a good job covering everything you need to think about in order to go back home and start the difficult discussion we all need to have with our theater staff and with the local police department. A key phrase we heard over and over was "Call your local police department and start planning".

    This is such a difficult topic and we are all struggling to deal with a world where we even have to think about it. Like most of you I wasn't at that shooting in Vegas, but I still felt personally attacked knowing that I had brothers and sisters under fire. I don't want to imagine someone coming into my PAC and killing kids that I know and care about. It's horrible. But the only way to keep each other safe in this new world is to get past those fears and out smart the bad guys. Find the weaknesses in our defenses that they will try to exploit and stop them. Plan our escape routes. Plan our defense strategies. It's easy to get overwhelmed and just not want to deal with it. But fighting through the discomfort and making a plan keeps you and everyone in your theater safer.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  3. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    5,723
    Likes Received:
    884
    Location:
    DC Metro Area
    The biggest takeaway for me was that an emergency plan is great, but it's pointless if it's not practiced and drilled, and practiced and drilled, and practiced and drilled. Over, and over, and over again.

    The goal is to ACT when a situation arises, to move because it's what you've trained to do. Everyone has a role, and quick action to implement the plan will save lives.

    The other great point is this. You know your space, you know what it sounds like, what the environment feels, sounds, looks, and even smells like on a normal night.

    Your audience comes to see a performance and escape reality, and won't know if someone walking in from the outside is part of the performance or not. YOU DO KNOW what is and what isn't supposed to happen.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  4. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    4,394
    Likes Received:
    815
    Occupation:
    Projectionist
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I did not attend this session, but I have to whole heartedly agree with not only planning, but practicing is crucial. This is the same for all emergency scenarios (fall arrest anyone?), if you have a plan but don't practice it, you can be assured that it won't go well. Running to grab the binder with the plan and reviewing it when the emergency has arisen will not give you the results that the plan intended. You won't be able to adapt the plan and effectively communicate if everyone is unsure of what they are doing in the first place.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  5. Cue3

    Cue3 CB Data Analyst Premium Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia
    This is kind of my area of expertise, so I'm happy to see this discussion taking place. Poor planning is a problem not only in theater but also in all sorts of events across the country. As has already been said, plan, practice, and then do it all again until it is second nature.

    I think the most important thing I can add is to ask law enforcement exactly what they will do when they finally arrive. I have been through active shooter training playing the role of a victim as well as an officer. What most people don't understand is what the cops do on this type of scene. Their number one priority is to find and stop the shooter, which often means ignoring/pushing aside the injured or those still trying to escape. They will move quickly in a small two or four-man team toward the sound of gunfire, only giving rooms a cursory check along the way. If they pass you by, it is only to stop the shooter. Don't grab them or yell at them for help. If you have information about the location of the shooter or a description of the shooter, relay this as best you can, but know they will not stop and talk to you. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher as well so the information can be passed along.

    One other note. Even in the best of circumstances, it will be minutes, maybe five or more before law enforcement arrives. The vast majority of active shooter incidents are over before police even set foot on scene. The people in your theater will be relying on you and your staff to provide direction and leadership. Anything you can do to prepare is better than nothing. Something they teach cops is to constantly run scenarios in your head. While running a show or rehearsal, ask yourself what you would do if a gunman came in through the west auditorium door. Think about where you would direct people to go. If you do this type of mental exercise every night, you'll be ready to act in the case of a true threat.

    Stay safe, my friends.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice