Burning Man Commissions a Strategic and Independent Assessment of Safety and Security Practices

Black Rock City, LLC Sets Out to Align the Event’s Safety and Security with Best Practices in Major Event Security, Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness

August 30, 2010, Reno, NV – Today, as the Burning Man event kicks off 120 miles north of Reno, Black Rock City, LLC, the organization that hosts the event, announced that it has begun a formal assessment of the safety and security practices that protect the intentional community of more than 48,000 participants that assembles for the eight-day event in the Black Rock Desert. In July event organizers engaged Hillard Heintze, a strategic security and advisory management firm to conduct the independent review.

“At the center of the Burning Man ethos and tradition – going back to its inception – lies the concept of participation along with a passionate celebration of characters, capacities and creative ideas,” said Larry Harvey, Executive Director and Founder of the event. “But to get to this freedom – as individuals, as communities, as a single spontaneous city – you have to be safe and secure. And at Burning Man that requires coordination of all of the staff and agencies involved.”

Law enforcement agencies collaborating to police the event and surrounding communities include the Bureau of Land Management, Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Highway Patrol and the Nevada Department of Investigations.

The assessment will be conducted during the event and then completed in the fall. The results will be released to Black Rock City, LLC, and then shared with the law enforcement agencies involved. “We are pleased to be working with the other law enforcement agencies involved to do the type of independent assessment that has never been done before,” said Marian Goodell, Director of Business, Communications and Department of Public Works. “And the importance of the assessment extends beyond the Burning Man event. As our Regional Network has grown to 160 contacts worldwide, twenty-five of which are producing multi-day Burning Man-inspired events, the importance of having a benchmark for public health and safety at community events is of critical importance.”

“This is a very important undertaking – and a timely one,” said Arnette Heintze, CEO of Hillard Heintze. “Given factors such as the scale of the event, the number of participants and the harshness and unpredictability of the weather, it’s important to continually understand, update and apply best practices in security, safety and emergency response as they are refined and advanced in other large-scale venues. We are honored to be of assistance – particularly because, in many respects, Burning Man is a remarkably unique and unmatched community environment which isn’t entirely comparable to other mass-gathering events and, in its own right, needs to be ready to define and set benchmarks and best practices on its own that in some cases, may advance excellence in the field.”

About Hillard Heintze
Hillard Heintze provides the strategic thought leadership, trusted counsel and end-to-end services that help leading public and private corporations as well as government agencies and major public service organizations advance best-in-class security strategies and investigations to protect and preserve the safety of their people, property, performance and reputation. For the last two years in a row, Hillard Heintze has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies. The magazine ranked Hillard Heintze No. 242 on the 2009 Inc. 500 list and No. 583 on the 2010 Inc. 5000 list. For more information go to www.hillardheintze.com.

About Burning Man
For 20 years, the Black Rock Desert outside of Reno, Nevada, has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man event. The annual art event, which began on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, has grown to attract more than 48,000 participants annually, from every state of the Union and 22 countries worldwide. Based on corporate accounting and participant survey data, the organization estimates that it contributes significantly to the northern Nevada economy through permits, taxes, rentals and the money that participants spend on groceries, gas, supplies and lodging on the way to and from the event.


Raymond Allen
Government Relations & Legal Affairs Manager
Black Rock City, LLC
3450 Third Street, Bldg. 2A
San Francisco, CA 94124
ray (at) burningman (dot) com
Tel: 415.865.3800 x137
Fax: 415.865.3820 [para_end]

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.