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6 Days that shook America – Event Security

Spanning six days and occurring over 2,000 miles apart, the recent actions of individuals at two separate events both shocked and stunned social media and the world. The attacks had vastly different impacts on the lives of those involved in them and the question needs to be asked: When it comes to event security, are we doing enough?

On Sunday July 28th, lone gunman Santino William Legan breached the perimeter fence at Gilroy Garlic Festival, held annually in California’s central coast. With ultimate bravery and dedication to their badge and the public, officers of Gilroy Police Force were able to stop him within 60 seconds of him opening fire. Tragically, three lives were lost within that minute, (including two children), with over a dozen more injured.

  • As people all around the globe reeled from this attack, another group of individuals were planning to attack a popular music festival in Chicago– This time with different intentions. Described as a pack, probing the perimeter security of Lollapalooza Festival, upwards of 50 people tore down and jumped over the Temporary Event Security Fencing placed around Grant Park. Videos surfaced across social media channels showing the scale of the problem that the organizers and volunteers had to deal with to uphold the Event Security.

    Ask yourself this question: What would you do if 50 people came running at you only 6 days after a shooting at a festival? Can you imagine the fear and need to ‘flight’ away from this? While the aims of the attackers at these festivals were different, one designed to maim and kill and the others aiming to get free entry to a festival; the route of attack was the same.

  • In both cases, the route of entry was not via organized access control zones with metal detectors, armed officers; chicane and HVM deployed systems. Access was gained by either going over or through Temporary Chain Link Event Security Fence Panels. Looking on a USA suppliers’ website typical purchase price for these at 6-foot-high is around $16.40 per foot. These types of event security fencing systems are used across the United States of America to demark the physical boundaries of events and festivals. In effect to keep control of the location and assets, be them people or physical.

    Chain Link is considered in the American marketplace as a temporary security fence; in general, most people expect it to withstand an attack. Back in the early 2010’s CLD Fencing Systems held a closed-door live security event at BRE Global (Watford, England). Security consultants from across the United Kingdom attended to watch various types of fencing systems attacked and to demonstrate the security standard LPS 1175; which offers a guaranteed delay against attack. In never seen before footage in the public arena, the following video shows an attack on chain link fencing using a standard set of pliers (wire cutters)

a full breach of the Chain Link Fencing occurred within 20 seconds. Less time than it takes to make a coffee. In early 2018, High Tensile Chain Link Fencing Panels were attacked again by the LPCB Testing team at another closed-door event in the Middle East. Penetration of the fence line occurred at 24.07 seconds.

This information isn’t new. while it may shock many people hearing this for the first time; for years security advisers have been talking of the dangers of these types of event security fencing systems. The problem, until recently, was that there wasn’t a solution on the marketplace that was able to offer something more secure at around the same price.

Chain Link can be scaled with ease, and the use of braces means that with enough people the whole fence can be pulled down, as seen in Chicago. Likewise, heights of 6 feet tall means that the top bar of the event security fencing becomes an easy hand hold to pull yourself up and over. Furthermore, many hostile security topping systems, such as barbed wire or razor coil, are considered unsuitable for crowded places. This continues to persuade event security that they have no other option than what is currently available across the States to stop scaling.

However, is that enough? Are event security set up teams looking at the latest products?

  • Are they reviewing security standards such as LPS 1175 and seeing what is available to them?
  • Do their physical perimeter systems work as they should and when were they last reviewed against modern methods of attack?
  • Can they use PIDs (Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems) and if so, how do these integrate with the fencing?
  • Have non hostile security toppings been explored?

It is always worth remembering that any form of Temporary Event Security Fencing will not stop an attacker. However, they can delay them long enough to allow a response. In Gilroy the response time was 60 seconds; if you can detect and delay for that amount of time, the next event may be able to stop them before they even gain entry to the site…

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