Theme Parks

Security and Safety at Theme Parks

It is an unfortunate truth, but whenever you have a group of people in one place, you need to plan for the worst. This includes theme parks, where people go to get away from their stresses, have fun and expect to be safe while doing so. Theme park operators need to be more cautious than ever when evaluating threats to their safety since attacks targeting large crowds are becoming more and more sophisticated. You can’t simply rely on theme park video surveillance. Instead, you need to be proactive, which means making sure you’re aware of current safety standards and staying abreast of ideas for improving security and safety.

Current Safety Standards

Although the federal government used to regulate amusement parks, Congress revoked that authority in the 1980s. That left the state or local governments in charge of theme park regulation. Besides the fact that states have different regulations, there is no single national body that oversees theme park security. That combined with the lack of universal safety standards for theme parks leaves the job of protecting patrons to the owners and operators themselves. With little guidance, it’s no wonder that injuries and even fatalities occur.

One park’s safety standards will differ from another’s. After all, the type of attractions, climate, location and the average age of guests will all determine what extra precautions need to be taken. However, the one common denominator among safe theme parks is that they have reliable disaster response teams. They anticipate and plan for a variety of threats, including those related to violence, injuries and weather. But there’s no way to gauge the effectiveness of their systems unless they’re actually needed. After all, you can’t judge the response time of their amusement park emergency notifications if you’re testing them in an empty park after hours.

What Parks Can Do to Improve Security and Safety

Theme park video surveillance systems are valuable tools because they let you record events as they’re unfolding and also help in the detection of threats. However, despite what they’re capable of doing, there is no human element. Although they’re great for recording events, you still need someone to interpret those events. What’s more, they don’t always prove useful until after a threat has occurred.

Even the most reliable theme park security systems are useless without a human element. Here are some ways parks can improve security and safety using all of their assets, human or not:

  • Don’t just rely on theme park video surveillance, no matter how high tech it is. Instead, make sure you have staff constantly monitoring what’s happening on video, in every area of the park.
  • Make sure your staff has a reliable way of communicating what they’re observing.
    Traditionally, that has involved using walkie-talkies or telephones. But what if the person at the other end doesn’t hear the message clearly? What if there is static? What if other guests hear and get scared? You need to provide them with a way to send amusement park emergency notifications discreetly, yet effectively. Technology like the iFollow emergency alert system for theme parks serves that purpose.
  • Have a system in place for classifying threats as well as a response plan. After all, the way you treat a child abduction should be different than the way you treat shoplifting from the gift shop. Ensure all staff is aware of what to do in the event of each type of threat.
  • Make sure you alert law enforcement for serious threats as soon as possible. Present them with the facts so they can tell you how to proceed. Have a system in place that allows you to quickly notify staff of law enforcement’s expectations for them.
  • Monitor the number of visitors regularly and limit them in accordance with your state’s safety codes. Once the threshold is reached, activate an automated response, such as an alarm notifying staff not to let anyone else in. This is most easily done if the people counters have a reliable method for communicating with each other and sending real-time notifications.
  • Stay alert for suspicious objects, and teach staff how to identify them. Issue an alarm to staff and law enforcement if a suspicious object remains in an area for a predefined length of time.

Nearly 335 million people visit amusement parks in the US each year, according to the International Association for Amusement Parks. Judging by the success of parks like Disney World and Disneyland, that number is likely to stay high as long as guests feel safe when visiting. You can be successful by earning the trust of your patrons. That involves taking even more precautions than what your state safety standards recommend, like having a method for sending amusement park emergency notifications in real time.

How iFollow Theme Park Alerts Can Boost Security

After the shooting at a Las Vegas music festival in 2017, it is becoming more apparent that safety needs aren’t what they need to be. Metal detectors and visual bag checks can only do so much. When emergencies happen, it is the park employees who are on the frontline, so it makes perfect sense to keep them in mind when considering theme park security. All members of staff need an amusement park emergency response tool that helps them notify other members of staff, first responders and law enforcement if needed.

Why the Need to Boost Security at Theme Parks?

People go to amusement parks to have fun, obviously, and they wouldn’t go if there was a risk to their safety. They place complete trust in the park and assume that every aspect of their visit will be safe. That being said, the park has a lot on their plate. For example, they have to worry about safety in their parking lots, on their rides and attractions, food safety and more. Day-to-day, the threat of violence is not a common occurrence that employees deal with, so it is quite possible that they won’t immediately know what to do should an emergency happen. Even if they do know what to do, what are the odds that they’ll have the tools they need? Walkie-talkies are an antiquated communication method in a time when nearly everyone has a smartphone and expects an efficient method for theme park mass notifications.

What employees need is a program they can download to their phone to help them communicate theme park emergency alerts when emergencies happen. iFollow alerts even allow employees to stream live video along with GPS coordinates, enabling them to easily communicate with park officials during an emergency.

Ways iFollow Theme Park Alerts Can Help

It is a sad reality, but people who attend any event where there is a large group of people in one location are becoming more aware of the fact that their safety may be at risk. And, if someone starts shooting, or if there is a threat of any kind, they’re going to be looking to the park employees for guidance. Therefore, all theme park staff members need to be able to have sufficient communication tools. Here’s how iFollow meets that need:

  • If there is a guest threatening other guests with a weapon, an employee who has the iFollow theme park Alert program downloaded on their smart device can immediately send amusement park emergency mass notifications to notify the necessary parties.
  • IT helps promote constant vigilance. Surveillance isn’t something that is only needed during park hours. It needs to be constant. iFollow theme park alerts help meet that need. For example, staff in the parking lots before and after park hours can be used for more than to park cars and direct traffic; they can be used to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. They should also be able to be easily notified in case something happens inside the park and people are fleeing. Consequently, they need a simple, fast mode of communication to keep them in the loop. A program that allows them to send and receive theme park mass notifications in real time is vital. They shouldn’t be the last to know simply because they have to wait for someone else to tell them what’s going on.
  • iFollow alerts help start the process of amusement park emergency response outside the park, such as in picnic areas, parking lots and mass transit drop-off and pick-up locations. Although security cameras can be valuable assets, staff on the scene can be even more valuable, as they can hear and see suspicious behavior. Having security in those locations, in plain clothes and armed with the iFollow alerts program, is a smart precaution.
  • It helps staff communicate with off-site command centers. Gone are the days when emergency response personnel position themselves in the middle of the park so people can easily find them. Doing that makes them easy targets for attackers who know that if they take out the command center, they can increase the damage they cause. Consequently, many parks have moved their command and communications centers to secure locations off-site. Since they’re not as close to the action, communicating with them could be more difficult, which is why iFollow alerts can be highly useful with its efficient way of sending theme park mass notifications.

It is important to learn from incidents that happened in the past. Criminals are always looking for ways to beat the system. Similarly, safety personnel at amusement parks need to anticipate those actions. In addition, without amusement park emergency mass notifications, parks won’t be equipped to handle emergencies as threats become more intricate and dangerous. Giving employees the tools to send and receive theme park emergency alerts helps them minimize harm and prevent reputational damage. You want your guests to feel safe, and that is everyone’s responsibility. They just need the right tools.