Nightclub Security Positions (Part 3) – Door Outs

Today we continue out discussion of positional responsibilities with DOOR OUTS. Some you are probably confused, wondering, “Why is there someone watching who is exiting a Nightclub?’ Allow me to tell you…

Door Outs/Line Walker is one of the more misunderstood, underrated, and usually overlooked member of the Security Staff. In fact, many clubs and bars do not have a Door Outs position.

Skill Set and Responsibilities:

  • Have general knowledge of a Bar/Nightclub’s Policies and Procedures. That means reading your establishment’s Security Manual.
  • Provide access control to both VIP and Regular lines – If your club has separate lines for different clientele, it is up to the Door Outs position to make sure that Patrons are being directed to the proper line. A party of 10 with bottle service does not want to be put in the 100 person long Entry line. Door Outs should be engaging with any Patrons approaching the Front Door and asking how they may be of assistance. And, though it may seem obvious, Door Outs has to keep people from entering through the Exit Door!
  • Maintain line control for VIP/Regular lines – This, along with access control, is of great importance. Door Outs has to make sure that people aren’t crowding the entrance, jostling in line, cutting in line, are properly dressed, etc. Nothing is more frustrating to Patrons than arriving at the head of the line, only to find out they are in the wrong place or can’t get in! Door Outs should constantly be informing people (especially in the VIP line) whether or not they are in the correct line or are dressed appropriately for entrance.
  • Maintain traffic flow on sidewalk in front of Main Entrance – Nightclub and Bar entrances are notorious for having crappy traffic control, especially at the Front Door. Door Outs needs to constantly move people along, by shining a flashlight if necessary to avoid blockages. If you start to get a crowd in this area IMMEDIATELY clear it. Once people see a group crowding the Door, they will try to jump in and next thing you know you have a mob out front.
  • Answer any Patron Questions re: entrance requirements, dress code, and cover charge – Make sure you are constantly communicating with your Door Outs in regards to any changes to dress code and cover charge, especially if these change in the course of an evening. The better informed Door Outs is, the better informed your Patrons, the happier your Club.
  • Monitor “Door Out” count – That means clicking off every individual that walks out the Exit. Make sure your count is good so the Fire Marshall can’t ticket you for being over-capacity. That also means the Door Outs should be in communications with Door Ins to confirm that there is still room in the Club, henceforth allowing them to pass that information on to whoever is waiting  in line.
  • Monitor sobriety of Patrons exiting establishment – Door Outs needs to keep an eye on anyone departing in an intoxicated state. Whether single women and men or drunk couples, it is imperative that Door Outs guide them to a Taxi or a bench to sit on. If necessary, Roamers may be contacted to find lost friends or call for transportation if needed. Door Outs should also be making sure Patrons are not wandering into the street or loitering.
  • Work closely with Law Enforcement to maintain order at Front Door and Sidewalk – Law Enforcement will not be happy with you if your sidewalk is so crowded that it impedes traffic flow. Door Outs should work with Law Enforcement to clear the sidewalk or develop a strategy to keep it clear.

Door Outs should also be walking the lines in front of the establishment monitoring the demeanor of individuals and making sure that your stanchions are staying in place. Patrons have a tendency to “bubble” in line, bunching up in a large group instead of filing  in by twos and threes. Door Outs must be on a radio, prepared to clear the Exit (which should be a clear as possible) in case of any Ejections! A Staffer with good Door Outs skills can make the difference between the lines at your club’s Entrance being a mob scene or as orderly as a Convent food line.

Keep your Door Outs informed and well-paid. They will save you from the aggravations, a crowded sidewalk, and angry, misinformed Patrons who don’t know where to stand.

Until next time…

Situational Awareness 3.0

In light of recent tragic events in Arizona, I thought it necessary to revisit Situational Awareness in regards to Personal and Nightclub Security. And while Security Staffers are not protecting government officials or acting in an Executive Protection capacity, it is important that we learn the skills of observation to keep ourselves and our patrons safe. And this counts for while in the club and while on the street in our “everyday lives”.

