Click to download the full report, Planned Special Events – When Things Go Wrong
Planned special events take place every day across the United States and around the world, as do incidents. When those events and incidents overlap, however, the consequences can be devastating: a marathon and two bombs; a movie theater and a shooter; a high school graduation ceremony and a tornado; and the list goes on. Each event, whether planned or unplanned, has the ability to start a chain reaction of many more incidents – both large and small.
Recognizing the threats and risks – related to elements of the event, the venue, and the surrounding area – and taking effective and swift action can help mitigate an interrelated series of events. Because of the many “unprecedented” incidents that have occurred in recent years, perhaps the best scenario to plan for is a worst-case scenario, but that requires much planning and training.
Regardless of budget cuts, government shutdowns, and time constraints, organizations must still find ways to support a robust training program that is well attended by all stakeholders. Although circumstances often force planners to sacrifice long-term planning and training for short-term concerns, training and communication must remain at the forefront.
There are no shortcuts for building relationships, developing strategies, and implementing emergency plans, so the time to begin is now. In light of the lessons learned from the Boston Marathon bombings, emergency planners, responders, and receivers have collaborated to create this report and to better plan and execute future special events.
Glen Rudner retired in 2022 as a manager of environmental operations for the Norfolk Southern (NS) Railway with environmental compliance and operations responsibilities in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Previously, he was the hazardous materials compliance officer for NS’s Alabama Division (covering Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and southwestern Tennessee). Prior to NS, he served as one of the general managers at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, Colorado. He worked as a private consultant and retired as a hazardous materials response officer for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. He has nearly 42 years of experience in public safety. He spent 12 years as a career firefighter/hazardous materials specialist for the City of Alexandria Fire Department, as well as a former volunteer firefighter, emergency medical technician, and officer. As a subcontractor, he served as a consultant and assisted in developing training programs for local, state, and federal agencies. He serves as secretary for the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials Response. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Hazardous Materials Committee, a member of the American Society of Testing and Materials, and a former co-chairman of the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition. He served as a member of the FEMA NAC RESPONSE Subcommittee.