FocusPoint CEO quoted in Vice article discussing concert security in wake of Vegas

October 3rd, 2017 Comments off

By:  Francisco Alvarado

Originally published here

When Stephen Paddock turned the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas into the deadliest shooting in modern US history on Sunday, killing at least 59 people and injuring 527 others, it wasn’t the first time in recent memory that a live-music event served as a soft target for mass bloodshed.

In June, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 59 more at an Ariana Grande concert in the UK, the blast driving dozens of panic-stricken attendees to jump railings as they made their escape. And perhaps most notoriously, in late 2015, an Islamic State–affiliated terrorist cell carried out coordinated attacks in Paris that claimed nearly 100 lives at an Eagles of Death Metal show in the city’s Bataclan theater, where some concertgoers found themselves trapped inside the venue. (Dozens more civilians were killed in other attacks around the city.)

If they were ever a relative safe haven for (mostly young) people to enjoy their favorite artists up close, live-music shows must now be understood as easy targets for mass murderers of any ideology, a new normal that could result in drastic public-safety measures at future concerts and festivals, according to security experts specializing in large-scale events.

“The top threats we have today didn’t exist three years ago,” Jason Porter, eastern region vice president for global private security firm Pinkerton, said. “These heinous acts are something that have to be at the forefront of every major event planner’s mind.”

While it is virtually impossible to plan for an individual with an arsenal of firearms raining down storms of bullets on 22,000 concertgoers, event organizers and security firms they hire will have to dedicate new resources to planning for surprise attacks. That could lead to live showrunners implementing new pre-event surveillance sweeps, hiring bevies of new off-duty undercover police officers, and possibly taking over entire hotel floors.

“Venue locations will be more scrutinized, as well as taking additional steps to secure hotel rooms that face the venue to prevent something like this from happening again,” Porter said. “Although when you are talking about a massive hotel like Mandalay Bay, it could be hundreds of rooms. The cost would be enormous.”

Advances in police technology could also provide event organizers and concert security teams with tools to respond quicker to an active-shooter situation, according to Greg Pearson, CEO of global risk consulting firm FocusPoint International. He suggested promoters should consider holding events in cities where police departments have deployed gunfire detection systems like Shotspotter, even as some experts question the effectiveness of those programs.

If nothing else, these systems do seem capable of helping first responders locate a shooter’s position faster than calls to 911. “They would know where the bullets are coming from, the type of rounds being used, how many weapons are being fired, and if there is more than one shooter,” Pearson said. “In Vegas, the SWAT team came in a tactical formation, but they had no clue what they were walking into.”

The smoke from Paddock’s weapons setting off his hotel room alarm is reportedly what police used to hone in on his location, and as is often the case during mass-shooting events, initial accounts erroneously suggested there might be more than one shooter. Investigators found 23 firearms in Paddock’s Mandalay Bay hotel suite on the 32nd floor, where he carried out his attack. An additional 19 firearms were discovered in his home.

It’s already common for music festivals to design their own apps to help people enjoy the shows, but promoters will now be under new pressure to be ready to deliver emergency messages and alerts to patrons, according to Pearson. “If there is an active shooter, you can notify everyone about shots being fired from this general vicinity and guide them toward exit points,” he told me.

Perhaps most important, promoters and venue operators will likely take new steps to train employees about how to get people out of catastrophic incident. “When an emotionally charged event like a mass shooting takes place, most people will run back to the area where they came in,” Pearson said. “The problem is that everyone is heading in the same direction. That artery gets choked of and people get caught in a death funnel.”

Steve Adelman, vice president of the Event Safety Alliance, said the Scottsdale, Arizona–based nonprofit organization conducts active-shooter response training for concert security personnel from around the country. “We are training you to recognize what gunfire sounds like in a noisy concert or sports venue,” Adelman said. “We are going to teach you how to fight through the paralysis most people suffer so you can be a shepherd that leads people to safety.”

