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HOW TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED ISSUES AT OUTDOOR EVENTS

 
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THURSDAY // JUNE 14

HOW TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED ISSUES AT OUTDOOR EVENTS

Another toasty Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee has proven once again that the heat can be very unforgivable if proper precautions are not carried out. On Friday morning, a 32-year old man had been found dead inside a vehicle, with an autopsy expected to determine the cause of death, reported USA Today. Although no foul play is suspected, his death signifies the 13th fatality in Bonnaroo history.

This also really touches on the vital rule, if you see something say something. We don’t know the details of the man’s death but if we look out for each other or simply follow the buddy system, we are doing our best to prevent a tragedy.

Dozens of festival attendees had been treated for heat-related issues already on the festival’s second day with temperature of 90 degrees with a heat index of 99, Sheriff’s office spokesman Lucky Knott told USA Today. Some of these people had to be transported and treated at local hospitals.

Education is key when it comes to heat-related illness prevention and treatment. We can observe what the experts have to say in order to stay safe when outside for a number of days in a row under hot conditions.

Outlined by the Red Cross website, here are some tips on how to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses:

Prior to hitting festival grounds, you should know the locations of shade areas and also air conditioned areas for when your body is in need of a break from the heat. Know where your medical emergency services are. For Bonnaroo and most festies, the map and map on the website outlines where the 24/7 medical tents are located. If you cannot access these, there are plenty of staff to help you locate the help you need.

The following bullets come from The Red Cross website, and they really do apply to both workers and attendees in outdoor events with excessive heat conditions:  

  • The Red Cross urges you to drink water and other non-alcoholic beverages whenever possible, even if you may not feel thirsty.
  • Eat small meals and eat often
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light colored clothing. Wearing dark colors as we know only absorbs the sun’s heat causing you to feel much hotter than the next person. Those festival pants may look cute but they are not worth your well being.
  • Slow down and pace yourself. Take as many breaks as you can, and when someone in your festival crew or coworker feels overheated, don’t pressure him or her to keep up.

Red Cross website outlines three different heat-related illnesses on the body caused by heat waves. From low severity to high, they are as follows: Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Cramps

What happens: muscular pains and spasms usually in the legs or abdomen

Why: Early sign the body is struggling with the heat

How to treat: Make sure the individual reaches a cooler area with a comfortable place to sit comfortably. Stretch and massage the area. Make sure they consume a beverage with electrolytes such as sports drinks, fruit juice or milk. Avoid salt tablets at all costs.   

Heat Exhaustion

Who: This one affects athletes, firefighters, construction workers, factory workers and people wearing heavy clothing in the heat and humidity.

What happens: Look for person with cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin. The individual may experience a headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and/or exhaustion.

How to treat: Move this person to a cool environment with circulating air. Remove as much clothing as possible, apply cold wet cloth/towels and fan or mist the individual with water. If conscious, provide the individual with cold drinks that contain electrolytes, milk or water. The Red Cross recommends 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes

If he or she’s condition worsens, refuses water, changes consciousness or vomits: call 911

Heat Stroke

Why: Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition, caused by ignoring signs of heat exhaustion. The body systems are fully overwhelmed and stop functioning.

What happens: Look for red skin, dry or moist. The person changes consciousness, may have a rapid, weak pulse or rapid shallow breathing. He or she may be confused, vomiting or even experience seizures.

How to treat: Call 911 immediately. In the meantime, rapidly cool the body by immersing completely in cold water up to one’s neck or douse or spray the person with cold water. Press ice-water soaked towels over the body while quickly rotating the towels. Cover them with bags of ice. If there is no way to read one’s temperature, apply these methods for 20 minutes.

For more information visit the Red Cross page on treating heat-related illnesses.

Among heat exhaustion, Bonnaroo has an impressive website outlining safety related to alcohol, drugs, food, sexual assault prevention and so much more.

 

 

WHEN SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS INDOOR STADIUMS

  (Image via  Yahoo Canada Sports )

WHEN SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS INDOOR STADIUMS

WEDNESDAY // APRIL 25, 2018

Indoor venues are meant to eliminate concerns about weather conditions having impact on any event. Right?

However, last week the major northeastern spring blizzards tested this belief when ice chunks impaled the roof of the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. This incident actually caused the Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals to postpone their major league baseball game after ice and insulation falling from the CN Tower literally crashed onto the field, Pollstar reported.

Just how bad was the damage? According to Andrew Miller, the Blue Jays’ executive vice president of business operations, the ice tore a 3’x5’ hole in the PVC roof over right field which sent the ice and pieces of insulation onto the turf, Pollstar reported.

In fact, this marks the very first time ice has hit the steel deck supporting the roof of the Rogers Centre and should be thankful the damage didn’t cause a “progressive collapse,” CTV News reported.

Furthermore, the Rogers Centre actually had the first retractable stadium roof in North America, back when it opened in 1989. The original structural engineer, Michael Allen, told CTV News the hole was actually relatively minor and that they actually ran computer modeling of a scenario where something falling from the sky would hit the roof. Allen and his team concluded that even a 9-meter diameter hole through a critical part of the roof would still deem the roof safe.

In regards to sports and events, this was the first weather-related postponement at this venue since 2001, when two panels of the stadium’s moving roof collided.

Another effect of the major northeastern spring blizzard occurred on Saturday, April 14. Heavy rains caused the Air Canada Centre to leak during Game 1, but thankfully only had a short delay, Larry Brown Sports reported.

 

On January 8, 2018, a leak went through the roof of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium about two hours before scheduled kickoff at the national Championship game. College football reporter Jeff Sentell tweeted that the location of the drip occurred around the 25-yard line between the hashes.”

Other users offered their input about the stadium leakage, such as CFB writer/analyst Barrett Sallee below:

 

So what does it take for a venue to be perfectly constructed against these kinds of conditions? Just eight days before Minneapolis’s U.S. Bank Stadium - home to Super Bowl 52 - first opened in July 2016, “extreme weather caused some zinc panels on the exterior of the building to partially disengage,” SB Nation reported.

While the panels did not need replacing, they sure could cause leaks during a snowstorm. That is until about five months later, severe winds ripped a panel off of the stadium, resulting in the installation of 4,000 fasteners - a project that took ten months to complete.

So the answer to a perfect venue that can withstand severe weather such as Minneapolis could be months of repairs, renovations and about $1.1 billion. Go figure!  

As for the Rogers Centre? Repairs to the hole were said to have begun the same week, as you can see in the below video of fearless repairmen.

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HOW TO RESPOND TO FIRE-RELATED INCIDENTS

  (screenshot via   YouTube )

(screenshot via YouTube)

HOW TO RESPOND TO FIRE-RELATED INCIDENTS

WEDNESDAY // APRIL 18, 2018

Through all the Coachella Festival madness, you may not have heard about the Coachella fire that sparked about six miles from the Empire Polo Fields shortly after Beyonce’s performance Saturday evening.

“Dry vegetation helped fuel the fire, which was first reported around 4:30 a.m. Sunday near the 46600 block of Tyler Street,” KSEQ reported.

Firefighters contained the Tyler Fire by 2:45 p.m. on Sunday after 15 acres of land had burned and caused downed power lines. Thankfully nobody was injured and no damage to any structures occurred.

 

According to the Riverside County Fire Department, humans have caused the fire and the investigation is still ongoing.

Coachella Music Festival had luck on their side with the fire having zero impact on the major outdoor event and its festival goers’ safety.   

This does, however, bring an important topic front and center. How do we properly respond to fire-related incidents during an outdoor event, not just Coachella?

