We weren’t prepared for the impacts of a federal government shutdown. Credentialing efforts have to be completed early, and it is a clearly stated vetting process.
Defining team members was done well in advance; however, several key staff were
impacted by the federal government shutdown, and this impacted our resource
count and access to certain areas, and the credentialing deadline had passed. I
learned we are flexible in emergency management, if nothing else; however, this did
provide a direct hit to our resources in certain areas. The credentialed staff stepped
up, and I was proud of their efforts. I am grateful too for the numerous federal staffers across the Super Bowl LIII footprint who dedicated their time to doing their jobs
to support this event and provide for the safety of those in attendance.
FSM: How would you advise others who need to prepare for an event of this size?
TB: Planning ahead, well in advance, is key to a successful outcome. Super Bowl
planning begins 11 months prior to game day. That’s a lot of time to build those
professional relationships with partner government agencies, with whom you’ll be
working. It’s essential to have a well-defined role, know when and where you need
to be involved and integrated into the preparedness efforts and the execution of
your roles. The last thing anyone wants to do is to get in the way of other event
safety efforts. Knowing your role, communicating that role, preparing for its execution, and getting out of the way of others are crucial.
LM: For our dining halls, get guaranteed numbers.
For catering, plan as far in advance as possible. Unless you’ve done the Olympics
or a prior Super Bowl, you’re going to struggle. It’s not simple catering. There are a
lot of security clearance needs and moving parts. Have a strong leadership team—
that really helped us. Our employees were tired, but they were able to come in daily
and execute parties, and they didn’t have our levels of stress. The health department
will be your best friend; embrace it and just stay on your team in all areas.
VS: Devise a team of subject-matter experts who have a hand in your operational
objectives and meet early and often!
Take a fresh look at your FERP and make sure it addresses special event and food
defense planning considerations.
Develop a collectively approved Concept of Operations (ConOps).
Engage and test your lab systems in a surge event; there is a lot of coordination on the food sampling and laboratory front. It is critical that the UC [unified
command] gets experience in these operations and how surge sampling, a positive
sample, or a complaint investigation can impact your sampling operations and coordination efforts that may differ from normal routine regulatory sampling efforts.
Train together: Crawl, walk, run! In that order (take a fresh look at your plans,
policies and procedures, and contact lists; talk through these processes and look for
gaps and areas of improvement; and drill and/or physically go through these actions
to further identify gaps and areas of improvement).
Conduct facility site walk-throughs in advance of the operational period, and
again as you get closer to go time, consider the following: Assess how the environment may have changed—operational flow and access is very different closer to game
day and even during the 10-day operational period compared to normal operations;
define exactly how you are going to gain access to ingress/egress sites and foodservice site locations.
Document, document, document and then share. It is one thing for the unified
command to know what the expectations and plans are; it is another thing altogether for the operational staff to know.
Include safety briefings and have a safety officer. Safety considerations and preparing for a winter weather operation can be entirely different than post-hurricane
Don’t forget the importance of the logistical elements of a response; it can make
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