Cost Effective Safety for Your Movie Theater
Movie theaters have faced a lot of criticism over safety and security protocols in the past few years, in part because the environment is so open with minimal access control and lack of a security mindset. Many theaters though have shifted their thinking and their procedures to include some additional safety features that help keep their moviegoers safe from harm. Below are some ways you can increase theater safety on a budget by using some of the resources you may already have available and with low cost help like risk assessments.
Risk assessments allow you to plainly see your potential risks and vulnerabilities prior to an incident or emergency. These are critical in reducing vulnerabilities before a crisis and also help to mitigate litigation. Risk assessments can be performed by your staff, or your first responders such as law enforcement or fire. You can also choose to pay a third party to do a risk assessment of your theater. After identifying hazards in and around your theater, the risk assessment will give you proposed actions to take to diminish the risk. After implementing changes based on your assessment, perform the assessment again to ensure the hazards are gone and there aren’t new hazards.
Effective communication is critical to efficient response to any situation, whether it be a spill or a fire. You must be able to communicate with your staff, as well as guests and first responders. Rapid Responder Easy Alert provides internal communication between staff and responders during an incident with a time-stamped log for reviews, while Rapid Responder Notify allows for two-way communication with moviegoers who sign up to receive alerts, and also lets them report tips to authorized personnel. Having separate communication for staff and moviegoers is vital to a controlled response, making these two resources an easy decision for facilities like theaters.
While all training is not always free, it can be cost effective. Free training for your theater staff can include fire hazard and response training from your local first responders, medical training such as CPR, first aid and the Heimlich maneuver from medical responders, and crime prevention and de-escalation techniques from law enforcement. Training should begin when a new employee is hired, and should be continued during their time at your theater. Training should be ongoing and used in drills to keep knowledge fresh and relevant to staff. The Red Cross is another option for training your theater staff. They often offer different advice and training than your local responding agencies.
You may be wondering how physical security is cost effective. Well, if you’re hiring third party security, then it’s not, but if you schedule extra staff to be a security presence during high volume times, then you can save some money. These individuals can either be in required uniform, or plain clothes to blend in, but they should be watching theater rooms, parking lots, and your immediate perimeter more closely for vandalism, loitering, illegal activity, piracy, and suspicious activity. By using your staff, and paying them by the hour, you can save significant money and know that if an incident does occur, your staff are trained to enact emergency procedures.
Although security is typically expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Utilizing resources you already have and becoming more mindful of your theaters’ security needs can help to increase safety with minimal out of pocket expense. Perform risk assessments often to mitigate risk, have effective communication in place prior to an incident, and train staff for common emergencies such as medical emergencies and obnoxious guests. Finally, use your staff as a physical security presence for added safety and to cut down on costs. Safety and security measures should be a daily occurrence at your movie theater, using these cost effective tools will help to make that possible.