COLLEGE STATION – Emergency responders in Arizona are better prepared for the upcoming Super Bowl XLIX thanks to training conducted by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).
An estimated 80,000 fans are expected to attend the NFL’s pinnacle event at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, on Feb. 1. Up to 1 million people are expected to visit the downtown Phoenix area, named the official “Super Bowl Central,” where several major events will be held.
Over the past several months, TEEX has trained more than 175 emergency personnel in courses related to critical infrastructure protection, threat and risk assessment, and sports and special events risk management, incident management, and evacuation training and exercise.
“The National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center has worked cooperatively with our friends and partners at NCS4 and our fellow National Domestic Preparedness Consortium members to assist Arizona with its preparations for the Feb. 1st hosting of the Super Bowl,” said Hank Lawson, Director of TEEX’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC). “It has been an exciting collaboration that helped prepare Arizona for the event and prepare the partners for future requests of this magnitude.”
Training has focused on the unique aspects of response to an incident occurring during a sports or special event, including considerations for business continuity. Attendees have learned to manage an incident using a multi-disciplinary team within the framework of the National Incident Management System. In addition, training was conducted in developing and implementing sport event security management plans, evacuation plans, and resiliency action plans that include owners and operators of special event facilities.
Local government personnel, elected officials, emergency responders and others also received training in identifying threats and hazards, assessing risks, and developing a strategy for allocating resources for preparedness and mitigation.
The training was conducted by TEEX through DHS/FEMA’s National Training and Education Division as part of the Homeland Security National Training Program. Some of the training represents a cooperative effort between The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Security and Safety (USM/ NCS4) and the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center at TEEX.
Lawson said TEEX is already discussing training needs with city officials and emergency managers in future Super Bowl locations, including San Francisco, Houston and Minneapolis/St. Paul. All three cities are hosting training on conducting Jurisdictional Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) in the next few months.