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5 Ways to Defuse a Heated (and Potentially Dangerous) Confrontation

1. Scan for signs of tension

In order to deescalate conflict, security officers must first be aware of what that conflict might look like. Signs may present more obviously, with raised voices or cocked fists that may even draw a surrounding crowd, depending on the venue. Or, you may need to look more closely to identify physical signs of a disturbance. 

For one, facial expression changes as anger rises. Brows furrow, lips tend to form a thin line, nostrils flare and the face also may blush and turn redder as anger builds. You may also spot tension in the body with clenched fists, stiff shoulders and even sweating. All of these physical signs may indicate that a situation is heating up and requires intervention.

2. Establish authority and intention

Once a situation needs an authority figure, it’s important to establish from the start who you are and what you are there to do. Clearly define your role at the event or venue as a security officer and explain that you’re here to help. Remember, the first goal is to calm those involved without having to take any additional measures. Defusing a situation before it becomes a problem is far superior to reacting to violence as it occurs.