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  • Posted By Scott
  • |
  • Apr 02, 2022

Using the 10-5 rule as Risk Mitigation in Event Security

One of the challenges of event security is walking the line between good customer service and being an authority of the venue to enforce the rules. It is a fine line to walk for many uniformed security staff because, if they are too relaxed, they will face criticism for not doing the job properly. On the flip side, a hyper-vigilant guard is often perceived to be aggressive and spoiling for a reason to engage.

Professional Security Guards, and their companies, often take additional training to make them more effective in what they do. This training may include both Situational Awareness and Active Assailant training. At 3DSRS (3D Security & Response Services), this training includes the discussion of PAINs, which is an acronym for Pre-Attack INdicators.

To be successful, the security team needs to be equipped with a sound knowledge on Emergency Management Plans (EMP), be aware of the venue or event specific emergency procedures, have a proper grasp of PAINs, and possess professional security judgment.

When all this is in place, Security Guards can potentially identify a situation before it escalates. What this means is that the security team moves from being simply a Response (wait until something bad happens and then try to manage it) capacity to a Risk Mitigation model (decreasing the effect of the incident on the venue/event).

The 10-5 rule has its basis in customer service. At the most basic level, the rule states that when the guard is within 10 feet of a participant, they should make eye contact and smile at the person. When, and if, that distance decreases to 5-feet, then eye contact should be accompanied by a polite greeting, maybe something as simple as a smile and “are you having a good time?”.

The purpose of this interaction is to gauge the reaction of the attendee, as well as to ensure that the security guard is representing the company and the venue professionally. Two examples of PAINs include rambling or muttering to oneself and difficulty in communication. If, during the greeting, one of these is noticed, then the security guard should not move on and should decide on an appropriate course of action.

It must be noted that the existence of a PAIN does not necessarily mean that a disaster is about to strike – it is usually an evaluation tool used by security to determine if closer observation or potentially intervention is required. The general rule of situational awareness looks for 3 or more PAINs to be present to be considered outside the normalcy baseline.

At events, the front entrance is one of the easiest venues to incorporate the 10-5 rule, as a greeting is usually expected from the guard and there is usually interaction with everyone entering. Inside the event, depending on crowd size, it can be more challenging to implement. However, with a working knowledge of PAINs, a patrolling security guard may notice something amiss with a participant. If they do, they can choose to position themselves within 10 feet of the participant and look to make eye contact (with a smile). If something feels off, the guard can choose to either withdraw and bring in a supervisor, or (if safe to do so) move within 5 feet for the greeting. Once again, the greeting is used to solicit information, gauge the reaction, and confirm/deny the presence of additional PAINs.

As a final thought, this article would remind everyone about the value of teamwork and professional training. If there is one take-away, it would be to not ignore a gut feeling, and instead pass it up the chain of command or seek further information (if it is safe to do so).