Canada More surveillance cameras and vehicle barriers in place for 2018 Calgary Stampede

23:50  03 july  2018
23:50  03 july  2018 Source:   calgaryherald.com

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Expect increased security measures at this year’s Calgary Stampede, including more security cameras throughout the park as well as concrete barriers to protect against potential vehicular attacks.

“This year, I feel the most confident that we have in a long time about the way we prepared — we’re as ready as we have ever been,” said Tom Sampson, deputy chief of Calgary Emergency Management Agency at a news conference Tuesday to outline Stampede security measures.

“(In the past) we have run a series of three exercises and this year we ran six.”

Those exercises prepare emergency services for a wide-variety of events, like instances where people fall on train tracks or part of the grounds have to be evacuated — or in a worst-case scenario, a person tries to use a vehicle as a weapon.

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In September 2017, a man used a U-Haul van to mow down pedestrians in Edmonton, an event emergency management staff kept in the back of their minds when preparing for this year’s Stampede.

“We’re fully aware of the requirement for vehicle mitigation and mitigating vehicle attacks, and steps will be taken to ensure that will most difficult,” said Sampson.

“We’re quite optimistic we have all the measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors.”

“You’ll note there are changes at the entrances, some that are very visible, and some that would show up at landscaping.”

Sampson said he was told by Calgary police that the terror threat level is medium nation-wide and that there is no increased concern ahead of the Stampede.

“We should have a good and safe Stampede but at the same time it’s our job to plan for the worst and expect the worst,” he said.

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Kerrie Blizard, manager of guest experiences at the Stampede, said the Stampede has changed the look of entrances to provide a more efficient experience for attendees.

“At our new arrival design, you will find our entrances to be more open. We have worked … to make it more accessible to guests,” she said.

Jim Laurendeau, vice-president of park planning and development at the Calgary Stampede, said they have been hard at work since last year’s event ended.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance our practices and our response to things happening around us,” he said.

“A lot of work has been done since last Stampede to add to, and improve our safety measures.”

Among those, there are hundreds of security cameras across Stampede Park as well as an on-site meteorologist.

“For every public safety measure visible, there are others that are not,” Laurendeau added.

“One example of this is our weather monitoring and response program. Weather events are the most frequent public safety issue we handle.”

The Stampede, alongside Environment Canada, has its own meteorologist with an on-site weather station to monitor weather for Stampede-goers.

Laurendeau said that if you are considering bringing something to Stampede you are not sure of, remember that “if you wouldn’t bring it to the airport, you can’t bring it to the Stampede.”

A full list of prohibited items — which includes weapons, alcohol and drugs — is available on the Calgary Stampede website.

zlaing@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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