All Other Conventions (aka Friendly Neighborhood) > Other Comic Cons and Conventions

Security at Comic Con's

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As many of you know i use to work in the music industry as a stage hand in Boston for many years, 2K to 60K seat venues.  i went to school for tech theater & was 'living the dream'.  It's a big part of the reason i why i natively understand what goes into putting on a production/comic con.

Music production's & their crew's are a very tight group, very much like con folk- that community is what hold's the events together & makes the show 'fun'.  That's why it was such a shock to the music community.  At the risk of being dramatic, it is as if the industry suddenly woke up & realized the show's are no longer safe events.  Similarly, granted to a smaller scale, to what America went through when 9/11 occurred.

The events in Paris are a wake up call to all sm to mid size con's about the need address security. I know we're all about community on this board but be aware, 'see something, say something' goes along way from someone harassing a cosplayer to a much worse event.

The go fund me page created for the road guy killed in the Theater shooting has raised $58K as of 11.16.  The house lighting tech, a position i held for years in Boston, was also killed. 

here's some bits I've run across in the past few days you might find interesting.

--- Quote ---Gregory W Tait‎ to Roadie Memes

All crew need to think more wholesomely in regards to events, its not just about the sound or the lights, it never was. Events are one big calculated risk, as a former PM, It was my job to reduce risk. The risk of bands not showing up, ticket sales failing, equipment failing or crew not showing up, or the risk of rain....We work to minimise that level or risk to ensure a successful event. This attitude needs to taken by all staff, across the board.

I have also worked on The Sydney Easter show and Big Day Outs in a Public relations / Security position aswell as being a live soundie and tech for many years.. My job was to control large amounts of people, and groups of media. It is far different from the tech side we are all used to. You see more, You learn more about people. You observe more about the environment. But you also have a much large backup network. We received invaluable training with regards to bomb threats, medical emergencies, how to manage large crowds and liaise with emergency services.

That training has come to use many times in my life, as a technician, and as management on shows. The post the other day made some really good points, the best was about if you see someone who just doesnt fit the "mould" of the gig. Act, dont just ignore stuff, If you are busy tell the security guards or venue managers, If your gut is not right, something is usually amiss. I 'will try to pass on here some of that training i received. We were mainly taught by former army and police chiefs, now heads of security for all the big shows in Sydney, and more or less Australia.

A longish post, but ive been feeling need to share this with this group: The general emergency procedure we followed is :

House light on, music off,That grabs attention. Always.

From here its tricky, depending on the situation. With bombs/terror threats, The debate of lockdown or evac is a touchy one amongst the industry. In schools or venues with lots of tiny rooms, yes lockdown.But a large football arena,is much harder to do. Also you really want to move people out so the aren't sitting ducks. In a white package(bomb) situation, you want to thin out people to lessen damage.

And you dont want to create panic, So the area/punters need to be cleared quietly.

This takes times and people to communicate to the audience on the ground face to face. You can also bait mass amounts of people with free stuff.... like an announcement of free somethings in this pavilion..1000 people clear a room quicksmart..The backup is an announcement to evacuate calmy due to an "electric fault". If the show just stopped, punters wont question this.

Announcements should ideally be made by the Host, Singer, or MC. A general announcement from a invisible tech at the back just does not have an effect.

For fires you can hit the fire alarm button (this does not make sprinklers turn on , its just an alarm) , but this should be done with though as it can create panic. For small fires slow manual evacuation is ample. If there is no alarm then an announcement must be made.

All crew should form elbow lines and start herding punters towards doors. We would go through so many drills that when something happened on show it was just like clockwork.Ive dealt with heart attacks, bomb threats, sudden deaths, stabbings, fires...Never this though. In this scenario, sadly no matter what procedure is followed,I think it was inevitable losses would occur. Again minimizing that risk, is what events are all about - If you run a production or event company, Just think though,When was the last time you did an evac drill?

--- End quote ---

from the NYTimes You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

As we get ready for NYCC,

See something, Say something.

Be aware of your surroundings, keep your eyes open, if you see something talk to a security guard- a prop weapon that seems too real or a bag, etc

I've seen a couple of odd things over the years & have spoken to security guards. I usually start the convo with a statement, 'This probably is nothing but....'

I do know none of the crew at the show was injured in Los Vegas

Friends of Comic Cons:
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I know we have a few members who are Las Vegas residents.   Hope they are safe and nowhere near the tragic events of last night. 

The guy in Vegas scoped out the concert my husband and son were planning to attend, which is why this year more than any other, I am concerned about terrorists.  SDCC is the perfect place for someone to hide in costume, with all their gear.  It is packed full of people for maximum destruction.  They wouldn't even have to enter any buildings to attack.  I don't want to jinx anything, but thinking about how I would round up my kids if there were problems.  Thank goodness for smartphones in this day and age.

Do others here have an emergency plan?  What would you do?

Im guessing that why they say no running or other. and do to so much traffic they gotta have a plan in place incase anything happens. that why so much secuirty cause they can direct traffic to go outside. even if they have the scanners, they may have u skip that to get everyone out safe and sound. i dont ask about the what ifs, u just gotta guess that they are prepared to call staff on the walkies to direct traffic to any exits that they make sure are clear at anytime incase of any major events at time. that why u are told u cant stand or sit in certain areas incase for safety reasons. if ever can always ask a staff in charge and they may say anything they can say at time.


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