It pains me whenever I read articles like this one:
First, the loss of life over what was probably a fairly minor incident is tragic. Second, it is a reminder of the dangers of working in entertainment venues. And third, it makes me wonder, “Could something different have been done to prevent the violent outcome?”
Working in any venue where alcohol is being served is inherently dangerous. Too often those new to the industry (and more than a few veterans), believe that dealing with intoxicated individuals is “no big deal” or even chuckle at the idea of “tossing out the drunks”. The REALITY of the job is far different. Intoxicated individuals are dangerous. They are a danger to themselves and to others, especially if they are highly intoxicated. The REALITY of intoxication is that it fundamentally changes the way people think. Besides the loss of motor skills and impairment of speech and balance, intoxication can significantly effect judgement, self- control,caution, and reason. These changes can in turn place intoxicated individuals and those around them in extremely dangerous and volatile situations. And you know who else can find themselves in those situations…?
I do not claim to know what happened in the tragic case above. But based on the regular appearance of stories like this in the news, a basic scenario can be formulated:
- Patron acts in non-accordance with venue rules
- Patron is asked to leave
- Patron resists attempts at removing them from premises
- Patron is removed from premises (possibly with unnecessary force)
- Patron/Security taunt one another after removal
- Patron attacks Security (or vice versa)
- Patron/Security is injured or killed
At every point of this scenario, there are a myriad of factors that need to be taken into account. And even when taking those factors into account, every action can span a myriad of other reactions! The bottom line for Security Staffers is very simple:
WHENEVER INTERACTING WITH AN INTOXICATED PATRON, YOU MUST ACT WITH PATIENCE AND PAY EXTREMELY CLOSE ATTENTION TO YOURSELF, THE PATRON, AND THE PATRON’S FRIENDS
Small missteps, the wrong tone of voice, and the wrong attitude (generally on the part of the Staffer) can lead to terrible situations. This can be in a situation as basic as asking someone to move so that you can get by with a stack of chairs or as serious as an ejection. A cool head can quite literally save your life. Things like having back-up, knowing how to deal with intoxicated Patrons, and yes even ejecting people, should NEVER be trivialized or approached with a nonchalant attitude. Watch out for yourself, your co-workers, and yes…the Patrons.
Until next time…