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Planning for the worst-case scenario at public events

With the right people, policies, training and supervision in place, we can best handle whatever may come our way during these events

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Every community hosts several public events throughout the year.

Proper preparation through an incident action plan can help with contingencies. These plans should be prepared by the involved stakeholders. This includes law enforcement, fire and EMS, other municipal services and participating community groups.

Things to plan for could include pedestrian or traffic control, handling suspicious packages, weather emergencies or even mass casualty events.

Establish command and communication protocols. The incident action plan should designate an incident commander and other leadership, depending on available personnel. Chain of command and communications should also be spelled out.

But what happens if there’s more than your agency can handle? Have you established mutual aid agreements with neighboring jurisdictions or even notified them of your event? Sharing your incident action plan ahead of time can prevent confusion if a request for help is made.

Plans are great. But to be effective, they must be communicated to your people. Schedule time for adequate briefings before the event. Allow time to discuss any questions that may come up. Designate a public information officer to communicate with the media.

We can’t plan for everything. But with the right people, policies, training and supervision in place, we can best handle whatever may come our way during these events.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

For anyone protecting major events, the known threats are easy to track. The unknowns manifest in blind spots that can cause unwanted surprises

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.

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