The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) Directorate today announced the development of the first online Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool (VSAT) for stadiums with large seating capacity. Working in close collaboration with the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM), this tool allows stadium security managers to identify vulnerabilities and assess the overall security of their public assembly facility.
“Americans should feel safe and be able to have an enjoyable experience at sports and entertainment venues,” said Frank Libutti, Under Secretary of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection. “We recognized and listened to the security needs of stadium owners and operators, leading us to create a resource tool that could identify best practices and allow them to better assess their own security plans and any potential vulnerabilities. Our goal is to encourage stadium managers to integrate this tool into their standard planning process and use it throughout the year.”
Modeled after self-assessment tools used by the Transportation Security Administration, the online stadium tool was adapted to incorporate industry safety and security best practices for critical infrastructure to assist in establishing a security baseline for each facility. Once a baseline is established, the tool identifies the strengths of current security programs as well as areas in need of improvement, allowing prioritization of necessary enhancements to the facility’s security. While the current tool is designed for the more than 400 large capacity stadiums that seat over 30,000 people, it will be expanded for use by owners and operators of arenas, convention centers, and performing arts centers in 2005.
“IAAM appreciates the efforts of the DHS in working to provide this valuable self-assessment tool. We are pleased to be a part of this strategic partnership, and trust that the result of this launch will be that many stadium operators will implement it in their facilities,” said Dexter King, Executive Director, International Association of Assembly Managers. “We live in a time of unprecedented vulnerability and threat to our freedoms, when it is impossible to know if and when our safety might be at risk. Using this program (tool) will help managers of public assembly facilities better protect their patrons and the venues they serve.”
Working with IAAM, the Department will have access to more than 3,500 public assembly facility managers. This tool will also be made available to non-IAAM members. The Department will contact stadium general manager for participation in this initiative and provide a password protected web address to access the on-line assessment tool.
The self-assessment tool is user-friendly, and focuses on seven key areas that include such topics as information security, physical assets, communication security, and personnel security. Upon completion, a comprehensive report can be printed or updated at any time, measuring the effectiveness of the facility’s current security plan and providing best practices for implementing future improvements to the facility’s security program. By submitting the information to the Department, the owners or operators will be given the ability to compare their security practices with other large stadiums across the country. All information given to and corresponding reports from the Department are confidential to the facility and will not be made available to other parties.
The online tool will also be coupled with a help desk to clarify terminology or assist with technical issues while completing the assessment.