High-profile events call for special security techniques instituted by trained personnel who know how to de-escalate aggressive behaviors. Security personnel often come from law enforcement backgrounds with specialized training in awareness and presence techniques. These same techniques can help you to identify and properly respond to aggressive behaviors if necessary.
Three Steps to De-Escalation
The three most important steps for effective de-escalation during an event are to detect, defuse and respond. While all large events require good security measures, high-profile events present a special challenge because they usually involve extremely large number of attendees, bringing greater potential for dangerous situations to occur. Recent news stories have demonstrated that the first responders are often not law enforcement, but the workers or attendees. Therefore, in addition to having a contingency and organizational plan, it is important that all personnel involved with a high-profile event are properly trained in response techniques in order to maintain safety at the event.
The biggest risk is in thinking “It can’t possibly happen here!”
Learning how to detect aggressive behavior is the first step. It can help to prevent personal injury and may mean the difference between life and death. Knowing how to properly detect aggressive behavior includes awareness of:
- Groups flagged as possible threats (i.e. protest groups, terrorist groups, uninvited guests)
- Red flag behavior that does not fit the event’s purpose (i.e. shouting, pushing, bullying)
- Situational awareness (always being aware of their surroundings)
Once aggressive behavior has been identified, it is important to stop or to contain any aggressive behavior as soon as possible. This is where rules of engagement and diffusion skills become very important. These include:
- Never touch an angry or aggressive person
- Do not invade their personal space (provide a buffer of four feet of space)
- Help the aggressor “save face” by being kind and respectful throughout the interaction
- Engage assistance when possible
- Do not attempt to overpower anyone, unless it is a last resort
If the authorities are present, the best course of action is to turn the aggressor over to them. However, if law enforcement is not present, options include:
- Evacuating the event
- Lockdown or barricading the premises
- Physical altercations should only be used as a last resort
During a high profile event always practice “condition yellow” which means staying in a relaxed, but alert state. Most aggressive or violent situations cannot be predicted, so being prepared is the best course of action for any large, high-profile event.
Timothy Dimoff Knows How to Defuse Aggressive Behavior
Tim’s law enforcement background and years of experience in human resources and high-risk security have provided him with unique insights into what it takes to have a safe, high profile event. Contact Tim at [email protected] to find out how he can help your organization stay safe during your next high profile event.