There have been a significant number of violent incidents at school athletic events throughout the nation in recent years. These events include assaults, riots, fighting, shootings, and stabbing incidents.
Experts say the success of school athletic event security can be linked to strategies associated with the following categories:
Most school athletic events do not pose a large security threat, especially at the middle school level. They attract smaller crowds of spectators and involve less emotional rivalries. On the other hand, large high school football and basketball games can draw much higher crowds, be highly competitive, and require high levels of security. There may also be a lower level of adult supervision, mobility, and visibility. This causes some serious safety concerns at the high school level.
Advanced planning for athletic events is very important, including more funding. For example, hiring off-duty police officers, paying overtime to school security personnel, installing surveillance cameras, and other measures cost money. There are some practical strategies school personnel can do to increase security. Here are a few ideas:
Emergency preparedness planning is essential because incidents can occur, even with the best laid-out security plans. Here are some helpful tips to be prepared:
For more helpful information regarding developing a school crisis plan, see OSHAcademy course 575.
Requiring photo ID could be key to safer environments for fans at high school sports events. Take a look at this article from USA Today.
Many athletic fields have bleachers, and they can pose serious safety risks if they are not properly taken care of. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says there were an estimated 19,200 bleacher–related injuries requiring emergency care in 1998. Of those injuries:
Millions of spectators watch sporting events from many types of bleachers each year. School administrators need to be aware of the following hazards:
The area underneath the bleachers can be dangerous as well. For this reason, it is important to block off completely the space underneath them. If your facility has larger rows of outdoor bleachers that cannot be closed off completely, you may want to consider having someone supervise the area to keep kids away.
You need to inspect the bleachers on a regular basis. The CSPC guidelines recommend you inspect bleachers no less than four times a year. Take a closer look at the amount and type of use the bleachers experience before creating an exact inspection schedule. Along with the regular inspections, each school should hire an engineer to conduct a full structural inspection at least once a year.
During an inspection, you should identify any structural damage or issues that could make them unsafe. It often works well to create a checklist for inspections and then carry it out in a systematic manner.
Lightning storms can cause severe safety issues for both spectators and athletes. If you hear thunder, experts say, begin preparation for evacuation.
Before any practice or event, a specific person should be in charge of checking the weather forecast. Be aware of whether or not the National Weather Service has issued a thunderstorm warning or watch.
If you see lightning, you should consider suspending activities and heading for a designated safe location. At a minimum, by the time the “flash to bang” is 30 seconds, all individuals should have left the athletic site and reached a safe location. A safe location includes fully enclosed, substantial buildings or a vehicle with a metal roof and closed windows.
Personnel should not return to the practice or game area until at least 30 minutes have passed since the lightning flash or the sound of thunder. Each time someone sees lightning or hears thunder, you must reset the timer.
Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.
Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.