In an event where a fire were to occur on stage during load-in, setup, or load-out, does your crew know what proper actions to take and when?    

The Event Safety Alliance discussed this topic in the past based on the knowledge of fire experts, where we outlined below.

Do we fight the fire or evacuate? The fire experts told the ESA most cases are best to evacuate, since seemingly manageable fires may quickly grow too large to contain without the experts and proper equipment.

Two rule of thumbs:

  1. If the fire is bigger than you, get out as quickly as possible while collecting as many people with you and urging others to avoid the area. Make sure somebody called 911.

  2. If the fire is smaller than you, alert everyone to evacuate and find the nearest fire extinguisher. If you prevail, follow the first step above.

The ESA outlines some considerations in attempting to extinguish a fire, found on the ESA’s blog post, listed below:

  • Know the location of each fire extinguisher in your workspace and have been properly trained in its use. Likewise, ensure that the extinguisher is appropriate for the type of fire you are fighting

  • It is best to have a partner when fighting a fire. While one of you is operating the extinguisher, the other can remain focused on the “big picture” and stay in a position to determine if your efforts are diminishing the size of the fire. If the fire is not immediately getting smaller or you doubt whether you are having a significant effect, leave.

  • While fighting a small fire, always do so from a position between the fire and an accessible exit. Keep your back to the exit in case you must leave quickly. If in doubt, get out. If anything concerns you about your safety, exit immediately and help others do the same. Let properly equipped fire fighters extinguish the fire.

  • Do not attempt to move burning materials, especially towards occupied areas (such as the audience). While separating materials may seem like an effective way to prevent a fire from increasing in size, you risk injury and spreading the fire.

  • ALWAYS remove power (shut off electric) BEFORE fighting a fire involving electrical equipment. Electricity can be far more hazardous to those fighting the fire than the fire itself. If you are unable to remove power to electrical equipment, you should not attempt to extinguish the fire yourself. Wait until the equipment is de-energized to fight the fire.

  • The smoke from burning synthetic textiles (e.g., curtains, clothing, etc.)–and many other synthetic materials such as props, instruments, and furniture–can be highly toxic. (http://fashionbi.com/newspaper/the-health-risks-of-toxic-fibers-and-fabrics). Similarly, the extinguishing agent (powder) from dry chemical and dry powder extinguishers can produce a type of “smoke” that can be irritating and cause respiratory problems for those exposed to it. All people should be evacuated from any smoke-filled area, whether the smoke is from the fire or the fire extinguisher.

  • Assign someone to meet emergency responders at the street (or wherever they will arrive) and show them exactly how to access the fire area. Also, have someone available to them who knows the electrical system well. These two actions can take minutes off of how long it takes to extinguish a fire and are wildly helpful to emergency responders.

The ESA concludes by telling us the best protection against a fire is through prevention, but knowing what to do makes all the difference.

HOW TO PREVENT & COPE WITH ANXIETY AT YOUR FESTIVAL GIG

HOW TO PREVENT & COPE WITH ANXIETY AT YOUR FESTIVAL GIG

MONDAY // APRIL 9, 2018

It’s officially festival season. Whether you’re the musician, performer, venue employee, volunteer, security, driver, touring crew, camping operations, tech crew, stagehand, ticketing operations, etc...working at a days-long music festival can throw serious curve balls at your mental health.

Behind-the-scene areas can be just as chaotic as the elements posed to the general public. You’re constantly just trying to do your job, but sometimes the music festival environment can throw you off balance.

Factors include but are not limited to a lack of sleep, working overtime, sensory overload, dehydration, high-stress environment, skipping meals and much more.

More recently than before, an increasing number of countries are finally beginning to put mental health on the same level of importance as physical wellbeing. In an industry already mentally and physically demanding, paying attention to your own wellness often comes second, if not last.

In the days leading up to and during your festival gig, feelings of anxiety are highly common. In fact, anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, with approximately 40 million people affected, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Each individual is widely unique from the next, so each formula will differ in regards to what works and what does not.

That being said, here is our round-up of tips and tricks you may consider to prevent anxiety, to combat anxiety or what to do if you experience a full-blown panic attack during your festival gig.

Prevention: Prepare for the days ahead

You know you’ll be working at Coachella in a few days, so now is the time to prepare yourself both physically and mentally.

It’s kind of like preparing for a marathon minus actually being in the marathon. Physically prepare yourself by feeding your body the right nutrients it needs and getting enough sleep during the nights leading up to the festival.

Your friends and family may have the common misconception about you working behind the scenes of a music festival - meaning, you’ll receive lavish treatment alongside festival acts they dream to see in concert. Sorry to disappoint your loved ones, you remind them the only person there to take care of you is YOU. And besides, most of the festival acts have their own trailers or spaces separate from the backstage crew.

Long story short, you need to be responsible for keeping your physical health in check. Particular circumstances may call for you to stand for longer than normal periods of time, remain in crowded areas (yes, even backstage, especially before/during performances of bigger artists), spend lots of time away from air conditioned rooms or resort to a meal you wouldn’t normally opt for.

If you prepare with lots of sleep and nutritious meals, your body will react stronger to unforeseen situations at the festival. Lack of sleep contributes to both stress and anxiety, so going into the festival with your energy tank full is highly recommended.

Like we’ve said in previous blog posts, the more stressed you are, the less likely you are to sleep and having a bad night’s sleep prior to working at the festival will contribute further to that stress and cause anxiety.

And again, too much caffeine intake and/or smoking cigarettes to combat sleep deprivation and stress, respectively, are both recipes for anxiety.

If you’ve never been to the venue, try and familiarize yourself with it through maps, research or even a Google maps image of the outside. It may seem like the obvious thing to do, but double or triple checking may ease your nerves.

Also noting the locations to exits, entrances, emergency exits and medical tents is both helpful and comforting. Apply this same knowledge to both general public areas and backstage.

Prior to the festival, try to tell yourself and expect that you cannot control everything. Roll with the punches and do your best. If you are doing the absolute best job you can do in your control then you’ll have to settle for it - and be proud!

Feeling Anxious

Of course, there is a big difference between feeling anxious and suffering from an anxiety disorder. Regardless, when facing these feelings, it may be safe to say the individual is experiencing behavioral anxiety, a response to frightening or stressful situations, Life Hacker reported.

There are many theories pertaining to the origin of anxiety and many forms of anxiety disorders. Whether you are one or the other, repetitive feelings of anxiety, strong or mild can have a negative impact on your state of mind during the big event.

Despite all attempts at prevention, you begin to tense up, have an overwhelming sense of awareness of all your surroundings and feel fearful and/or dreadful. This is the definition of anxiety.

But how do you know if you are experiencing a panic attack? Outlined by Anxiety BC, there are 4 Facts you should know about panic attacks:

  1. Panic attacks are simply the body’s fight/flight/freeze response even when there is no real danger present. A physical response may include an increased heart rate.
  2. Although scary and/or uncomfortable, panic attacks are harmless. They are compared to an alarm system within your body, but not designed to cause real harm.
  3. Panic attacks only last about 5-10 minutes, although they may feel as if they last an eternity.
  4. Many times, most people won’t be able to see you experiencing one. Those closest to you will, but for the most part they are internal experiences.

Outlined by the Anxiety And Depression Association of America (ADAA), here are some strategies you can use to decrease the intensity of a panic attack. Anxiety BC urges one to use these techniques NOT to stop a panic attack, but to help you ride it out until it’s over.

