Knoxville leaders work to keep events safe in wake of UK attack

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – At least 22 people are dead after an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Fifty-nine others were hurt and some of the victims are under 16. The youngest is said to be an 8-year-old girl.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced the threat level in the region has been raised from severe to critical, the highest possible. The change indicates another attack may be imminent.

Related: Manchester police hunt for accomplices; victims young as 8

The man suspected of carrying out the attack, Salman Abedi, 22, died at the scene, but police are trying to determine if he acted alone or as part of a group. ISIS is also claiming responsibility.

With upcoming events in Knoxville like Festival on the Fourth, the city is working to make sure you and your family is safe in the event of an attack.

Knoxville Police Department Sergeant and Homeland Security Coordinator Sammy Shaffer says Knoxville takes cues after events, like the one in Manchester, to improve on public events and safety.

He says in any citywide public event, the important thing in an emergency situation is to listen.

“If we have to make an announcement, those stages that sound system. If you hear information coming across those, tune into that, be attentive to that and follow those directions,” he said.

“There’s a lot of security out there that people don’t even know is utilized. I think that’s a sign of the times as well.” said Judith Foltz, Director of Events for the City of Knoxville.

University of Tennessee post-doctoral fellow in global security Eric Keels says you’re more likely to be killed in a car crash than a terrorist attack.

“Generally terrorist attacks are rare. It’s very, very rare to experience or be near a terrorist attack. You are much more likely to die in an automobile accident on the way to a venue then to suffer from a terrorist attack,” Keels said. “So the likelihood a person living in East Tennessee would be the victim of a terrorist attack is relatively low.”

In a statement, the Bijou Theatre released in regards to the attack: “The safety of our patrons is our number one concern, and we work closely with both the police and private security providers to regularly review our procedures to insure the highest standards of security at all of our events.”

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