The Charleston Police Department is taking a proactive approach to preparing people in the hospitality industry for an active shooting situation.
Lt. Heath King and Sgt. Tom Adams, leader of the SWAT team, spoke Monday at an active shooter preparedness training event created specifically for the hospitality industry.
“The clubs and everywhere else (downtown) is taking security real serious at this point with all that’s going on in the world,” King said. “Prevention is what we’re really trying to get out.”
The presentation was created by the department in the wake of the massacre in Orlando’s nightclub, Pulse, where a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. King said it’s important that the hospitality industry be armed with the most current information on how to manage a critical incident that could occur inside a business and how to take preventative steps.
He explained the definition of an active shooter and went over how security should be layered throughout a business to delay and deter an attacker. Security employees, bouncers and door staff were encouraged to pay attention and look for suspicious indicators such as oversized bags or clothing and people who ask unusual questions and take photos of a venue layout.
Christopher Clarke, of Zanshin Management, works as a bouncer downtown every weekend and also staffs local businesses with other bouncers. He said Monday’s event offered a lot of good preparation tips in the event that a tragedy like Orlando ever occurred at a Charleston venue.
“Nowadays (I think about it) every day,” he said of active shooting situations. “The most helpful thing is just the outline that they gave us to use in the event that there’s an active shooter and also the definition of an active shooter.”
He said he plans to use the information to create a response plan with his staff.
Adams described how to respond in an active shooting situation. He said business personnel should observe, orient, decide and act before running, hiding or fighting depending on their proximity to the shooter.
“As a last resort, where your life is imminent ... you have to be aggressive and get into the fight.”
Reach Melissa Boughton at 843-937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.