  • Take deep breaths; concentrate on inhaling and exhaling slowly through your nose. Not just in the event of a panic attack, but also throughout the day while feeling stressed.
    • Don’t use breathing to stop a panic attack, because it’ll only make it worse. Instead, use breathing techniques to lessen the intensity, Anxiety BC reported.
    • Slowly count to 10 or 20 if necessary

Taking a time out not be possible with your role at the festival, but in any moment you have a team member who can take your place for a small window of 5-10 minutes, getting some fresh air away from the chaos in a comfortable area works wonders.

  • In preparation to the festival, stowing some headphones in your pocket for this situation also helps remove yourself mentally from the chaotic scene
  • Learn some relaxation techniques such as meditation - meditation during a festival, yeah right. This is where headphones and a space to close your eyes for a brief moment can really help.
  • If possible, try some of these Muscle Relaxation techniques. This is more effective if you start practicing these in times not suffering from a panic attack. So in the event you experience one, this technique will be a piece of cake.  

Adopt Realistic Thinking

According to Anxiety BC, what occurs in the mind during a panic attack can be categorized as overestimating or catastrophizing.

  • Overestimating: Picturing the worst outcome (that most likely will not happen) is going to happen, such as having a heart attack due to your panic attack
    • Fight back: These thoughts are NOT facts. You are mistaking a possibility for a probability. Ask yourself how likely this outcome actually is.
  • Catastrophizing: Thinking the worst thing will happen and you won’t be able to deal with it, such as fainting from a panic attack and having others laugh and judge you  
    • Fight back: Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen when coping with the negative situation. Would it really make a difference in the duration of a year?  

These are just some of the tools one can use to combat a panic attack. Many more involve steps to take at home, away from the festival scene, that will overall help you when you are challenged with a panic attack on the job.

To read more in detail about panic attacks and management strategies you can take during the attack, before and after click here.

Finally, when the festival is all said and done, it is crucial to take at least one day off to regroup. Your hard work, long hours, lack of sleep and/or nutrition probably derailed from its normal, healthy path so it is important to give your body and mind the rest it needs and deserves.

Really try to put down the phone and refrain from checking every single email the day after the festival. Those follow-up emails and thank-yous can very well wait 24 hours.

When you do return to work, this could be the perfect time to open up to your team about how you’re feeling.

If you feel stressed and overwhelmed, chances are your team members feel the same way and a support system is formed.

This could also be a time to speak with teammates and supervisors about what went well and what did not.

Evaluate the situations that caused the most stress by writing them down, discussing them and making a lasting change for future festivals and events.

In turn, encourage your team to open up by asking how they are really feeling and offering a helping hand. According to Conference & Incentive Travel that ranked events industry professionals No.5 on the most stressful jobs, a staggering 38% of individuals do not want to ask for help.

Reassuring your teammates they’re not alone could very well change this percentage and the stigma associated with mental health in our industry.  
 

2017 STRUCTURAL MISHAPS & TRAGEDIES - HIGHLIGHTS

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2017 STRUCTURAL MISHAPS & TRAGEDIES  - HIGHLIGHTS

MONDAY // MARCH 12, 2018

In just ten days, the Event Safety Alliance will host its Severe Weather Summit at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma, and we thought we would share some of the structural mishaps and tragedies that occurred in 2017 alone.

We can learn from the structural mishaps and tragedies that have occurred worldwide by educating ourselves and others. According to the ESA, “recent history shows that severe weather can disrupt even the best-laid plans. When it does, the results can be physically and financially catastrophic.”   

Outlined by ESA, here are some highlights we chose to discuss off the full sheet. You may view their full list here.

Truss Stage Roof Collapse

  • Where: Atmosphere dance music festival in Esteio, Southern Brazil
  • When: December 12, 2017
  • What happened: High winds
  • Deaths: Brazilian DJ Kaleb Freitas was pronounced dead upon arrival at the local hospital, after suffering head injuries from debris following the collapse
  • Error: Severe weather warnings regarding the high winds were issued, yet the festival went on

Scaff Tower Collapse

  • Where: Festival Ceremonia in Toluca (outskirts of Mexico City)
  • When: April 1, 2017
  • What happened: High winds & small twisters; bad vertical joints
  • Deaths: None
  • No error: The severe weather conditions knocked over portable bathrooms as well as caused damage to scaffolds. Winds blew off the main stage screen, and festival organizers delayed the festival schedule to repair and assess; the festival cancelled for the evening and finally rescheduled for Sunday. Thanks to festival organizers no one was hurt and the immense support eased the disappointment of Saturday’s cancellation.  

Stage Roof Collapse

  • Where: Sugat Kabanhawan Festival in Cebu, Philippines
  • When: April 16, 2017
  • What happened: Heavy rains caused a stage collapse, where festival-goers were taking shelter from the rain
  • Deaths: 0; 10 injured (including 3 minors), one severely injured
  • Error: The scaffolding foundation grew weak from the flooded ground

Stage Fire

  • Where: Tomorrowland Unite Spain music festival in Barcelona
  • When: July 29, 2017
  • What happened: The speaker system caught fire, causing a huge explosion of fire on stage, fans reported.
  • Deaths: 0; none injured
  • Error: The pyrotechnic spectacle overheated the material used in constructing the stage

Dance Floor Collapse

  • Where: Panorama Festival in Randall’s Island, New York City
  • When: July 30, 2017
  • What happened: Fans backed away from an area where the floor appeared to collapse
  • Error: Isaiah Rashad’s set was very high capacity and even had a long line during the incident, the Brooklyn Vegan reported.

Aerial Mishap - Winch Failure

  • Where: Finn’s Beach Club in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
  • When: November 6, 2017
  • What happened: Sam Panda, 26, an aerial acrobat fell to the ground at 13 ft. high as she hung upside down in a metal hoop suspended from a rig on stage, after the metal cable came loose.
  • Deaths: None; Panda broke her neck as soon as she hit the stage
  • Error: Inspection; Her friend said Panda felt unsafe with the equipment & had an outside company inspect its security, reported Daily Mail.   

Stage Prop Totem Collapse

  • Where: Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City
  • When: October 1, 2017
  • What happened: Marilyn Manson “grabbed onto some metal bars between a pair of prop pistols; one of the pieces tipped over onto him, crushing bones in his right leg…” Rolling Stone reported.
  • Deaths: None; Manson broke his fibula in two places, and ended with 10 screws and a plate inserted into the bone
  • Error: Performer error

Dance Floor Collapse

  • Where: Butterfly Disco Pub in Tenerife, Canary Island
  • When: November 29, 2017
  • What happened: Attendees fell approximately ten feet into the basement after the floor gave way; it “literally broke in half and people plunged into the basement below,” Daily Mail. The collapse impacted part of the stage and floor areas.
  • Deaths: None; 22 injured including a 59-year old with a broken leg and 57-year old with head injuries
  • Errors: TBA

To learn more about the ESA’s Severe Weather Summit on March 22-23, visit https://eventsafetyalliance.org/severe-weather-summit/

"Strike A Chord" Discussion Spoke Volumes On Mental Wellness in the Entertainment Industry

  Those who participated in the panel include Talinda Bennington, Chester's wife; Anna Shinoda, Chester's band mate's wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring & Production for Linkin Park; Joey "Vendetta" Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada; & Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give an Hour

Those who participated in the panel include Talinda Bennington, Chester's wife; Anna Shinoda, Chester's band mate's wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring & Production for Linkin Park; Joey "Vendetta" Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada; & Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give an Hour

Strike A Chord Discussion Spoke Volumes On Mental Wellness in the Entertainment Industry

By: Dana Janssen, TourReady, Inc. 

