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Training Assists Security Planning for the 2015 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships

Approximately 600 athletes from more than 60 nations will converge on the communities of Vail and Avon, Colorado, in February 2015. Considered the “ski racing capital of North America,” the Vail and Beaver Creek Resort areas located in Eagle County will host the world’s top skiers competing in Super G, Super Combined, Slalom, Downhill, and Giant Slalom alpine racing. 

Unlike many host communities for international events, the Vail and Avon communities each have populations of less than 7,000 with relatively small departments and agencies providing public safety. Fortunately, communities in the Eagle County and surrounding areas of Colorado have experience sharing resources for managing the influx of visitors for large-scale events. In addition to events in the Vail-Avon area, for example, neighboring Aspen hosts the ESPN-sponsored Winter X Games each year.

Vail and Beaver Creek have hosted the 1989 and 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships.  However, officials indicate that the complexity of planning for special events has changed for local agencies since the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the need to cooperate with other public safety and event promoters has significantly increased.

Event security planners for the 2015 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships established multiagency and multijurisdictional working groups in 2012 to begin planning for various components of event security, including crisis and consequence management, critical infrastructure protection, dignitary/VIP protection, fire/life safety/HAZMAT, and transportation/traffic operations/parking among many others. Working groups are comprised of representatives from local police departments, sheriff’s offices, the Colorado State Patrol, as well as local fire, emergency management, public health, private sector, and emergency medical services agencies. 

In November 2013, event security planners as well as other stakeholders in the region gathered for two days to participate in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-sponsored MGT 335: Event Security Planning for Public Safety Professionals training course. Recently updated as part of the standard 3-year review and recertification process, the course offered public and private security planners with management-level training on principles and best practices relating to Whole Community approaches to event security planning. As part of the course, participants had an opportunity to collaborate on and brief an event security plan as part of a practical exercise.

According to Chief Dwight Henninger, chief of police for the Vail Police Department, “the MGT 335 training put all of our agencies on the same page for conducting risk assessments of events and how to plan for events that significantly impact our community.”

For additional information on the event security planning course, contact Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium staff at 1-877-855-RDPC (7372) or through the RDPC website at: https://www.ruraltraining.org/.

 

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