Nearly a year and a half after the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting, more than 100 restaurant and bar owners have received active shooter training from the NYPD.
Following the mass shooting, in which 49 people were killed inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, on June 12, 2016, members of the NYC Hospitality Alliance were concerned that they weren’t prepared for such an attack.
“They weren’t comfortable they would know how to react,” said Inspector Thomas Conforti, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Crime Prevention Division, which meets quarterly with the alliance.
While the NYPD had active shooter training for office buildings, they didn’t have a specific plan for nightlife, so representatives from the department and the alliance sat down to come up with best practices and ground rules. That resulted in a video that was shared for the first time on Monday.
“The main focus is to familiarize their staffs with the different scenarios that can happen and devise an action plan for those scenarios,” Conforti said, adding that those action plans have to be practiced the same way fire drills are.
Some of the best practices include identifying key staff members who would take the lead if a situation arises, identifying safe rooms and exits in the restaurant or bar, having a continuing dialogue with police and being mindful of suspicious behavior, said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
“We have to be proactive and think about this,” Rigie said. “This is the state of the world we live in.”
The training video, about 9 minutes long, was shared with all members of the alliance, but will not be made public. It was shot at The DL, said Paul Seres, one of the owners of the downtown venue, a lounge, restaurant and event space on the Lower East Side.
Seres, who is on the board of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, noted that the nightlife industry is vulnerable to this type of attack. “We are a welcoming industry. We want people to come in and feel secure,” he said.
While owners and staff may not be able to prevent a shooting, the alliance hopes the training will help them save as many lives as possible.
Other groups or businesses interested in receiving active shooter training can make a request through their local police precinct.