WEDNESDAY // FEBRUARY 28, 2018

In July 2017, the music world tragically and abruptly lost the lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington. Born out of tragedy, on January 31, 2018, the Strike A Chord Discussion at Live Nation Canada focused on mental wellness in the entertainment industry and specific actions to take better care of ourselves and each other.

While working in the entertainment industry is rewarding, the lifestyle itself creates challenges to our mental health. The constantly evolving industry creates a high-pressure, stressful environment where we tend to place our entire well being on the back burner as a matter of course.

High stress, lack of sleep, chronic jet lag, poor eating habits, and a lack of exercise are just a few of the challenges touring professionals deal with on a daily basis. A 2017 American business traveler study from On Call International found that ⅓ of road warriors experience higher than normal stress levels, causing several issues including the growth or worsening of depression and anxiety.

In response to the growing number of individuals who are emotionally suffering, Live Nation CanadaBell Let's TalkWarner Music CanadaCanadian Event Safety and Event Safety Alliance (ESA) teamed up to spread mental health awareness and voice a new approach for people to easily find the help they deserve.

Those participating in the panel were those closest to Chester, including Talinda Bennington, Chester’s wife; Anna Shinoda, Author and Chester’s band mate’s wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring and Production for Linkin Park; and Joey “Vendetta” Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada. Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give An Hour also joined the event. Give an Hour leads the Campaign to Change Direction and is now working closely with Talinda Bennington to reach those who are in need of mental health care and support. 

In addition to the organizations previously listed, attendees of the private event included The AFC, a company that provides emergency funding for Canada’s entertainment industry; OVER THE BRIDGE, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and addiction awareness and support resources; and TourReady, Inc., a partner of the ESA working to spread the Canadian initiatives on mental health awareness and actions in the United States.

The group disclosed personal experiences in order to discuss how to talk about mental health; recognize warning signs, changes in behaviors and triggers; seek support for ourselves; and how to help those surrounding us who are suffering emotionally and/or dealing with addiction.

Live entertainment individuals gathered before the panel hoping to make a lasting change across the industry in the aftermath of the loss of Chester. We hope to heal ourselves and those in need. The discussion on mental health has well begun reaching higher volumes and has sparked the world to listen more than ever before. People are finally talking.

Live Nation Canada furnished the discussion room with round tables, chairs, comfortable red couches and coffee tables. Each table displayed several handouts of a graphic picturing the Campaign to Change Direction’s Five Signs of someone who suffers from emotional pain and might need support.

Samantha Slattery, co-chair and executive director of Capital Presents opened the event alongside Janet Sellery, co-chair and health & safety consultant of Sellery Health + Safety.

Digging deep into sensitive topics, Sellery reminded the audience to excuse themselves if anyone is left feeling vulnerable, and offered an on-site psychotherapist for support. Digby advised the audience to take a deep breath before diving into the crucial discussion.

“We Let Our Guard Down”

There had been no overt signs prior to the loss of Chester, Digby said. The Linkin Park Family welcomed Digby in 2002, throughout the journey the family ideal continually evolved to it’s most recent place of nearly perfect. Chester’s sudden passing devastated the entire family who never saw this coming.

Not only did grief and shock overwhelm the LP family, but also their dedicated and loyal fans. The difficult lyrics, Digby said, spoke to fans in a uniquely genuine way. Fans coped with the loss of their hero heavily through social media, supporting one another through asking for help in their own lives.

The most important and alarming factor is that depression rarely has a face. There are very few “tells” and in some cases none. Though after the fact we can sometimes see indications – or “signs” of the pain or suffering that was hidden.

Some of Chester’s inner demons were known over the years and had played a crucial part of who he was. However, during the months preceding his loss it appeared as though he had things under control. “In fact,” Digby said, “this was the best, and most in control Chester we had ever seen."

The discussion presented a home video of a seemingly joyful Chester in good spirits playing The Jelly Bean Challenge with loved ones.  Digby challenged the audience to identify anything out of the ordinary in the video. No one could.

The video was shot only 36 hours before his passing.

“Our guard was down,” Digby said. “He was presenting himself as newly transformed and completely in control.”

Musicians are far too familiar with experiencing emotional ups and downs. With each performance comes the body’s own natural high. The artist connects with the audience, the audience adornment produces a chemical response including dopamine, adrenalin and cortisol, all of which need to be managed, Digby said.

Not only do artists experience these highs, but also crew members behind the scenes will and do as well in their excitement over the thrill of the job. OVER THE BRIDGE recognizes the wide range of industry professionals who may experience similar mental health challenges, including but not limited to, “musicians, booking agents, venue owners, event security, hospitality personnel, bus/truck drivers, and local crew and touring crew.”

The problem occurs when the show is over, the hotel door shuts and the lights turn off. What happens after experiencing such a huge high followed by the quietness of a hotel room or bus bunk? Sometimes to continue reveling in the euphoric rush, substance use or other addictive behaviors become normalized.

Despite the anecdotal reports of post-performance lows and substance use and addiction to combat these lows, there is a lack of research to back the important issues that have become very normalized amongst musicians.

Ace Piva of OVER THE BRIDGE and his research team designed a study that measures musician post-performance mood response and how those individuals manage, cope and celebrate those emotions. The team is currently sorting through the collected data of the study produced under the supervision of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

“It is our duty to acknowledge it and make it ok to talk about it to try and help others help themselves or someone they care about,” Digby said. “That’s why we’re here.”

“What Did I Miss?”

Although Talinda and Chester were inseparable from the start, the two began as emotionally unhealthy in their own, separate ways. He had struggled with depression and addiction in the past, something Talinda had strived again and again to understand from her perspective - a totally unknown territory.

“We can seem so normal and so okay, and then not be okay - in an instant,” Talinda said. 

At the time of his passing, Chester had practiced sobriety for six months and was also enrolled in an outpatient treatment program.

Any relapse in the past resulted in utmost, indescribable shame within Chester.  In addition to overwhelming shame, Talinda recalled the ongoing pressure Chester experienced throughout his musical career. With each album success came the pressure to achieve an even higher success on the next album, while at the same time fighting hard for self-improvement.

His loved ones will remain unaware of Chester’s thought process during his final moments, but the only things to blame are disease, addiction and mental illness. What are some of the issues victims’ loved ones experience in the aftermath of a tragic loss such as Chester’s?

To answer this question, TourReady spoke to Van Dahlen, who, through Give an Hour, created a national network of volunteer mental health professionals who provide free and confidential mental health care to those in need including those who serve, veterans and their families.

The grief survived loved ones are left with, Van Dahlen told TourReady, is overwhelming and they wish to undo it.

“Survivors guilt,” she said, “is an actual phenomenon that we frequently see when someone dies by suicide, when there are traumas, natural disasters occur, or in the aftermath of an mass shooting.”

Both survivors and loved ones live with thoughts such as, “What did I miss?”; “Could I have prevented it?”;  “Recognized it?”; and, “Could I have seen it coming?”

The answer is that it is typically extremely difficult to prevent these traumas or tragedies.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time,” Van Dahlen continued, “the survivor couldn’t have changed [the outcome] or stopped it.”

Following the immediate aftermath, these feelings are normal and understandable. However, people will have to judge how well they can tolerate [those feelings], Van Dahlen said.

“When a survivor’s grief becomes unremitting and begins to preoccupy the individual throughout the day or late at night, people deserve proper care, support and attention to work through these feelings and reactions so that they can move on,” Van Dahlen said.