The alliance is also training concert security workers and event operations managers what to do when an individual drives a vehicle into a crowd or when a bomb is detonated inside or near the venue. “We are teaching people how to get crowds to safety quickly,” Adelman said. “Hopefully in a direction of shelter and away from the bad guy.”

Even so, Adelman doesn’t believe Paddock’s homicidal rampage should—or will—prevent promoters from putting together large shows in concentrated urban areas. “Is the lesson here that we don’t hold open air festivals next door to anything anymore?” he said. “I doubt it. This incident shouldn’t change the way people feel about going to shows.”

Hurricane Harvey: 7 Ways We Can Immediately Help

August 31st, 2017 Comments off

  1. We provide: Hurricane Assistance Hotline for Employees
    We can activate dedicated Assistance Hotlines to provide a vital communications link between employers and employees impacted by a natural disaster.  The Hotline is deployed as the primary means of communicating assistance needs of employees impacted by the natural disaster.  The Hotline is staffed by Operational Support Staff (OSS) located within FocusPoint’s Crisis Response Center(CRC).  OSS personnel triage and document all incoming assistance requests and rely the requests to employers via a proprietary communications platform and mapping tool.
  2. We provide: CAT Team (Crisis Assistance Team)
    The CAT Team consists of Emergency Medical Technicians, Swift Water/High Water Rescue personnel, current and retired law enforcement providing search and rescue (SAR) and disaster response support.  The CAT Team is forward deployed in the theater of operations to establish a Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and coordinate with FEMA, local, state and federal law enforcement personnel actively engaged in disaster response efforts.  The CAT Team conducts SAR and provides interactive facilitation between employers and Emergency Response Teams to locate and assist employees in need.
  3. We provide: Consulting & Response Planning
    A comprehensive disaster management plan mitigates a company’s losses and potential downtime. Developing a detailed emergency management plan in conjunction with disaster specialists prepares a company to meet immediate personnel and operational needs. It also helps solidify partnerships among local law enforcement and emergency personnel that can be relied on when disaster strikes.
  4. We provide: Asset Protection & Security Personnel
    Even when a disaster occurs; an organization still has a legal and moral responsibility to provide a safe environment during that chaotic time. Protection of assets, property, employees, and information is vital. Contract security personnel will provide additional protection. Highly qualified security and response personnel are trained to make rational decisions under adverse conditions. They will control access to the affected sites, monitor suppliers moving in and out of the area, ensure only appropriate employees are frequenting critical areas, as well as record and audit assets.
  5. We provide: Logistical Support & Base Camps
    Following a disaster, many employees must continue to work in compromised facilities. Corporations may also want to consider the safe housing of employees families so they can engage in worry free “resumption of operations’ for their employer. The ability to supply support services by providing base camps and a large fleet of specialty trailers is essential. Specifically built and equipped trailers that provide logistical support during emergencies can be deployed rapidly, are completely self-contained, and can be set up anywhere. Kitchen trailers which produce culinary creations that are always fresh, appetizing and highly nutritious. Dormitory trailers, shower trailers, restroom facilities, and laundry trailers ensure employees, as well as relief workers, can stay clean and comfortable. If the company cannot continue to operate on-site, a centralized base camp with mobile power generation can be used as a temporary command post.
  6. We provide: Remediation Personnel & Skilled Trade Workers
    A temporary workforce can be assembled quickly to help the company affected by a natural disaster weather the storm. Bringing in ancillary staff with specific skills can minimize down time and relieve highly stressed employees. Workers are accustomed to working in remote locations or less-than-ideal conditions. Their goal will be clear – restore the area to pre-event conditions while eliminating unnecessary costs.
  7. We provide: Emergency Response Vehicles, Personnel & Equipment
    Liaison teams will help to ensure that local emergency personnel respond quickly to any medical situations. Trained medical personnel can even set up mobile triage units to ensure that the neediest cases receive fast attention. Should community assets become overtaxed, a pool of emergency vehicles and equipment can be stationed on a client’s site to provide necessary medical care and transport.

