Every year, the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) brings together venue professionals from all over the world at its VenueConnect conference. #TeamHenderson has been involved with IAVM for many years. The conference is always full of valuable information and connections – see what we did there?

As an industry, venue professionals continue to work together to solve issues. Whether it’s maintenance, operation, safety, or security issues, IAVM venue operators freely share successes and failures with each other. This collaboration not only helps facilities run more efficiently, it also helps advance venue design. This year, our Henderson experts brought back a ton of information, and here are the highlights.

Due to continuing attacks on venues across the country and the world, physical and cyber security remains at the forefront of venue managers’ concerns. Educational sessions and trade show exhibitors provided information on combating cyber-attacks, vehicle ramming, improvised explosive devices, armed assailants, and even disgruntled employees. Attendees learned how these attacks can be anticipated, detected, and mitigated. The combination of hardware and operational procedures has proven effective for many, and in the spirit of IAVM, everyone was willing to share their experiences implementing new safety procedures.

Along with the same theme, venue professionals continue searching for the most effective and efficient ways to minimize traditional safety issues. Many evacuation plans are developed for fire risks, but they aren’t necessarily designed to fit situations where the hazard is localized or for dangers other than fire. Paul Villotti, our director of fire protection engineering, and Andrew McQuillan from The Crowd Management Company led a boot camp that included discussions on the proper understanding of crowd types and evacuation phases. The due also discussed various evacuation methods that can be used to increase the effectiveness of emergency procedures. Live crowd density exercises – with examples of normal to extreme crowd crush densities – brought to life the concerns of patron safety during an evacuation.

Guest service is the reason venues exist. With that in mind, it’s important to prioritize safety and security without compromising patron comfort. Some of the most efficient methods of security such as wanding, bag checks, and magnetometer can protect people without making them feel unwelcome. Performing arts centers and similar venues are beginning to embrace physical security methods, including physical searches and bag checks, even for donors. Using smart security cameras and drones to expand a venue’s security observation capabilities can prove to be a less invasive form of protection.

If your venue is looking for ways to improve security and life safety, your friends at Henderson can help. Connect with us here.



About the Author

Paul Villotti


Director of Fire Protection Engineering
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Paul has been involved in fire and life safety for more than 300 venues across the US and internationally and is an expert in all phases of the facility process, including new construction, renovations, additions, and alterations. Paul has spent the last 40 years helping venue managers, operators, and facility owners obtain building permits, coordinate with fire marshals, and resolve building and fire code issues by providing technical justification for code equivalencies and variances. A lifetime avid learner, he is known for wanting to understand all facets of a project so he can provide the best counsel, while also adhering to the owner’s overall vision.