Instead of attempting to answer the why we must understand his passing as a recipe for a tragic final conclusion.

“Typically, there are multiple factors that contribute to someone’s death by suicide. In Chester’s case it may have been past traumas, the impact of addition and the loss of his close friend, Chris Cornell - how these all fit together, for Chester, we will likely never know,” Van Dahlen said.

Remaining stuck in the endlessly tangled search for answers will solely result in significant suffering within the individuals who are left behind.

Based on what we know from those closest to him, the years of untreated mental health and substance abuse led to his loss against the battle of mental health.

Thanks to the individuals who shared their experiences at Strike A Chord, the music industry continues to take a huge step forward to remove the stigma surrounding mental health, in hopes of changing the culture for future generations to come.

Changing the Culture

The stigma associated with mental health, mental illness and addiction contributes to the overwhelming emotional suffering within the individual.

Shinoda shared an entry on her personal blog the embarrassment she felt and costs associated with mental health that she, too, suffered with prior to finding what methods work best.

Shinoda discussed the issue of the mental health stigma that turns people away from seeking the attention they deserve. One simple way we can combat the stigma is to change the language we use in society when discussing mental health.

She introduced the phrase committed suicide alone heavily weighs blame on the victim for a tragic end of his or her emotional suffering. If instead, we begin to say died by suicide, we recognize a very real, fatal outcome for untreated mental illnesses.

We need to change the culture. It can feel embarrassing, and the time it takes to navigate affordable resources heightens the stigma, leaving a threat to mental wellbeing untreated. Moving beyond the stigma takes effort from everyone to look after one another in support.

Talinda said something that will resonate with me for the years to come: “When we ask ‘how are you,’ are we really asking, ‘how are you?’”

Think about the last time someone asked you this question, and what their response might have been. Did they ignore your answer? Did they look in the other direction? Did they walk away from you?  If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you know the abrupt exchange was not a positive one.

Again, we may seem so normal but we aren’t always okay.

Talinda teamed up with Give an Hour and the Campaign to Change Direction to launch a new initiative in honor of Chester’s life, 320 Changes Direction.

Being able to speak openly about these struggles encourages those in need to seek the care they deserve. This is one of the two needs the Campaign to Change Direction and 320 Changes Direction initiative aims to satisfy.

By first changing the culture of mental health, Change Direction and Talinda seek to build a new approach for those suffering to easily find help they need and deserve. In this industry, checking in with each other - caring for each other’s mental wellbeing - is crucial.

When the Campaign to Change Direction launched on March 2, 2015, their 50 partners, and now 320 Changes Direction, have pledged to educate the world about the Five Signs of emotional suffering in order to launch a public health effort for everyone – to encourage all of us to care for our emotional well being. With one in five Americans dealing with a mental health challenge, it is no surprise First Lady Michelle Obama helped launch the campaign as their keynote speaker in Washington, D.C.

Van Dahlen compared knowing the signs of a heart attack equally as important as recognizing the signs of emotional suffering.

“We would never say ‘suck it up’ to cancer,” Van Dahlen continued, “so why would we [say that] to someone who is emotionally suffering?”

Changing this stigma also lies in the hands of parents who should encourage their children to think and talk about their emotional wellbeing.

“We teach them about issues such as drugs and sex but we don’t spend a whole lot of time helping them grow emotionally fit,” Van Dahlen said. She made the argument emotional wellbeing is a bedrock for success in life, healthy relationships, families and communities.

Putting time and energy into the prevention of emotional suffering is a great start to ensuring our children are emotionally healthy to begin with.

There is hope for new pathways, Van Dahlen continued, but there is no pill to fix a mental health challenge. Although there are pills to aid mental suffering, such as an aid in sleep after a post-traumatic event, one still needs to put in the work.

Seeking Self-Help

To understand the difference between an emotionally suffering individual and one who is not, each individual’s brain differs widely from the rest. Humans have yet to understand how each and every brain works in its entirety – but this is ok because there is a lot we do know about how our brains contribute to our feelings and our behaviors.

Along with the movement to drive culture change, the second goal of these amazing organizations aims to create a new approach to guarantee easy access in finding help whenever necessary.

The ability to help ourselves is what we do understand. Humans have the capability to heal and change behavior patterns, Van Dahlen said.

During the struggle of his own mental health journey, Scoleri compared the incessant rumination plagued over his brain to spiders searching for every negative thought imaginable.

To help himself, other habits Scoleri currently practices include meditation, exercise, avoiding caffeine/alcohol, eating clean, eliminating social media, turning one’s phone off two hours prior to bed, and much more he listed on a convenient handout at the discussion.

The problem is, Scoleri revealed, is no one provided his personal list of tips for him. He had to recognize his own need for help and work for it.

The panel then displayed a quote by Maya Angelou:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Mental health awareness training, Digby said, is a good idea. We have already seen both Canada and the UK jump ahead with government funding toward mental health first aid. And the Campaign to Change Direction launched the Five Healthy Habits of Emotional Well-being that we can all learn and practice on www.changedirection.org.

Bell Let’s Talk has created their own five ways to end the stigma around mental illness, described on the home page of their website.

More industry specific, the AFC, formerly known as the Actors Fund of Canada, is described as the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry. Each year, the organization distributes $500,000 in emergency financial aid to help all entertainment industry professionals suffering from injury, illness or other personal hardships.

In addition to OVER THE BRIDGE currently sorting data from the post-performance mood response study, they have collected local mental health programs and resources, entertainment support and national crisis support/distress lines on their website, www.overthebridge.org and http://www.ementalhealth.ca.

The mental health conversation in the American entertainment industry has recently jumped on board. When asking Van Dahlen about organizations leading the conversation, she credited Live Nation and Warner Music for seizing the opportunity to build a movement within the music industry to address needs of artists, industry professionals behind the scenes and fans.

The Recording Academy MusiCares brings awareness to music industry professionals suffering from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders and uses their platform to educate us on programs available across the nation.

Change Direction’s partnerships with Talinda through 320 Changes Direction, various artists and groups, Live Nation, the industry standards Digby continues to develop, and the supporting organizations at Strike A Chord are all faced with a huge opportunity to elevate this important issue.  

The resources are here. But it takes the individual to recognize and help him or herself as a first step in order to utilize the resources. And people in this world have the right to take care of themselves.

Shortly before Chester passed, a veteran had given him a dog tag Talinda wore around her neck bearing a message for all of us.

Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit,” Talinda read. “I found this after he passed, at a time when I needed to hear it the most. So I want to pass that to you. Now you know - we’ve shared this wisdom with you, but it takes courage. And I wish that courage to every one of you to take care of yourselves.”


Bell Let’s Talk Day 2018 resulted in over 130,000 online interactions and raised $6,919,199 dedicated to mental health in Canada becoming a stigma-free country.

Learning Resources

To learn more about the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering and pledge to share the Signs, visit The Campaign to Change Direction: www.changedirection.org

To learn more about mental health conditions visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions

To learn more about mental health organizations and statistics worldwide visit World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/mental_health/en/

Hotlines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Text SIGNS to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-487-4889

 

Watch the full stream video of Strike A Chord here.

