Key concerns for Hotel Security raised by the Active Shooter Scenario

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    Travelers, whether their trip is undertaken for business or pleasure, demand safe and secure hotel accommodation. How can hoteliers ensure that their property provides as secure an environment as possible?

    Hotel security and safety involves protecting not only your guests, but also employees and the physical assets of the property from emergency situations such as criminal activities, natural disasters and terrorism. As Warren Buffet once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

    A single attack or incident on your property could inflict irreversible damage to your brand, and the costs involved with fixing physical damage to the asset could have a deeper impact on the business.

    The MENA region suffers a high proportion of global terrorist attacks and consequently, one of the highest death tolls. Terrorist groups like ISIS have played a significant role in causing the instability across the region that has lead to such an alarming number of attacks, and the nature of these attacks has evolved into a style of incident that is increasingly difficult to anticipate or prevent, known as the active shooter scenario.

    The active shooter scenario has always alarmed all of the major national counter terrorist agencies, even more
    so when the individuals involved in executing the attack have had little or no prior engagement with terrorist
    organisations in the past, and therefore do not feature on intelligence reports or watch lists.

    The attack in Burkina Fasso at the start of the year for example, would have been highly problematic to intercept and prevent. The incident comprised a series of explosions, shootings and a hostage situation which left 28 dead and a further 56 injured at the luxury “Splendid Hotel” in the capital city.

    However what is clear is that once the attack commenced, the coordination of the response from the hotel owners and operators, and the security agencies was flawed. The principal concerns highlighted by this attack and other recent incidents are:

    1. Poor levels of situational awareness within the hotels and surrounding properties
    2. Poor levels of communication and coordination between hotel security staff and security services
    3. Information overload of key staff
    4. Poor use of refuges and safe areas within the hotels and associated complexes
    5. Poor sensor coverage of connecting public areas leading to a lack of “early warning signs” of suspicious activity
    6. Uncontrolled evacuations of the public into unprotected and unmanaged spaces which put them in greater danger
    7. A lack of rehearsals and practice of incident response to ensure staff and services were prepared

    If you are interested to learn about other issues faced by hotels and how our team of security consultants recommend resolving these issues to ensure incidents are better managed and contained in the future, download our white paper entitled “Hotel Safety and Security – Understanding the Risks” in which we explain the difficulties surrounding the safety and security of hotels, and how to overcome these to improve your hotel security:

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