Nightmare Scenario: Concert Security Experts Grapple With Lessons Of Las Vegas : The Record The Las Vegas shooting is a chilling reminder that big concerts are a soft target. And that the industry still has much work to do to improve security and minimize the damage from future incidents.
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Nightmare Scenario: Concert Security Experts Grapple With Lessons Of Las Vegas

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Nightmare Scenario: Concert Security Experts Grapple With Lessons Of Las Vegas

Nightmare Scenario: Concert Security Experts Grapple With Lessons Of Las Vegas

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Police across the country say they've stepped up security at concerts and sporting events since the shooting in Las Vegas. This is just the latest assault on a music venue following deadly attacks in Paris and Manchester, England. As NPR's Joel Rose reports in Las Vegas, there may be some lessons the industry can learn.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: A few seconds after the shooting started at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, headliner Jason Aldean stopped singing and ran off the stage.

PAUL WERTHEIMER: The stage immediately goes dark, and nothing happens as far as the crowd.

ROSE: Paul Wertheimer is the head of Crowd Management Strategies, a firm that advises concert venues. He's also a longtime critic of the industry's approach to safety. He's studied cellphone videos that members of the audience recorded in the chaotic moments during and after Sunday night's shooting. And Wertheimer is alarmed by the lack of guidance the audience got.

WERTHEIMER: No direction, no lighting, no prerecorded message, nothing to help the crowd find safe haven or shelter - and 23,000 people were literally left in the dark as they were being shot at.

ROSE: To Wertheimer, one lesson from Las Vegas is that the concert industry needs to take emergency planning more seriously, starting with clear messages to the crowd.

WERTHEIMER: Please seek shelter. Please exit this way - and security or crowd managers in place to direct people to escape. There should have been bright signs to show where the exits were, too.

ROSE: The Las Vegas sheriff confirmed that some of the injuries sustained Sunday night were the result of trampling or just trying to escape, though it's not clear if any of those injuries were fatal. Security experts say there's another lesson here. Concert organizers need to pay more attention to potential threats from outside the gates.

Chris Robinette is the president of Prevent Advisors, part of entertainment industry giant The Oakview Group. His company advises major sports and music venues on security.

CHRIS ROBINETTE: If we're talking about outdoor events, it's important that we think about adjacent buildings, rooftops and balconies and things where threats might now originate that they didn't historically come from.

ROSE: And Robinette says it's not just concert venues that should be more vigilant. According to the FBI, the Las Vegas shooter had also researched sites in Boston, including Fenway Park. Joel Rose, NPR News.

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