So a quick refresher:

Situational awareness is “…the process of recognizing a threat at an early stage and taking measures to avoid it.” While the term itself if most commonly used in law enforcement and military community, everyday people exercise situational awareness in their daily lives. Driving, walking down the street, watching your kids, all involve some form of situational awareness. For those in the field of security, having good situational awareness is not only extremely useful, it can quite possibly save a life. Maybe your own!

Contrary to popular belief, being observant of one’s surroundings and identifying potential threats and dangerous situations is more of an attitude or mindset than it is a skill. And because of this, it can be adopted and employed by anyone! With a little bit of practice, it becomes quite easy to spot potential threats (even minor ones) and react to them before they develop into dangerous situations.

GENERAL RULES TO DEVELOP SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

1) Be Observant – That means pay attention! Whether it is to the car that is parked next to yours  in a dark parking lot or the intoxicated Patron stumbling towards you in the nightclub: WATCH, LOOK, and LISTEN. Individuals that mean you harm are usually so fixated on doing you harm, that they are unaware of  the signals they are putting out. They will cross the street to confront you, reach for a bottle on the bar to hit you, or look around while talking to you to see if they are being observed. Always be aware of not only the perceived threat, but of any possible threats in the near vicinity. In a nightclub setting this means watching to see who is watching you!

2) Be assertive! That means walking tall, talking firmly, and being prepared to REACT. When walking down the street or through the club, keep your head up, eyes scanning, and walk with purpose. Telling a person who is a perceived threat to “Back off!” will oftentimes throw them for a loop because A) their actions have been perceived to be threatening and they are used to the element of surprise and B) an assertive individual is NOT a victim. Once you have asserted yourself, DO NOT capitulate. If you tell someone to back off and they don’t, you now know what you are dealing with: an assailant. Maintain your composure and don’t back down. As Gavin de Becker says, “No matter how many times you say ‘No’, it only takes one ‘Yes’ to fuel an antagonist!'”

3) When you notice unusual behavior, REACT. If the group of young men cross the street towards you or blocks the sidewalk, cross the street the opposite way or head towards a lighted, populated area. If the drunk at the bar is wobbling on their feet, head towards them to keep them from falling over. Two Patrons arguing at the bar? Call for back-up and head towards the problem. Don’t let the situation pass without some sort of reaction, in the hopes that it is probably nothing or will resolve itself.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to pay attention to your intuition! If a situation feels wrong, it probably is. It is far better to get your signals mixed up and have to apologize for being rude than it is to end up in the hospital…or worse. In a situation that you can’t handle in the club? Call for back up. (In this case, why were you in the situation without back up to begin with?). On the street and being followed (or think you are)? Confront the follower or head to safety. If it feels bad, uncomfortable, unusual, or unsafe, don’t think, “Oh it’s probably nothing.” Instead, think of how you can avoid the situation, call for help, or leave the area.

We must also draw the distinction between being aware and being paranoid. Paranoia a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. Situational Awareness is being aware of your surroundings and avoiding trouble. IT IS NOT LOOKING FOR TROUBLE! When you place yourself in a position where everything that you see is perceived as a threat you begin to cultivate a paranoid view of the world, which besides being unhealthy, can lead to serious misjudgment and errors in action. Your line of thinking should be “Why is that individual standing in the shadows?”, NOT “That individual is standing in the shadows, therefore he/she is obviously out to get me!”

Any decisions that you make regarding your surroundings, the individuals within them, and your response to these individuals or circumstances should be based on observed behaviors instead of conjecture. Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of observation before you make any type of decision as to action.

Pay attention and stay safe.

Until next time…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We at Coast Executive Services hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season.

A much needed break helped to revitalize us and we are ready for another great year! In the next few months you will see some changes to the website (www.coastexecutiveservices.com), a few new additions to the blog (including product reviews and personnel interviews), and a surprise or two here and there.

As always, we believe it is our duty to enlighten, inform, and amuse. The Nightclub Industry is a tough one to work in and our goal is to lessen the stress and make your job easier, safer, and more secure.

Here’s to a great year!