CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – It’s a question the manager of the Middle East nightclub in Cambridge immediately thought of as he learned of the deadly shooting at a California bar, “Could it happen here?”
Keeping patrons secure at the long-time establishment that can hold hundreds of people for concerts any given night is often reviewed and means several things. “We have panic bars on doors that push out, we’re up to code with emergency exits, so we hope we’re prepared for any kind of emergency,” said manager Ned Wellbery pointing to six different exits in one room alone.
At the door he says there are security guards and patrons can undergo pat-downs but what happened in California is a club’s worst nightmare. “We have a strict no weapons policy so the club can’t arm security guards,” he said. “We have detail cops but that’s as far as we can go.”
Experts say it may seem obvious but people don’t always know their surroundings. “Know where the exits are, understand and play in your mind what you would do if something like that happens in a place you’re in,” said WBZ-TV security expert Ed Davis.
He says California is another tragic case of indiscriminate shooting by a lone gunman, and he trains to help people react. “There are some people who freeze and because of that they die. You have to train yourself to react properly,” Davis said.
Ned Wellbery calls it a difficult balancing act and only hopes his club is prepared. “If someone bum rushed in what can you do? You have to be ready to rock.”