“Where do I find the right thing?” That is a question that clients have posed to us over and over again at CRG, and was one of the driving motivations behind the launch of the Critical Response Group Resource Center.
With September getting into full swing and, with it, a return of high school football games and other scholastic sports events, questions often arise concerning the best way to approach security awareness at these events.
Events such as the local high school football game, which might bring together hundreds to thousands of people, are perhaps best described as mass gatherings. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines mass gatherings as a large number of people coming together in a particular location for a particular purpose.
DHS published an Action Guide entitled Mass Gatherings; Security Awareness for Soft Targets and Crowded Places available in the Critical Response Group Resource Center here . The document provides an overview of best practices for mass gathering security awareness.
DHS encourages those responsible for these events or locations to engage in the practice of, “Connect, Plan, Train, and Report.” “Connect” is a reference to interfacing with local law public safety entities with the goal of clarifying responsibilities and sharing information.
For locations with Collaborative Response Graphics, this information sharing is already in full swing, with first responders already possessing a common operating picture and venue layout for the location.
“Plan” refers to developing plans for things like bomb threats, evacuations, business continuity, and communication with attendees. Again, CRGs provide an advantage here by facilitating everything from communication of device locations and evacuation zones, to use of the scaled alpha-numeric grid for identifying safe distances from suspicious devices.
“Train” refers to training both staff and volunteers on basic security awareness, identifying suspicious behavior, and run-hide-fight response. As we’ve discussed in previous issues, using Collaborative Response Graphics in regular monthly drills is a great way to both foster familiarity with the graphics as well as safety protocols and procedures.
“Report” refers to providing the mechanisms and guidance for the reporting of suspicious activity, actions, and items.
DHS’s document closes out with protective measures guidance to include physical security as well as guidance for access, planning, and personnel.
If you’d like to dig even deeper into best practices in this area, the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Security of Soft Targets and Crowded Places–Resource Guide, published in April of this year, is an outstanding and detailed resource for businesses, individuals, and first responders. It is also available in the Critical Response Group Resource Center here.
This is just one example of the countless “right thing” documents and guides that can be easily found through the searchable and keyword-labeled Resource Center. With over 20 after-action reports and 100 links to websites, documents, and useful guidance information, the Resource Center provides one central repository for the scores of documents that people typically spend hours fruitlessly searching for on the internet.
You are welcomed and encouraged to take advantage of this constantly updated and growing free resource as we continue to work together to ensure that stakeholders have easy access to the critical information they need to make the best safety decisions for their organizations.