Other ways we can help:

  • Incident Management
  • Asset Protection
    • Facility Security
    • Personnel Security
    • Executive Protection
    • Basecamp Security
  • Aviation and Waterborne Assets
  • Evacuation Support

For assistance please contact:

Han Koren
President, AFIMAC Global
1860 Parkhill Drive Milton, ON L9T 5V7
hkoren@afimacglobal.com
1.800.313.970
www.afimacglobal.com

 

SHOFUR Podcast Interview with FocusPoint Vice Chairman Peter Martin

August 21st, 2017 Comments off

FocusPoint International Vice Chairman Peter Martin interviewed by Mike Bielenberg of SHOFUR.

FocusPoint Intl Vice Chairman Peter Martin interviewed at GBTA 2017 Convention

July 24th, 2017 Comments off

FocusPoint International’s Vice Chairman Peter Martin was interviewed at GBTA 2017 Convention in Boston as a part of the GBTA Industry Voices segment.

Seguridad en América reconoce a los 100 más influyente/ Seguridad en América recognizes the 100 most influential

January 30th, 2017 Comments off

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Peter Martin of FocusPoint International quoted in Sun Sentinel article ‘Fort Lauderdale airport shooting reveals security flaws’

January 19th, 2017 Comments off

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Until he turned his gun on tourists, Esteban Santiago hadn’t broken any laws flying to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with a semi automatic handgun and bullets.

No rules were bent or ignored, no red flags raised.

Security experts and public officials say the shooting — the first of its kind in America — exposes weaknesses in a system designed to protect travelers on airplanes, but not necessarily in airports.

Until now, no one in America has ever gunned down airport travelers after flying with a checked weapon. But under airline and federal aviation rules, experts say, an airport attack like Santiago’s could easily happen again.

“It’s no more surprising than someone walking up to you on the street and shooting you,” said Jeff Price, an author, security trainer and professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Department of Aviation & Aerospace Science.

Santiago is accused of killing five tourists and injuring six other people in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2, after checking only a 9 mm handgun in Alaska and flying one-way across the country to carry out the attack.

Video shows Santiago opening fire in an area where the public can freely come and go without a security check. He told the FBI he emptied one magazine, reloaded and emptied the other, shooting the first people he encountered. Law enforcement officers were about one minute away, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel has said.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, airports have been wrapped in a cocoon of safety regulations. That might give travelers a false sense of
security, Price said.

For complete coverage of the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, click here.

Travelers can’t take more than 3.4 ounces of shampoo on an airplane; theirbodies are scanned by high-tech machines; their hands are sometimes
swabbed for bomb-making ingredients; and their bags are sniffed by trained German shepherds.

The areas of the terminal beyond the security checkpoint are protected because anything there could end up on a plane. In 2016, 3,391 guns were seized when people tried to carry them onto airplanes in the United States, according to Transportation Security Administration data. Four out of five were loaded.

Yet, the federal government leaves it up to airlines and local or state legislators to set rules for public areas like baggage claim.

In Florida, for example, concealed weapons can’t be carried in airports. But a gun in a case is fine, and people entering the baggage claim area aren’t
screened, anyway.

The policies remain in place even after previous shootings proved airports to be vulnerable. In November 2013, gunman Paul Ciancia took a Smith &
Wesson semi-automatic rifle into a busy terminal at Los Angeles International Airport and opened fire, killing a TSA agent and wounding three others.

Ciancia was not traveling. But no major airline prevents someone from entering with a gun as baggage, checking it and picking it up at the end of a
flight.

Delta spokesman Michael Thomas in Atlanta declined to discuss specifics about the ticket agent’s encounter with Santiago in Anchorage. But in general, he said, a traveler with a gun would approach the airline counter and sign an affidavit declaring the weapon is unloaded.

Following standard procedures, Santiago then would have opened the gun case and placed a Delta bright orange placard inside, declaring “FIREARM UNLOADED.”

