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Active Front Lines: Supporting Those Impacted by Tragedy at Entertainment Venues


As has happened far too many times, we are once again responding to a tragic mass shooting in a public space, this time in Thousand Oaks, California. Initial reports indicate 12 fatalities (including a longtime sheriff’s deputy who had rushed into the crowded bar to help) and 11 wounded. This location was a country music bar, and early reports suggest that many of the patrons may have also been at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas last year – site of the largest mass shooting in US history – making this event especially horrific for those involved.

When violence occurs at entertainment venues, it can be difficult to know how, when, and who is available to provide support for those impacted. To protect well-being, it is imperative for organizations to consider how to support those who have experienced traumatic events at work or school, but to also provide support for people have experienced trauma in in external social situations.

In the short term, we recommend that other venues review entrance procedures and address hoaxes, threats, or reports from hyper-vigilant patrons. Additional safety measures can also include:

  • Holding a regular pre-opening meeting to review and rehearse communication, evacuation, and crowd control procedures as a general means for maintaining safety
  • Adjusting simple physical measures such as creating a dedicated customer line to slow the entrance process by using rope lines, bicycle racks, etc. and positioning customer service or security beyond the actual point of entry to allow more time for identification suspicious clues or activity, such as bulky clothing without explanation, suspect packages or bags, etc.
  • Asking people who have jackets to open them for a visual search
  • Reviewing or reducing the actual number of customers allowed inside at any time to provide the ability for better identification and crowd control
  • Encouraging your customers to report suspicious or dangerous activity

As always, our initial thoughts are of concern and compassion for those involved, quickly followed by decisive action. We at R3 Continuum have mobilized all local resources in our network and placed them at the highest readiness status. In addition, we have altered our internal operations and switched to Disaster Response Mode, making the necessary staffing and logistical changes to allow us to provide response support at full capacity.

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