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Recent Tragedy Sheds Light on Nightclub Security

DJ at a Nightclub

With the recent tragedy at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, many security industry experts are looking at variables which might have prevented this terrorist attack. While we may never truly understand the motives of the attacker, we can consider how safety and security might be improved.

“It’s sad that our reality has reached the point where a lawful gathering of people having a good time is now considered a terrorist target,” said Armando Perez, president and general manager of Hoosier Security. “That even a nightclub owner must now consider the safety of their patrons against terrorism.”

And sometimes it can be the littlest of things that can help keep a venue secure and patrons safe. Since the tragedy in Orlando, more details about Pulse Nightclub are becoming available.

For example, one of the exits at the nightclub was deemed “inoperable” weeks before 50 people were brutally massacred and 53 injured.

An “Inoperable” Exit

Time reported emails and texts released by the Orlando Fire Department indicated twice the number of exits were needed to accommodate the maximum occupancy of 300 patrons.

As well, a fire inspection in late May made note of the broken door, but there was no follow up. According to an email between Orlando Fire Marshall Tammy Hughes and Fire Chief Roderick Williams, a follow-up visit had been planned but not assigned, so it wasn’t known whether or not the problem had been addressed.

Common Best Practices

New York Police Department (NYPD), along with the New York Nightlife Association, developed guidelines to assist nightlife owners in maintaining safe bars, lounges and clubs free from illegal activity.

The first recommendation includes a common rule of thumb for security:

As a general guideline, there should be a minimum of one licensed and trained security guard in every premise when 75 or more patrons are present at the same time. For larger premises, there should be one such security guard for every 75 club patrons present.

This recommendation goes on to add discretion should be used by management to determine the appropriate number of security based on the event or crowd to ensure safety and lawfulness.

Unfortunately, the term “discretion” is often used loosely in this industry due to the fact that security is considered a high overhead cost. Some business owners may not want to pay to keep on the payroll more employees than absolutely necessary so safety protocols are compromised. At the same time, it’s hard to predict the size of the crowd on any given night.

Another of the best security practices recommends that properly working and maintained digital cameras be mounted in front of the establishment (both inside and outside), at all entry doors and outside the bathroom doors.

Another recommendation is to ensure levels of lighting inside and outside the establishment are sufficient for observation by security. It’s a challenge to get good security video inside a venue where there’s low lighting to begin with as well as strobe and black lights.

Getting the Right Plan

At Hoosier Security we create for each client a unique plan that’s tailored to the individual needs of the business as well as industry standards. We understand in today’s world that there are increasingly heightened security risks, which must be factored into each plan as well.

According to Perez, business owners must now more than ever take into consideration the safety of their patrons at all times:

It is now the business owners’ responsibility to ensure the safety of the patrons against outside evil-doers while they are on site. I encourage all management and ownership of night-life venues to read and implement the city of New York guidelines and to take preventive action for their employees and customers.

Selecting the right cameras in the correct locations can not only compensate for certain lighting challenges, but can also provide officers with insight into the interior during a crisis. As you can see, it is important to consider a number of factors when deciding what camera system is right for you.

At the same time, proper maintenance can ensure that the remote connection is always working and readily available to view with the right credentials. All of our video surveillance systems feature digital storage, which we can customize to meet the specific storage needs of each client. The cameras we use allow for longer recorded video times, enabling clients to review videos up to several weeks back.

We design, customize, and program every individual surveillance system that we install. We never offer cookie cutter solutions. And because we’re an independent security company, we always provide the solution that makes the most sense for you.

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