Bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors ratchet up Firefly security measures

What bands are playing on what days this year? We now know. Wochit

It’s been more than eight months since 58 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival were gunned down while watching their favorite country artists perform in Las Vegas.

That has meant a lot of sleepless nights for Firefly’s head of security Jim Hosfelt Jr., whose job it is to keep more than 90,000 people attending Dover’s annual Firefly Music Festival safe.

In its eighth year, the four-day music festival draws big crowds and big acts, which requires heightened security. Headlining the 2018 Firefly Music Festival are Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys and The Killers, among others.

In addition to the headliners, 90 other acts will take to the stages at The Woodlands, in the shadows of Dover International Speedway.

Firefly Music Festival has had only one female headliner out of 26

Hosfelt said it’s tragedies like the one in Las Vegas where a lone gunman killed 59 people and injured 851 others and the Ariana Grande concert in England last year where 22 people were killed and 59 injured by a suicide bomber that motivates the security force of about 1,000 to make sure something like that never happens in Delaware.

“These are the things that keep me up at night,” said Hosfelt, who has been the director of public safety and track operations at Dover Speedway since 2014. “It’s a year-long process to prepare for Firefly.”

Before the tragedies that cast a pall over concerts around the world, other than a weather-related evacuation in 2015 and a pair of serious crashes outside of The Woodlands in 2016, Firefly has successfully avoided any serious incident of note.

Hosfelt hopes to keep it that way.

Preparations have included a large-scale mass casualty exercise in April in conjunction with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency that took place on site.

In the exercise, and the months of planning before the run-through, security and medical personnel from the Dover Police Department, Delaware State Police, DelDOT and the Kent County Department of Safety worked together to make sure every contingency was covered.

“We plan for the worst-case scenario,” Hosfelt said. “We have taken all of the steps to ensure that the Firefly Music Festival is a safe and enjoyable environment for all of our guests.”

In addition to months of training and preparation, new security measures will be in place this year to make sure nothing construed as a threat makes it into the parking lots…

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