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Player Death May Lead To Enclosed Dugout Mandate

High school baseball fields in Georgia would need completely enclosed dugouts under a law proposed by a state lawmaker. The bill is a response to the death of 14-year-old Colton Shaw who was struck by an errant throw between innings of a game in March.

According to an article in The Tifton Gazette, some schools, including Valdosta High School where Colton played, added screens in front of their dugouts following his death. However, that dugout configuration would not comply with the proposed law since it’s open on the top. Colquitt County High School, where the death occurred, added a screen in front of its dugout, but left an open area where players can enter and exit. The new law would require dugouts be “fenced in overhead and on all sides” while allowing a door that must stay shut when not being used.

Valdosta and Colquitt County made their changes with donated money, but there are concerns that other schools could have difficulty finding funding should the law be passed. The article estimates that adding a barrier to an existing dugout would cost $1,000 while building a new fenced-in dugout could cost about $4,000.

“We find the money for everything else,” the bill’s author, Rep. Dexter Sharper, told the Tifton Gazette. “We should be able to find money for safety precautions.”

The bill is expected to be considered during the next legislative session, which begins in January 2016. Georgia High School Association Executive Director Gary Phillips said his organization could be open to legal liability if it added such a requirement, and the decision is one for local schools to make. He also added:

“It would be hard to argue against it and come off as having any sense at all.”

Two Webinars Offer Safety and Security Best Practices

Two Webinars Offer Safety and Security Best Practices
May 19, 2015
by Jason Hensel, IAVM

More than 600 people participated in two webinars last week that addressed adverse situations at venues.

In the “Public Demonstrations and Civil Unrest Affecting Public Assembly Facilities” webinar, speakers offered recent examples of venue disturbances and how managers and staff prepared for and responded to the situations.

For instance, Orlando Venues Executive Director Allen Johnson, CFE, talked about a die-in protest at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, and the how open communication throughout the day mitigated any negative outcomes. (Read more about the protest and how the venue handled it in “Safety and Security During a Protest Rally.”)

Adina Erwin, vice president and general manager of the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, also talked about a protest in her venue in December 2014. Some of her best practices recommendations include maintaining good communications with public safety agencies, monitoring websites and social media activity of protest groups, and identifying an alternate manager-on-duty.

Other speakers included Leslee Stewart, general manager and CEO of the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California; Robert Noonan, security director for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) in Boston; Matthew O’Loughlin, public safety manager for the MCCA; and Denis Braham, co-chair of the Sports Business and Public Venues Practice Group. The webinar was moderated by Russ Simons, chief listening officer and manager partner at Venue Solutions Group.

Earlier in the week, webinar participants heard from John Wilborn, director of the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. Wilborn talked about the recent shooting at his venue. Takeaways from the webinar include

• Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) was an aspect of the Curtis Culwell Center’s preparedness for this incident, and that changes to the property were based on lessons learned from the Boston Marathon attack.

• Managing the external communication of attendees was challenging, and developing protocol to minimize individuals revealing their specific location during a shelter-in-place situation is an important aspect of emergency plans.

High school risk management training

First High School Risk Management Course Focuses on Athletic Events, After-School Activities
Main Content
Article | Mon, 05/18/2015 – 11:11am | By Alison Crumpton
The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security (NCS4) at The University of Southern Mississippi held its first-ever Risk Management for Interscholastic Athletics and After-School Activities course on May 11 in Dover, Delaware. The course focuses on developing prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery techniques at interscholastic athletic events, and for after-school activities.

Hosted by the Delaware Comprehensive School Safety Program and sponsored by TRAMEDIC™, more than 30 participants were in attendance including school administrators, resource officers, athletic directors, and state government agencies.

Participants learned and discussed concepts relative to vulnerability and risk assessment, planning and preparedness, hazard mitigation, crisis communication, sustaining efficient safety and security programs and organizational teamwork.

Course participant Sand Hoffman, Risk Manager at Delaware State University, noted: “Working through the scenarios presented at the course uncovered gaps in both planning and training. The diverse group in attendance offered solutions not thought of individually.”

Demetrius Stevenson, School Resource Officer at Dover High School also found the course to be beneficial. “The quality of the course is high and also effective,” said Stevenson. “It’s presented in a manner that is clear and precise.”

Developed by NCS4, in conjunction with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), and the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), the course is intended to complement existing school emergency operations plans and programs and is designed to help prepare school districts for developing and coordinating after-school safety and security management programs.

For more information or if your school district is interested in hosting the Risk Management for Interscholastic Athletics and After-School Activities course, visit

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