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Planning for Emergencies at Outdoor Events

Saturday night a freak storm came up at the Indiana State Fair and destroyed the main stage and killed four people, sending many more to the hospital. 

So here we go again. Just as these storms have wreaked havoc on much smaller tents at art fairs it even happens at the big events. The Indiana State Fair is one of the biggest ones in the country and a large crowd had gathered to hear the band, Sugarland.

Monday morning the regular staff meeting in preparation for Labor Day weekend's Arts, Beats & Eats in Royal Oak was even more intense preparing for even more disaster precautions. I'm sure everyone of you who participates in outdoor events understand the fragility of their situation when severe weather approaches. Please reevaluate your tents and weights and keep in mind possible disaster when you are setting up.

Here is the story from CMT News:
Indiana Concert Tragedy Underscores the Complex Art of Staging Outd...

Views: 1096

Comment by Nels Johnson on August 16, 2011 at 4:00pm

Connie,God bless.  We can be mindful, have 80 pounds of weights on each corner.  But if a big blow comes like that, or the one that hit Columbus, there is not much you can do besides get the hell out of your booth and go to some shelter.  let us just pray we don't get to participate in one of those blows.

Hey, it is to you all for thinking about it.

Comment by Nels Johnson on August 16, 2011 at 4:01pm
meant to say "thanks" after the hey.  F....typos!!
Comment by mark zurek on August 16, 2011 at 6:32pm

There are shows (Ft. Worth) that have your cell #, and will give you live weather updates.They pass out a newsletter each morning to let you know the news of the show, and again , the weather. Others, you are pretty much on your own and your best defense it watching the weather on your I phone. ANy of us that have been thru the rain and wind know quite well what to do. Weights PROPERLY installed the minimum, Stevo and I have a disaster plan we have worked thru, that gets everything off the walls, and off the floor. When weather hits, we know just what to do (Do a few mountain shows and you get the system down pat.)

Then, you see the happy campers with their first Easy Up, inventory in cardboard boxes. Ah youth, life was so uncomplicated back then.,

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 17, 2011 at 11:50am
This has got outdoor event people all over the country worried. I know we always complain when we have to move our booths because the fire marshal is being picky. This puts that into some kind of perspective and makes you more likely to understand their position.
Comment by Tahmi DeSchepper on August 17, 2011 at 11:52am

I thought this was an interesting article:


The main point is that it didn't take a genius to see this storm and it's wave of wind coming - it wasn't really a fluke. It's too bad that they delayed officially warning people of the danger - whether or not the stage collapsed the lightning threat alone should have had them getting people inside somewhere. I agree with the previous posters that it just goes back to having to take personal responsibility for making sure you stay safe! It's one of the main reasons I got my smartphone so I can keep an eye on the radar for myself.

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 17, 2011 at 1:04pm
So, they were warned. It is hard to get people to take these things seriously. I was running a show last summer and very high winds were coming and I had to tell the artists to leave their booths and take cover in nearby buildings -- but several of them would not leave their booths, preferring to protect the work!
Comment by Ginny Herzog on August 17, 2011 at 1:09pm
I purchased an iPhone this year for many reasons but two of the most important were the GPS capabilities (which has been fantastic) and apps like My Radar, so that I can bring up the weather radar anywhere at anytime. It is free! Gives me the piece of mind to be able to see storms coming my way, ahead of any warnings from show officials.
Comment by Barbara Pitorak Bloom on August 17, 2011 at 3:16pm
we were at a small show in mid july, but it was in a park and the rangers were very proactive.  They asked us to begin backing  and taking down our tents about an hour before the heavy storm hit.  And we were thankful that we responded because minutes after we were done packing we were inundated with 60 mph winds and driving pounding rain, heavy lightening.  So kudos to the park rangers for their dilligence.  I agree about instinct too... nothing is worth loosing life and limb.
Comment by Leslie Turner on August 17, 2011 at 5:34pm

Let's face it, it's not just teenagers who have an "It can't/won't happen to me" attitude. Most folks don't really believe disaster will ever strike them- until it does. It takes a lot of time, effort, and practice, to be prepared for "the worst". But preparedness is like car insurance. If you wait until you need it, it's way too late.

I really feel for any organizer/promoter trying to get folks who have paid to be somewhere to leave for their own good. Even if they are doing their best to do the right thing, there will always be those that don't believe the sky is going to fall on THEIR head. 

Comment by Oscar Matos Linares on August 17, 2011 at 8:10pm
You can go about  this over and over. Does not matter how secure your tent or what type of tent. If you get high winds or micro burst is nothing you can do other than hope for the best and run for a more secure area. There is difference between 25mph winds and 70mph winds. A tornado will flat a town so please be respectful people died in this very sad event. If you see the video we should be happy that very few lost of their life. This could be a lot worst.


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