New protective guidelines issued for mass gatherings - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

New protective guidelines issued for mass gatherings

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The focus of the world in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings is now safety and security and festivals and events. 

New guidelines have been quickly put in place and circulated for mass gatherings. Savannah companies received those new rules Wednesday night.

They came in an email, including a new, brief, but comprehensive pre-event and day-of-event checklist for companies to reference when working with local authorities, law enforcement, security and operations teams.

Right now, Hilton Head Island has the RBC Heritage Golf event and Savannah is gearing up for it's first large gathering since Boston, the much smaller scale, few thousand people MS Walk Savannah in Daffin Park on Saturday morning.

Businesses in charge of organizing the technical and production side of events like these are being asked to be on alert for anything unusual, like strange packages, or possible improvised explosive devices.

"Whenever we are at large events like marathons, like concerts, fundraisers, we pretty much know what belongs there and what does not," Michael Gaster, Capital Productions, told WTOC.

Gaster's company produced the Tara Feis last month and said it went off with few problems, but the new guidelines set up my may end up creating more hassles than increased security, he said.

The new Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Awareness and Protective Measures for Mass Gatherings document will serve as a guideline for implementing recommended protective measures for mass gathering events. It includes most everyone, even a small community fundraiser, like the MS Walk Savannah, which is a low profile, low budget event, and an unlikely terrorist target.

Gaster says the new guidelines, if strictly enforced, could create issues.

"It seems to be a bit knee jerk and one of the first things when I started reading the guidelines was what about the non-profits? They may now have to comply with the guideline at an expense that may exceed what their event cost is or what they are trying to raise for that event," Gaster said,

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