 

WHY SPECIALIZED PIT SECURITY IS CRUCIAL

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WHY PIT SPECIALIZED PIT SECURITY IS CRUCIAL

MONDAY // FEBRUARY 26, 2018

If you have not seen the bizarre video from earlier this month of the over excited fan climbing onto Keisha Cole’s stage to only get physically thrown off by security - well, you should. Here it is below:

 
 

In the video, the man is seen hopping the barricade to join Cole on stage and appears to try and grab the microphone from her. It didn’t take long before security grabbed the man who didn’t seem to comply with the bouncer’s orders before throwing him off of the stage.

Although no injuries were reported, the fall looks quite painful. How did this man manage to get past security? How did he manage to climb the barricade and do so without anyone noticing in time?

The video seems to show pit security fail to react in time to the over zealous fan. Sometimes the consequences won’t stop these types of fans from committing this act. For one, an individual who commits this crime may get arrested, charged with a misdemeanor, punishable up to 93 days in jail and fined as much as $500, Thomas Hardesty, Director of Security & Traffic Management for Palace Sports Entertainment told Yahoo! Entertainment.

This man may have suffered minor injuries, but others are not so lucky. In fact, a fan actually died two weeks after a 2010 Ted Nugent show after the bass player kicked the adoring fan in the head after he snuck on stage, Yahoo! Entertainment reported.

The event security, but perhaps they weren’t specialized pit security personnel. GPS Security outlined five reasons why every event needs to establish specialized pit security for us to elaborate on in response to the recent event.   

1. Lifting People Properly: Especially after this man fell (after security failed to catch him), lifting individuals from a dense crowd requires proper training and care. With the potential for injury of both the lifter and the individual, specialized pit crews are necessary since they possess the sufficient skills to do so.

2. Performers Safety / Fan Safety: When a venue hires a specialized pit crew, the performer should not be subject to any threats from the crowd. Even if the performer decides to descend to the crowd for interaction, the specialized pit crew upholds the performer’s safety. Although the intentions of the over excited fan may not be malicious, an uncontrolled fan on stage opens many doors for a negative conclusion - which brings us to another point we decided is just as important: Fan Safety.

Just like the video, security aggressively shoved the fan onto the floor. What if the fan had fallen head first or trampled on following the fall? Having a surprise fan jump on stage isn’t the first thought on the performer’s mind during their gig. Just as we mentioned before, a fan had died because of the bass player’s reaction.  

3. Safety of Crew: When a crew is in place, they not only look out for the performers/fans, but also each other. In a case where one security personnel acts alone, he or she may not have the proper backup if a fan becomes too much for one person to handle alone. Lifting and escorting an individual should be done in groups of three, eliminating the difficulty and danger of the crew member and the individual. 

4. They See Everything: From the video, it is very difficult to tell where the security’s eyes are focused on at the time of the barricade hop. An experienced pit crew knows how to constantly scan the crowd for threats while interacting casually. In addition, some pit crews may have water to keep the pit fans hydrated.

5. Team Work = Key to Good Functioning: An experienced pit crew will have a plan of action for every circumstance. The article explains if one pit crew member notices an issue, he or she will know the proper way to inform the others and seamlessly handle the situation together.

CREW MEMBERS TAKE MINNEAPOLIS: WORKING UNDER COLD CONDITIONS

 Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging & Productions bundles up in proper gear for the Minneapolis Weather Conditions at his crew's Super Bowl build. 

Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging & Productions bundles up in proper gear for the Minneapolis Weather Conditions at his crew's Super Bowl build. 

CREW MEMBERS TAKE MINNEAPOLIS: WORKING UNDER COLD CONDITIONS

WEDNESDAY // FEBRUARY 7, 2018

If you were lucky enough to attend the Super Bowl this year, then you got lucky the big game took place inside the climate-controlled U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Outside of the 70°F stadium temperature, surrounded the coldest outdoor Super Bowl temperatures in history. Temperatures for the big game reached just above 0°F, with wind chill making it feel minus 20°F, USA Today reported.

For the production crew, frigid, snowy weather creates a whole different playing field. It is vital for all site supervisors, employers and individual crew members to prepare accordingly for each and every job impacted by severe weather conditions.

On January 22, people located in the Plains and Midwest were advised to stay off of the roads during heavy snowfall and powerful, gusting winds. All travel was expected to be dangerous especially closer to the evening, ABC News reported.

The storm affected the outdoor crew working downtown, just blocks away from the Super Bowl stadium. We spoke to Site Supervisor Robert Castro of Gallagher Staging & Productions after dangerous weather conditions prompted him to shorten his crew’s normal work day. Castro detailed the extent of how the stormy weather has affected the custom truss structure build in Minneapolis thus far.

“It was super windy all day. Our guys are rigged in the air, so when the wind gusts reached 30 miles per hour we had to pull it down and tell the guys to go home,” Castro said.

These conditions are not typical for staging crew. During the build, temperatures dropped to 25°F, but the windchill factor caused the temperature to feel 14°F. That being said, supervisors must closely monitor the work environment at all times.

“We work in the rain unless it gets super bad. We work as long as we feel comfortable and safe, and when it takes a direction for the worse, we slow down and wait for it to pass,” Castro said.

The Construction Health & Safety Manual: Rigging reads, “Never carry out a hoisting or rigging operation when winds create hazards for workers, the general public, or property.”

More specifically, high gusts of wind may cause equipment to swing or even rotate out of control, creating danger to riggers and potentially overloading the hoisting equipment.

Another consideration was the surface of the truss riggers utilized in order to climb.

“The snowfall causes truss to become wet and eventually the wind gusts cause everything to freeze over and become slippery,” Castro said.

When it came to objects freezing over, truss and other equipment were not the only issues.

“Anything on the truck that cannot freeze needs to be insulated. We had liquids in our first aid kit freeze solid,” said Project Manager Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging.

During winter storms such as these, it is so important for supervisors to know safety precautions including dressing in proper gear. The crew geared up with the appropriate pants and layers including a jacket with a waterproof layer and layer to keep warm.

Shoes must be insulated and waterproof to stay decently warm, but Castro described his severe weather experience as a horribly cold one, due to steep snow reaching above their boots and ankles.

“You need lots of layers, especially wool and polypropylene lined socks. Your hands can’t work in waterproof gloves, so bring several pairs of dry gloves to change into once they get wet,” Golden suggested.

All geared up, Castro and his crew felt “like marshmallow men wobbling down the street” as they observed Minneapolis natives walking through downtown wearing jeans. Natives are use to the cold, but you have to consider the time spent inside to give their bodies’ a break to warm up.

Castro and his crew made sure to take breaks inside, but for the most part the crew diligently worked on the structure outdoors - much more time was spent outside than the on-foot passers.

Knowing what gear to wear is one thing, but for Castro the most important task is knowing when to call it quits before any accidents may occur.

Who is responsible for calling it off? It varies from job to job, Castro added, possibly the supervisor, the client or a safety guy on site. For this particular job, the stage hands worked inside the arena so they were not used to doing this type of work outside. Castro is the supervisor on site, so it was his job to pay close attention to weather conditions and how it may have affected the safety of his crew. 

As a supervisor, having a plan of action instilled prior to the build is so important, Castro said. This involves a bit of risk assessment, in the phase where a risk is in its “raw state” and the supervisor should visualize everything that he or she will carry out to manage the danger, the Event Safety Alliance wrote in the Guide to Risk Assessment 1.01.

The risk assessment process in its entirety, includes the following steps:

  • Identify hazards
  • Identify all parties who might be harmed
  • Evaluate risk
  • Record assessment
  • Monitor & Review

Not only is the event organizer responsible for monitoring the safety of his crew, but also the crew themselves.  

