Best practices from NCS4: Command Center

From the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4):

A Command Center is an integral aspect of an event to keep all agencies informed. The Command Center serves as the control center for the event. The term is also interchangeable with a Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC). Within a Command Center, individuals will coordinate information and resource deployment among event operations, local, regional, state, and federal partners. Through this approach, some of the goals created are:

  • Common operating picture, provide timely and accurate situational awareness for emergency operations
  • Platform for effective multi-jurisdictional decision making
  • Coordination between public safety and venue operations
  • Provide timely and effective incident response and necessary resources o Coordinate intelligence and investigations
  • Coordinate recovery

A proper Command Center will be all-encompassing and inclusive of the relevant organizations involved with an event. Many venues also place facility management/maintenance personnel in the Command Center. Through this fully inclusive model, response times to various incidents will be reduced. These incidents may vary from a water leak in a bathroom to a suspicious package left at an entry point. Every minute reduced in response is an additional opportunity for responders to effectively reduce the effect on the event.

While many organizations will stop after building out one Command Center, all events should look at the possibility of an alternate Command Center. When using an alternate Command Center the location should be outside of the venue as a fall back. Using an outside location is key because in the event the primary Command Center has been evacuated or not available then there is another option. The alternate location should be capable of having the same communication systems as the primary. Some of these systems include:

  • Landlines, cellular, HAM, satellite phone, venue extension phones, and direct lines/radio contact with law enforcement, fire department, EMS and other key officials.
  • CCTV view of the seating bowl/playing surface
  • Video storage capability for a minimum of 30 days

The need for a secondary location is important because the primary location may become compromised. Without a Command Center, events may not be able to communicate as smooth. The ability to quickly distribute information to all parts of the event is important to keep all stakeholders informed.

For more information on the Best Practices, purchase the 2018 editions of the NCS4 Safety and Security Best Practices Guides.