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Arts organizations and public safety: are you prepared?

Unfortunately, we have grown all too accustomed to the words “active shooter situation” and “terrorist attack.” We have witnessed assaults at schools, restaurants and night clubs. Saying to ourselves – or acting as if – “well, that would never happen in a concert hall” is dangerous. How prepared is your organization to face the unexpected?

1. Make a detailed “active shooter” plan.

How can you best ensure the safety of your audiences, artists and staff?

Talk with both local law enforcement and in-house security staff.

Consult with other arts organizations.

Understand state and local laws regarding “conceal and carry.”

Check with your insurance carrier about the limits of your liability coverage.

2. Rehearse your plan – frequently.

Remember “fire drills” from school days? Those drills served a useful purpose: they

helped us know what to do in case of emergency. How would you get your artists from

an open, exposed stage to safety, for example? Be sure they know what to do.

3. Review and update your plan – regularly.

An effective organization reviews its plans – mission, goals, strategies, finances, etc. – on a regular basis and makes necessary changes. Include your “active shooter” plan in the

mix of important matters for regular review.

Let’s work for a time in which “active shooter situations” and “terrorist attacks” are forgotten things from a distant past. Until then, be prepared – and don’t think “but that would never happen to us.”


Stanley Romanstein

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