Orlando tragedy highlights security vulnerabilities

Like all Americans, West Virginia residents were likely horrified by the mass shooting that killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12. The tragedy has security experts offering advice to bar and club owners on how to prevent or contain similar incidents on their property.

They say that all businesses need to assess inherent threats to their property based on the crime rates in their area and previous mass shooting incidents. Businesses that cater to groups known to be targeted with hate crimes should take extra steps to ensure they are not "soft targets." For example, it is recommended that high-risk bars and clubs install metal detection devices, instruct security officers to conduct patron pat-downs upon entry and enact a policy to turn off music during altercations. It is also suggested that staff be trained how to recognize and neutralize threats. There are now premises liability consulting firms that teach security guards and bouncers how to deal with active shooter situations.

Bars and clubs need to recognize that they are more vulnerable around closing time. This is because many patrons have been drinking and staff may be fatigued and less vigilant about security measures. Businesses that carefully consider all of their vulnerabilities have the best chance of avoiding or minimizing mass shooting incidents.

Business owners have a duty of care to provide for safety of their patrons. People who are injured due to inadequate security may want to meet with an attorney to discuss whether a premises liability lawsuit focused on the breach of that duty would be an advisable way to seek compensation for their losses.

Source: CNBC, "Bars, clubs need to address these vulnerabilities: Security experts," Sarah Whitten, June 13, 2016

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