Long article but the gist is, Could a shooting be prevented at a fitness center. Maybe ask the manager for free membership for CCW holders in case of another shooting?
Is it possible to protect fitness centers?
By Leischen Stelter - 09.2009
PITTSBURG--The fatal shooting on Aug. 5 at the L.A. Fitness Club here, which killed three women and injured nine more when an armed man entered an all-women's exercise class and sprayed more than 50 bullets, is a tragic reminder that every organization needs to be prepared for the unthinkable.
It's got fitness centers around the country talking about security like never before. "We never anticipated a situation like that would occur," said John Craig, brand development director for Planet Fitness, which has franchisee clubs in 31 states. "We have written, detailed protocol if someone is injured in our club and what to do in a power outage, but those are about the extent of our crisis situations."
And, despite the tragedy of this event, can it really be expected that fitness centers will enhance security? "Some crimes are unpreventable and this may be one of them," said Chris Falkenberg, president of consulting firm Insite Security. At press time, official reports have not established whether the gunman had any existing connection with any of the women targeted in the shooting. The absence of a prior connection is the most troubling aspect of this incident, said Falkenberg.
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, which represents over 9,750 for profit health and fitness facilities, declined multiple opportunities to comment on security recommendations or concerns in fitness centers.
However, Falkenberg said that an increase in training for employees could have possibly reduced the number of injured, but would likely not have thwarted this situation. "Training staff about what they should do if they're near an active shooter situation [is a possible solution]," he said. Craig said that Planet Fitness employees are extensively trained in how to handle harassment issues or unruly or misbehaving patrons, but does not outline procedures to the level of the violence experienced in Pittsburg. One hard and fast rule that Planet Fitness does enforce, which may have deterred the gunman, was that it does not allow gym bags anywhere on the gym floor. The gunman brought multiple weapons concealed in a gym bag into the aerobics class.
Stationing guards or installing screening technology is also not viable in this environment, he said. Craig said that Planet Fitness took notice of the event, and it led to a number of internal discussions, but those discussions have not led to actions. "We were obviously stunned something like this could happen, but we don't have reason to change the way we do business because of it," he said.