‘Safety is paramount’: Kelowna nightlife can be a zoo sometime

Nightclub manager David Habib talks safety and security

When it comes to nightlife security, minds drift back to old-school bouncers and Road House rules with the strongest, burliest guys in town just itching to throw people out.

That’s not the case, today.

Modern-day security guards are now trained professionals.

The manager of the Liquid Zoo, David Habib, sat down with Capital News to discuss what it takes to work in the field.

“Back in the early 90s when I first got into the business, you had to stock yourself with the biggest, toughest guys because they had to be capable of dealing with all kinds of issues which were pretty much a weekly thing.”

Security at liquor establishments is required to be licensed through the province and complete Basic Security Training, a 40-hour course including a final exam.

The Liquid Zoo takes this one step further by requiring all security staff to complete Advanced Security Training, allowing them to use handcuffs as restraints.

“Since we reopened in February, [using handcuffs as restraints] maybe happened two or three times. It’s not a very regular thing and it’s all going to be dependent on the person’s attitude.”

As manager, Habib keeps his license up-to-date by renewing it every three years.

He also has several bartenders and other staff, including women, that are licensed for security if needed.

When asked why Habib said it all comes down to safety.

“Safety is paramount. I’ll use myself as an example, in 2019 I got punched in the eye, I got blindsided by an individual,” Habib said. “I lost 50 per cent of vision in my left eye for nothing. Absolutely, nothing. There was no reason to do it… It’s one of those things that we don’t want that to happen to another staff member. I’m lucky that I’ve still got some vision.”

And it’s not just safety for staff, but for everyone who walks through the door.

IDs are scanned, pictures taken, and security pats patrons down for drugs and weapons.

“The basis for it is for public safety. If there’s somebody who’s flagged as a public safety risk it’ll be on there and then they can’t come in, that’s just the way it is. So, you don’t want to get banned as a public safety risk, because you’re not going in anywhere. We’re not just talking North America, this system is in Australia and many other cities around the world. It’s actually taking the world by storm and I think with great reason. Look at what’s happened in the States, in the nightclub shootings and things like that. For everybody to have to be identified is a pretty important thing.”

Habib says everyone deserves to have a good time and go home at the end of the night.

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@thebrittwebster
brittany.webster@blackpress.ca

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