Keeping Houston Safe During Major 2017 Events

By Melissa Follstad, May 8, 2017 | SHARE

When your city plays host to not one but two of the largest events of their kind in the world within the space of a month, your public safety and security apparatus has to be world-class as well.

That was certainly the case in the City of Houston earlier this year when the National Football League’s annual Super Bowl championship game was played there on February 5, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLS&R) — the largest such event in the world — kicked off on March 7.

In the array of software and technology deployed to monitor these two major events, Haystax Technology provided critical tools to help Houston’s public safety personnel ensure the safety of the participants, fans and key facilities.

Super Bowl LI

Over one million people, including more than 140,000 out-of-town guests, attended at least some Super Bowl LI events from January 27 through February 6. While they were enjoying the pre-event festivities and the game itself, public-safety personnel from Houston and around the country worked tirelessly to monitor the situation and keep people safe.

Haystax software was deployed in Houston-area command centers in support of Super Bowl LI — as it has for seven prior Super Bowls. It was used to monitor safety concerns, crowd sizes, protest sizes and locations, criminal and suspicious activities, potential hazardous materials and public safety access issues, plus over 200 separate events, including official NFL-sponsored events, unaffiliated parties and protests.

Houston personnel deployed the Haystax Constellation Mobile Indicator field reporting application to submit and track PARs, or personnel accountability reports. Houston Fire Department (HFD) personnel who were deployed within the event footprint conducted PARs every hour and on an as-needed basis. These critical reports, submitted to and instantly viewable in the Constellation domain awareness system, informed command-post and emergency operations center personnel of the health and status of all personnel in the field.

Firefighters also utilized field reporting to provide updates and additional information about critical or potentially hazardous events. These reports provided public safety officials with important information without having to utilize radios or mobile phones.

According to Jeffrey Cook, Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Houston, “The technology allowed field members to report issues of a sensitive nature back to the command post without having to use portable radios. This provided increased situational awareness in the footprint without the opportunity for others to intercept radio messages.”

Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

To secure all HLS&R activities, participants and attendees, the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety deployed Haystax’s risk management software and Mobile Indicator app throughout the event, which took place from March 7-26 at Houston’s NRG Park.

This was no small undertaking. NRG Park is comprised of 350 acres and millions of square feet of event and exhibit space, including NRG Stadium, NRG Arena, NRG Astrodome and the NRG Center. During the rodeo there were more than 33,000 volunteer workers and a record total attendance of over 2.6 million, all protected by thousands of public safety personnel.

HLS&R committee volunteers used Haystax apps in the following ways

According to Chief Cook, “Traditionally, responders have had difficulty locating calls for service around the Rodeo area, due to its size. The ability for team members to use the Mobile Indicator app, which has better location services, as well as share photographs of their location in real time, cut down on confusion and led to faster response.”

Haystax Technology’s Constellation Analytics Platform™ delivers advanced security analytics and risk-management solutions that enable rapid understanding and response to virtually any type of cyber or physical threats. In particular, Constellation for Incident Management detects, monitors, analyzes, communicates and responds to emerging threats and ongoing incidents from a single incident management system – whether it’s used for corporate security, law enforcement, school safety or fire safety.

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Melissa Follstad is a project manager and analyst at Haystax Technology.