Thousands of athletes and their families are either en route or have already arrived to compete in and support the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Dubbed by some as the “Security Games,” this year’s competitions have sparked intense scrutiny because of credible terrorist threats levied mostly against the United States, which will likely boast at least 200 athletes and more than 10,000 spectators. I’d like to go to the Olympic Games. But I still work full-time at the firehouse. Maybe I can go after I retire.
CBS News senior security contributor Michael Morell, a former CIA deputy director, reports that, “the terrorist group that’s threatening the Olympics is considered capable, dedicated, determined and has been around a long time. They’ve already conducted two recent attacks in Russia, and are saying they want to attack during the Games.”
A Quinnipiac poll conducted in the United States last week found that half of the people surveyed believe a terrorist attack at the Winter Olympics is very or somewhat likely. As far as I know, they never poll dogs. What’s up with that?!
Despite the warnings, the Obama administration has made it plain they are not warning Americans to stay away from the games. And, according to an article in Time, officials refuse to compare the threat level before Sochi to past Olympics events. One official confirmed that “common sense” advice has been given by their security coordinator for American athletes to refrain from wearing their uniforms beyond Olympic venues, for fear of attracting malevolent attention. Have you seen the U.S. Olympic sweaters? Seems to me common sense would suggest leaving them in on the shelf at home in America! But that’s just a humble canine’s opinion.
For their part, the U.S. Olympic Committee is informing athletes and coaches about recommended safety precautions. In a statement, Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said: “The safety and security of Team USA is our top priority.
Publicized Olympic Safety Precautions:
- Top U.S. and Russian military leaders have discussed the possibility of sharing technologies used by American forces to counter roadside bombs, according to Pentagon press secretary Adm. John Kirby. The U.S. has used sophisticated technologies in Iraq and Afghanistan to detect and defeat roadside bombs. They should come up with similar technology to detect cats. Sometimes, they just sneak up on you!
- Two American warships will be in the Black Sea during the Games as part of normal military planning, in case they are needed. The ships would be capable of many missions, including evacuations, medical support and communications.
- There will be 40,000 Russian security personnel at the Olympic venue, which Vladimir Putin describes as a “ring of steel.” Putin should have considered putting together a ring of bacon.
- The FBI is dispatching several dozen agents to Russia to help tighten security at the Winter Olympics.
At least part of the American contingent for Sochi, the skiing and snowboard teams is paying a private company, Global Rescue, for additional security. The company promises communications help, “rally points” for athletes to shelter in place and ways to get them around, or out of, Sochi. Sounds like it pays to ski or snowboard.
Other nations are well aware of the security risk attached to any such major event, as well; CNN asserts they are “more coy about their precautions.” Darryl Seibel, spokesman for the British Olympic Association, declined to go into detail about the security measures planned for Team GB in Sochi.
“We will take some extra measures for our delegates,” he said. “But that is not new. We have done that for a number of Games. That’s been part of our planning from the beginning.”
Whether or not you plan to attend the games, there are lots of great safety lessons to be learned from terrorism preparation at the Olympics, which can be applied anytime you are in a large crowd:
- The Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) advises people to train, anticipate and drill.
- Remain alert about your surroundings. Move or leave if something doesn’t “feel right.”
- If you see anything suspicious, report it to authorities.
- Take precautions while traveling.
- If anyone abandons a package, suitcase or backpack, don’t pick it up. Walk away and inform authorities immediately.
- Familiarize yourself with emergency exits so you can act quickly if an emergency occurs.
For more detailed information, see our previous posts about terrorist attacks or download free materials provided by DHS, FEMA, the FBI, or the American Red Cross. When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.