The Watch, formerly Security, is Arisia's team of nerds who have studied how to resolve emotionally challenging and dangerous situations and are volunteering to be sober, aware, and ready to help in case of a situation that compromises the safety of any convention member.
The Watch aims to be a group you can come to in any situation you are concerned about. They are trained in areas including deescalation, crowd control, bystander training and situational awareness, CPR, and First Aid. Watch members go through the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) workshops. They also have contact information for Medical, and the Incident Response Team at all times, and at times act as triage for these other two groups. The ultimate goal of many Watch members is to be a safe person; someone who sees trouble before it happens and is ready to help in any physical or emotional emergency.
You will likely see Watch members traveling the con in small groups. These groups are composed of members with an assortment of complementary skills in order to be prepared for as many circumstances as possible. The Watch members spread throughout the con, checking hallways, back doors and stairs, and other areas of the hotel. Watch HQ is located with Operations (Ops). During most of Arisia the Watch will keep a team by Con Suite and another near the Dealers' Room.
A Watch member can be recognized by a brightly colored (Dayglo yellow) safety vest, a Watch badge, and the black ribbon labeled The Watch attached to their staff badge.
The Watch will happily take volunteers and train them to become Watch members. The Volunteer form is at https://www.arisia.org/VolunteerSignup
This is a challenging, multi-part, and incredibly rewarding process. New volunteers need not worry about immediately being thrust into the most difficult situations. Any new Watch member is slowly introduced into the ways we maintain Con safety in order both to manage the stress on the volunteer as well as ensure that Arisia attendees are always being safeguarded by well-trained and experienced members of our Watch safety team.
If you have been wanting to develop some emergency response skills consider asking a member of The Watch how to go about it. You might learn something really amazing!