By Stephen Nardi
President Donald Trump recently made a call to make bump stocks illegal. A bump stock is an attachment that enables a semiautomatic rifle to fire faster. Twelve of the rifles the gunman in last October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas had in his 32nd-floor Mandalay Hotel room were outfitted with bump stocks.
Ever since that incident, the hotel and security industries have been scrambling to develop new protocols that prevent against crisis situations like mass shootings. Of all the tools hotel management have, it is critical the tools that help save lives are shared with local first responders.
Many of the quicker fix ideas center on providing training for hotel staff and hiring additional security personnel. There are plentiful stories of much more intrusive security procedures in countries such as India, Indonesia and Israel, where hotels have been targeted in bombings. Some hotels are looking at measures such as scanning guests with metal detectors and putting bags through X-ray machines. And although Americans have become used to the intense security at airports, industry thinking shows consumers aren’t keen on hotels turning into airports.
One of the challenges hotels face that most other facilities don’t is the feeling of privacy and relaxation consumers want from hotels. They like tech innovations like mobile phone room keys and check in/out. But while they make the guest's experience smoother, the lack of engagement cuts down on the time that customers spend interacting with staff. That means fewer chances for staff to pick up on crucial red flags.
But what about other tech and tools that aren’t so visible? The idea of installing additional, more flexible surveillance cameras is a good one. On top of that, it doesn’t add any stress to the current customer experience. The issue is how to make that kind of tech a resource shareable to first responders.
An all-digital pre-plan program allows facility safety leads to share all kinds of information. No longer are first responders fighting through binders of paper pre-plans, they are swiping through a touch screen database of property information en route.
Along with highly-detailed grounds and facility characteristics, this kind of technology can actually share security camera video. Police and firefighters can get real time visuals, making them knowledgeable before they even arrive on site. This can drastically improve the odds of saving lives and property.
Hotels will continue to incorporate new tools, training and technology. But getting as much information into the hands of first responders is critical to making the experience safer for everyone.