“The boots on the ground should also be able to speak up if they feel that conditions have become unsafe,” said Dan Broadhead of Gallagher Staging. This goes along the lines, if you see something, say something.  

Going into the build, Castro explained, was a little nerve wracking nonetheless because of the cold weather, wind and the location of the build. 

“Having trust in the engineering is everything,” Castro. The outdoor Super Bowl structure was very custom with the various custom angles within. When the team began building the structure, Castro felt very confident in both the engineering performance and crew on-site.

Along with feeling confident in the structure’s engineering, the crew relied on the Weather Nowcasting system to alert him, receive updates and help prepare ahead of time with future weather reports.

In addition, Golden told us the usefulness in Weather Ops from WDT for forecasting during this project.

“It’s been great as it’s going to get. [The weather] totally has the potential to make things go south, but we have an awesome crew here. Of course we all hate the cold and wind, but our crew is amazing and gets the job done correctly,” Castro added.

The big game was on Sunday, February 4, where the Philadelphia Eagles took the win over The New England Patriots. Although inside, fans bundled up during travel and planned their journey to the stadium accordingly.

“We’re the first ones here and the last ones to leave. We’re here for the experience, and it’ll be one to brag about for a long time,” Castro said.

The below section is dedicated to inform cold stress and wind chill factors, implications and ways to keep warm and stay safe while working in cold weather conditions.

Cold Stress

According to OSHA.gov, cold stress happens when the skin temperature drops and causes the internal body temperature to plummet. Additionally, wind speed creates a wind chill effect causing heat to exert from the body.

Types of cold stress include trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. Cold stress varies on location, for example, temperatures near freezing are categorized as cold stress in areas not use to cold weather.

Visit OSHA.gov for a detailed list of cold stress symptoms and treatment advice.

Wind Chill

Again, the actual air temperature combined with wind speed affects how cold you are. The definition of wind chill on OSHA.gov, is “the term used to describe heat loss from the human body.” One should use the National Weather Service (NWS) Wind Chill Calculator to determine the correct temperature your body feels.

What Employees Can Do

Dress Properly: The first thing you can do to keep warm is dress correctly. Wear at least three layers of loose clothing.

  • Inner: Stay dry by wearing wool, silk or synthetic
  • Middle: Stay insulated by wearing wool or synthetic
  • Outer: Prevent overheating by wearing an outer wind/rain protection layer

*Be sure to have extra clothing nearby in case clothes get wet.

Wearing a hat or hood keeps your entire body warmer than it would be without one. If necessary, wear a knit mask over your face and mouth. To combat water, use insulated gloves and waterproof boots.

Although your employer should already have done so prior to the job, familiarize yourself with cold stress symptoms, listed on OSHA.gov.

Since moisture and dampness increases loss of heat, stay dry in cold areas. Lastly, follow safe work practices, proper engineering controls and employer provided personal protective equipment (PPE).

Eat Right = Stay Warm: Some foods make your body temperature warmer than other foods! The Healthy Eating segment from SFGate provides food suggestions that may benefit you more than others.

Clearly, eating hot food is the way to go. Slow cook food such as roasts, soups and stews are perfect to save hands-on time spent cooking. Adding spice to your food increases body temperature as well.

Choose foods high in complex carbohydrates. Whole plant foods such as

  • Green vegetables
  • Whole grains (oatmeal, pasta, whole-grain bread), starch vegetables (potatoes, corn, pumpkin) and beans, lentils and peas.

Your body needs fat, especially during the winter. Not only does fat provide insulation, but the body utilizes fat in order to absorb vitamins A, E, K and D, SFGate reported. More specifically, a vitamin D (absorbed from sunlight) deficiency may damage your health as well as contribute to depression. Correct fats to eat include:

  • Fish
  • Nuts & nut butters (cashew butter, almond butter, etc.)
  • Olives
  • Avocado
  • Tofu
  • If you must eat red meat, stick to the correct service portion (three ounces) & only three times per week

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Just like you make sure to hydrate during the peak of summer, you must do the same in colder temperatures. Choosing hot tea kills three birds with one stone, meaning it’s a good source of hydration, will naturally warm your body and distributes antioxidants to provide muscle endurance.

In order to prevent cold stress, site supervisors and all employers in general should consider the following:

  • Train workers on recognizing environmental and workplace factors potentially leading to cold stress
  • Inform employees on symptoms, prevention such as proper clothing, and treatment
  • Monitor worker physical condition
  • Schedule several short breaks in warm/dry areas & schedule work during the warmest point in the day
  • Have employees work in pairs
  • Provide warm/sweet beverages (without alcohol), and radiant heaters

 

TourReady Interviews Former Las Vegas SWAT for Insight Into Possible SWAT Building at Shooting Site

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TOURREADY INTERVIEWS FORMER LAS VEGAS SWAT FOR INSIGHT INTO POSSIBLE SWAT BUILDING AT SHOOTING SITE

THURSDAY // JANUARY 18, 2018

Keeping guests safe has increasingly become a frequent topic of discussion amongst law enforcement and all event industry employees.

Last week, MGM Resorts International released a statement regarding a discussion had with the Las Vegas Metro Police about establishing a Metro SWAT team center on the site of the Las Vegas Shooting on October 1, 2017.

The initial news came from activist Laura Loomer on her website, Medium, and soon after reported by other local news sources.

The Village site sits across from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, where 58 people lost their lives and over 500 were wounded after an active shooter opened fire from the 32nd floor. The tragedy is recorded as the worst shooting in modern U.S. history.  

The site would not be used as a SWAT training area, MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong told The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The statement reads:

“MGM has had preliminary discussions with Metro regarding the possibility of using a portion of The Village site for the purposes of creating a facility for the Metro SWAT team. The discussions are in the conceptual stages and no final decisions have been made as to the future use of the entirety of the property. However, consistent with our history of working collaboratively with law enforcement, utilizing a portion of The Village site for law enforcement is one option we are exploring with Metro.”  - MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong

Although Las Vegas Metro Police Sgt. Jeff Clark described the meeting as exploratory, the important discussion of safety and security at live events rose once again - as it always should.

Would implementing another SWAT facility benefit the city’s safety and security? If so, how much?

TourReady asked international security expert and former North Las Vegas SWAT point man, Dave Acosta, for his expertise surrounding the recent discussion.    

“On one hand, absolutely. Having an additional facility where police are working in and out of the building provides a faster police response to that immediate area,” Acosta said.  

But in reducing the amount of potential mass shootings in the future?  

“SWAT does not respond to mass shootings, so it is not relevant to mass shooting prevention or an immediate response to an active shooter,” Acosta said.

In fact, the first two police officers had arrived to the 32nd floor approximately 12 minutes after the first shots were fired, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Past mass shootings such as the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, Acosta added, had changed everything when armed first responders waited 45 minutes for the SWAT team to arrive - while students were dying.

“Nowadays police academies train recruits using SWAT tactics in every academy curriculum, such as knowing how to properly clear a building,” Acosta said.

Former East Coast detective and Strip security director Dough Poppa told The Las Vegas Review-Journal he found it unnecessary for SWAT to establish another building, since two locations exist on Christy Lane and another near the North Las Vegas Airport. 

Additionally, Poppa believes the MGM’s statement is solely a publicity stunt in order to make visitors feel safer. Poppa added the decision for MGM to announce it now would be bad timing since investigations are still ongoing.   

Stunt or not, the Las Vegas Metro Police have not confirmed any plans of constructing a new SWAT facility. On the travel industry side of things, people will naturally feel safer with additional police presence in the area.

