With more than 100,000 spectators usually in attendance at major auto races, NASCAR track officials and their affiliates are doing everything possible to protect fans’ safety.
And that is where the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at The University of Southern Mississippi comes into view. Several members of security operations with the Kansas Speedway recently completed the center’s Online Sports Venue Safety and Security Training program.
“We offered the online program at the track level to lieutenants and sergeants in the Security Department as well as to the Operations Department which includes the parking crew, ticket takers and ushers,” said Larry Shepek, security manager for the Kansas Speedway. “It proved to be a very worthwhile course and provides Kansas Speedway with a unified training program covering several departments, all of whom are dealing with the same common goal.”
Earlier this month Kansas Speedway hosted an Indy Racing League (IRL) event and NASCAR Truck Series contest. The annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is scheduled for October.
According to Robert McDavid, NCS4 programming director, the center’s online training program consists of four modules: ushers, ticket takers, gate security and parking attendants. The four modules contain a total of 651 educational training slides and seven videos. The program normally takes the trainee about an hour to complete the course, which includes a required test.
“At the end of each individual module is a pass or fail test. This test is designed to reinforce key points from the individual lessons,” said McDavid. “The trainee must score 70 percent or above to obtain a certificate of completion from the National Center. If the trainee fails, he or she will be required to go back through the course and retake the final test.”
Established in 2006, The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security was created to provide an interdisciplinary academic environment to further increase sport security awareness; improve sport security policies and procedures and enhance emergency response through evacuation, recovery operations and crowd management training.
McDavid points out that a number of universities, professional sports organizations, venue managers and event staffing companies have purchased the online training program. “Overall, we have trained more than 2,000 security and safety personnel throughout the nation,” said McDavid.
Gerald Cavis, managing director of security for NASCAR, serves on the NCS4 National Advisory Board. He says training programs such as the one offered by NCS4 provide a valuable tool for security representatives worldwide.
“I think it’s long overdue that safety and security for major events has a lab environment from which to study the effectiveness of plans and operations,” said Cavis. “The entire system needs to have a proactive prevention posture, for if we are reacting we have already failed.
“The industry has to be able to guarantee our clients, the fans, a safe and enjoyable environment or we won’t continue to exist.”
To learn more about NCS4 and its programs, call 601-266-6183 or visit www.ncs4.com
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.