The gun must travel in a hard case and must be locked, with only the traveler carrying the key to open it at the destination, according to TSA regulations. The case can be placed inside another piece of luggage, but the federal complaint against Santiago says he checked only the gun box.

The checked gun would be turned over to the TSA to be scanned for explosives, then stowed on the airplane.

Airlines require no gun permit when checking a gun for domestic travel, no proof of gun ownership, and no permit to use the gun in the arrival city or state, Thomas said.

“All these details are applied the same regardless of airline,” Thomas said. “We’re just applying the federal regulations.”

Gun policies posted on domestic airline websites show their rules differ from one another only slightly. Some airlines specify how ammunition is packed or how much it can weigh. Airports, too, generally follow the same guidelines when it comes to travelers with guns. Travelers must heed the gun laws in the states they travel to, but many states honor another state’s gun permits.

Jesse Davis, chief of police at the Anchorage airport, said his agency had no contact with Santiago and detected no sign that he planned violence.

“As far as the question about flying with just a gun case,” the chief wrote in an email, “there would be no way of knowing whether he had a traveling companion and that person had checked luggage under his/her name that belonged to both of them, or whether the other person may be holding onto the carry-on bags while the other traveler is declaring the handgun. So, it would not raise any red flags or warning signs.”

Santiago would have then boarded the flight from far-flung Alaska to balmy South Florida, knowing his Walther 9mm semi-automatic handgun and two magazines were tucked securely aboard.

Barring a baggage mix-up, Santiago could be assured his gun would emerge on the conveyor belt at Fort Lauderdale airport’s Terminal 2, around the lunch hour, as TSA announcements or a welcome message from Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief blared from the speakers.

Retrieving the gun was as easy as plucking it off the baggage belt. The government does not monitor how weapons are returned to passengers at the end of a flight.

“The reuniting of checked baggage with passengers is the responsibility of the airlines,” TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said.

After the shooting on Jan. 6, the broadcast message soon turned dark, with a female voice warning, “There has been a report of an emergency. Proceed calmly to the nearest exit and leave the building immediately.” An alarm sounded as pandemonium broke out.

The shooting has brought new scrutiny to airport security, but one security expert cautioned against focusing on airports, given that the attack could have occurred in any busy place.

“If the person wasn’t able to carry it on the plane, would it have stopped the shooting? No,” said Peter Martin, CEO of the international security firm FocusPoint International and a Plantation resident. “It would have changed the location, for certain. But he’s not going to just go home and watch TV.”

John Parrott, director of the Anchorage airport, said the employees appeared to have gone by the book in Santiago’s case. Whether the rules themselves are adequate, he said, is beyond his purview.

“It appears that in this incident the required procedures were followed,” Parrott said by email. “As to whether or not those processes are adequate, that is part of the national discussion that is taking place.”

AFIMAC’s Maria Teresa Septien quoted in Seguridad en America Magazine ’10 Best Security Practices for Companies’

January 3rd, 2017 Comments off

AFIMAC Director Business Development Latin America, Maria Teresa Septien is quoted in Seguridad en America Magazine’s article ’10 Best Security Practices for Companies’.

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AFIMAC Maria Teresa Septien relató en la revista Seguridad América ‘Las 10 Mejores prácticas de Seguridad en las Empresas’

January 3rd, 2017 Comments off

AFIMAC Maria Teresa Septien relató en la revista Seguridad América ‘Las 10 Mejores prácticas de Seguridad en las Empresas’.

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AFIMAC Maria Teresa Septien reconocida como una de los 100 más influyentes de la Seguridad Privada en México

January 3rd, 2017 Comments off

AFIMAC Maria Teresa Septien reconocida como una de los 100 más influyentes de la Seguridad Privada en México.

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AFIMAC’s Maria Teresa Septien recognized as one of the Top 100 Security Professionals in Mexico

January 3rd, 2017 Comments off

AFIMAC Director Business Development Latin America, Maria Teresa Septien has been recognized by Seguridad en America magazine as one of the Top 100 most influential security professionals in Mexico. Read the full article here.

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