I recently attended two separate conferences seriously involving the bar and club industry. Each of the meetings focused on different important points but both had one common area that was, to say the least, lightly discussed.
The first conference surrounded the value of creating, having and building partnerships needed to for any successful entertainment district. Their primary focus was on the nighttime economy and how all the stakeholders, primarily law enforcement, can live and work together to continue to grow a safer and prosperous nightlife experience.
The second conference focused entirely on the operations of the bar and club industry. From vendors to educational seminars and marketing to mixology, this show was a huge draw for the small and large operators across the country.
What struck me as scary at both of these events was that one topic was almost shied away from and not discussed much at all. This invisible and scary issue is that of Terrorism and Active Shooter Awareness.
We live in a new world, a new nightlife world and we can’t continue to ignore that our local watering holes are the perfect target for any sort of angry or radicalized individual. This individual might simply be mad at the door host who refused them entry or it may be the homegrown terrorist who wants to strike a blow against our way of life.
My concern goes back years, YES YEARS, of me saying that our industry must get educated and must take this seriously. In my training sessions I laid out my fears of a possible attack on our industry. And, to my terror, just 4 months ago, in November 2015, this exact scenario I have preached about occurred.
At approximately 921pm, a total of 9 armed terrorists attacked several sidewalk cafés, bars, restaurants and a concert hall. In their rampage, they killed 130 people and wounded another 368 people. Most of the killing took place in the first 45 minutes.
I say again; we must admit that we, our country, our states, our cities and our communities, are a nice and ripe target for anyone who wants to kill innocent people who have done nothing more than to go out for a nice night. Our government can only do so much. We must open our minds, think of what to do, prepare our staff for what to do and then, continue to learn and train our staff.
Here is a link to an article outlining the recent reenactment of the events that occurred at the Bataclan Concert Hall by the government. This reenactment angered some of the victim’s families, while others understood that this can create a safer future. France Reenactment Story
Please read this, get acquainted with this terrible event and teach your team what to do. If you don’t know what to teach them, get help. Talk to law enforcement or private groups like ours. If you only talk to your team, that’s a start.
Good luck. Be safe.