Q: When are you going to start using metal detectors?
A: The metal detectors are already installed or staged at all entrances to Safeco Field. However, we will be phasing in their use over the first couple of months of the season. We are still gathering information and training our staff, so the enhanced screening measures won't be fully in place until sometime around All-Star break. All Major League teams are required to use the enhanced security measures by Opening Day 2015.
Q: Why are the Mariners making this change?
A: Major League Baseball works closely with Homeland Security and is keenly tuned into the current security environment at public events. MLB is mandating this change to increase and standardize security practices across the game. Fan safety is a top priority for the Seattle Mariners and we believe this change poses minimal inconvenience for fans and provides the assurance of an additional level of security screening.
Q: What can fans expect at the gates of Safeco Field?
A: Gate hosts and security staff will be on the outside of all ballpark gates. Your game tickets will now be scanned outside the ballpark. Security personnel will search bags, just as they have since 2001. Once tickets have been scanned and bags searched, fans will be asked to take their cell phones and car keys out of their pockets and pass them around the metal detector. Fans will then pass through the walk-through metal detector. If the device detects something, that fan will be checked with a hand-held wand only in the area where the alert was detected. If necessary, there will be a light pat-down of the area where the alert occurred.
Q: Do I have to take off my jacket or shoes?
A: No, you do not have to take off your jacket or your shoes.
Q: Does this mean it's going to take a long time to get through the gates before each game?
A: We are making every effort to make sure that this security enhancement doesn't slow down the process of getting into the game. That is one of the main reasons we are phasing in the use of metal detectors over the first few months of the season. We want to give fans a chance to get used to the new rules and give our staff the opportunity to be fully trained and proficient before the enhances security measures are in full use at all ballpark entrances.
Q: Are the Mariners restricting bag size, like the NFL?
A: No, we are not changing our bag policy. The Mariners will continue to allow bags, backpacks and purses, as long as the bags are not larger than 16" x 16" x 8". All bags, including women's purses, will continue to be subject to inspection and checked upon entry.
Q: Are metal detectors safe?
A: Metal detectors operate at a very low frequency of electromagnetic pulses. There is no exposure to radiation. The electromagnetic levels are lower than you are exposed to on a routine basis from using a cell phone or an automatic garage door opener. Metal detectors are safe for all individuals, including pregnant women, children and people with pacemakers. But if you are concerned about using the walk-thru or hand-held detectors, you can be checked with a pat-down search.
Q: Will it hurt my pacemaker?
A: All security metal detectors are manufactured in compliance with international technical as well as medical standards. The risk of disrupting a pacemaker is negligible. However, if you are concerned, there is the option of a pat-down search.
Q: I have a medical implant that sets off metal detectors. What is going to happen to me at the gate?
A: Today's security technology has evolved to the point where certain personal effects and conditions can be accounted for and eliminated as alarm triggers. But when the need arises, fans can be subject to security follow-up including screening with a hand-held wand or gentle pat-down only in the area where the alert was detected.
Q: What if I don't want to pass through the metal detector?
A: If the fan has a medical condition and does not want to go through the walk-through metal detector, they will be directed to a gate that is used to accommodate wheelchairs. At that gate, fans will be subject to a light pat-down search.
Q: Do children have to go through the metal detectors?
A: Major League Baseball is requiring that all people who enter MLB ballparks on game days will have to go through enhanced security screening. Parents may carry infants and toddlers through the walk-through metal detectors. Children in strollers who are old enough and able to walk, may be asked to walk through on their own. Or they can be accommodated at the wheelchair entrance where the child will be subject to a gentle pat-down.
Q: Can I still bring a stroller through the metal detector? What about a wheelchair?
A: People with strollers and those who use wheelchairs have usually entered through a barrier-free gate. That option is still be available, but those entering the ballpark through those designated gates will still be checked with a hand-held metal detector or with a gentle pat-down. The security enhancements are mandated by MLB, all fans will have to participate to get into the ballpark. We think the process will be quick, safe and easy and most fans will recognize that the procedure is needed to help improve fan safety and security.
Q: Can I bring in my pocketknife?
A: We do allow folding knives with blades that are 3.5 inches or smaller. Fixed blade knives, or those with blades longer than 3.5 inches will not be permitted in the ballpark. You can either take a prohibited knife back to your car or leave it at the gate and claim it when you leave.
Q: What about knitting needles?
A: Knitting needles are permitted at Safeco Field.
Q: I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. How will this affect my rights?
A: This change does not affect the Seattle Mariners longstanding weapons-free policy at Safeco Field. This is out of concern for the safety and comfort of our fans, as well as to comply with MLB's weapon-free workplace policy. That policy directs all teams to prohibit possession or use of deadly weapons in facilities owned or operated by teams, except for qualified law enforcement personnel, including off-duty officers, engaged in official duties. Fans are asked to leave their weapon in a secure location before entering Safeco Field.
Q: Safeco Field is a public place. What about my constitutional right to carry a weapon?
A: Safeco Field, while it is a public facility, is privately operated. Private operators have the right to establish rules regarding what activities and behaviors are allowed inside the ballpark. Safeco Field is a weapons-free facility and unless you are a member of law enforcement, you are not allowed to bring a weapon inside the ballpark.