“Bottom line is, the more police presence and law enforcement structures are visible, the better people will feel,” Acosta said.


 

HOW TO SAVE YOUR HEARING ON TOUR

HOW TO SAVE YOUR HEARING ON TOUR

THURSDAY // JANUARY 4, 2018

All good things come to an end - including your hearing if you fail to take proper precautions. Why do we work in this industry? We love live music. Working in this industry allows you to hear live music closer than any concert-goer. The ultimate experience. 

Unfortunately, the sound-reinforcement workplace is not regulated, reported Sarah Jones of Live Design. More specifically, sound engineers are at serious risk as they feel pressured to create the loudest show possible.

In fact, the live entertainment industry ranked number six on Health 24's "The 10 Worst Jobs for Your Ears" list, adjacent to careers in operating heavy machinery.

While working in the live music industry doesn’t allow for much personal time, personal safety and health should never be placed on the back burner. We’re not talking about the common cold - damaging your hearing aggregates and is permanent. Here are some warning signs and tips to prevent hearing loss before it’s far too late.

Identify the problem

Before attempting to diagnose yourself, it is vital to get a hearing test. After receiving the facts, you’ll know the foundation you stand on to further protect yourself accordingly.

Benj Kanters, an audio professional at Columbia College who continues to raise hearing loss awareness in the industry, told Jones the benefits of using products to monitor SPLs (sound pressure levels) by determining dangerous audio levels in live-time.

Specifically, Kanters refers to the Trend system, a hardware and software solution with the ability to measure, log and report SPLs, allowing the production team to adjust to safe volumes.

While professionals may suggest the Trend system, that measures SPLs over the duration of a show, it may not be the most practical method for sound engineers to adopt.

Mixing with plugs? No way!

Kanters explains the common issue sound engineers experience with the inability to hear detail while mixing with plugs. He suggests fixing the detail and immediately putting the plugs back in.

Michael Santucci, an audiologist with 30 years of experience in training live music industry workers in hearing loss prevention, suggested alternate mixing techniques to comply with hearing protection.

Unfortunately, while learning to mix dynamically with subtractive mixing takes practice, nothing depends on hearing loss prevention, but rather the engineer’s abilities and what the band wants, Santucci told Jones.

Common Misconceptions

Jones reveals the common misconception among industry professionals who believe P.A. systems emitting low distortion are completely safe. Santucci explains the FOH technology actually allows a cleaner sound and masks volumes detrimental to hearing.  

Another conundrum, Jones adds, is the in-ear monitor musicians use - but will turn up anyway. The purpose is defeated, and you will remain at risk.

Santucci’s research proves it: 95 percent turn on ear monitors matching the exactly same volume as floor monitors, Jones reports.

Things that alleviate hearing damage but won’t prevent or cure it?

  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Muscle training

A Louder Awareness

Hearing loss is a growing epidemic. According to MusiCares  of the Recording Academy, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled between 2000 and 2015, and globally, the number is 44 percent.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 18 percent of adults 20-69 experience hearing loss in both ears from reportedly working 5 or more years in a noise-induced working environment.

Jones reports on the growing number of resources educating live music industry workers:

  • The Audio Engineering Society continues to spread awareness of noise-induced hearing loss in the industry, and has held multiple tutorials and workshops on the topic. Their 3rd annual AES International Conference will occur at Columbia College in Chicago on June 20-22, 2018. Click here for more information.
  • MusiCares offers hearing clinics with complimentary ear impressions and custom musician earplugs for all attendees. Their website offers a plethora of educational articles you can visit here.  

THERE'S AN ACTIVE SHOOTER AT MY GIG: Crew Safety On the Job

  Police outside Le Bataclan.   (Source: bfmtv.com) . 

Police outside Le Bataclan. (Source: bfmtv.com)

 

There's An Active Shooter At My Gig: Crew Safety On the Job

WEDNESDAY // NOVEMBER 9, 2017

With headlines polluted with the deadliest shootings and massacres of our time, we are reminded to be vigilant - check our surroundings, keep our eyes open, look over our shoulders. But what if you’re attacked at your gig? When you’re in full-on work mode, the thought of someone with 100 percent intent to kill does not reside in your everyday state of mind.

Just like you are 100 percent trained and proficient in every aspect in event production, these killers are 100 percent trained and proficient working toward a goal to cause as many casualties as possible.

In wake of the Vegas shooting, Newsweek recently reported on the lack of knowledge among crew members have in how to respond to an active shooter during an event. Event workers and security experts told Newsweek that the amount of people who are not aware and lack guidance in wake of an emergency is a problem, and a plan must be made to solve the problem.

Of course every situation will be different, and there are no such guidelines that can apply to each and every one of them. But, there are things you should know to help you make decisions that can ultimately result in life or death. This information should be used at your own risk, and used to spread awareness across the board of crew workers and more.

The Route 91 Harvest festival shooting was the first of its kind, in both the killer’s method and in the highest number casualties. The training in regards to an active shooter does not exist for open space venues. An OSHA trainer told Pollstar that they will begin doing more active shooter training for these types of events.   

This kind of emergency calls for communication lines. Michael Rozin, president of security consulting company suggested to Newsweek that the main training that can be done here is to communicate to others where the safer place is through communication systems like a bullhorn or microphone system.

As far as protecting yourself as a crew member?

For the Vegas type of tragedy, most cannot find the origin of the gunfire. Does the Avoid/Deny/Defend strategy still apply to you? Marty Adock, the program manager of the grant-funded Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) told the Daily Mail that in wake of the Vegas shooting, your only options are to move further outside the venue, or put yourself behind vehicles or barriers.

In response to Le Bataclan Attack in Paris on November 13, 2015, Brendon Grimes, owner of TSC Productions in Florida and a former Combat Mission Load Master of two decades, told Jim on Light that heavier cases like cable trunks and stage decking is better to hide behind, or make yourself a smaller target. So, in terms of protecting yourself during a tragedy such as the Route 91 Vegas shooting, hiding behind objects such as these may be your best bet and only option.

As we know, crew members passed away at Le Bataclan Attack. The house lighting tech at FOH, Natalie Nardin, succumbed from her injuries after taking rounds of ammunition, as well as merchandiser Nick Alexander.

After the Orlando Shooting at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016, there was chatter among lighting designers taking part in aiding the crowd in hopes to signal alarms in an emergency, reported PBS. However, these kind of event-halting situations can cause panic among the crowd. Also, staying behind in a location furthest away from the exit, puts a technical crew member in danger, as we know from Nardin’s death at Bataclan.

Below is a photo of Le Bataclan's floor layout, with escape routes highlighted. 

  (Source:  Jim on Light )

(Source: Jim on Light)

 

Like spectators, crew members are also just as much at risk when an active shooter enters the building. While focusing completely on making sure attendees are receiving the best possible live show they can get, will you know how to protect yourself?

Patrick Dierson, a production designer and former militant with some OGA experience told Jim on Light that having situational awareness is key - know what’s going on around you, know your exits and surroundings in a large crowd. He explains that as one should not live in fear, “keeping your head on a swivel isn’t out of line.”

From the SEAL SURVIVAL GUIDE: A Navy SEAL's Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster, Former Navy Seal Cade Courtley, outlines situation awareness in five points:

  1. Try to guess what individuals around you are thinking or doing.
  2. Look for odd behavior or things that seem out of place.
  3. Determine where you'd go if you had to seek immediate cover from an explosion or gunshots.
  4. Find the two closest exits.
  5. Determine whether someone is following you or taking an unusual interest in you.

The question of being armed or unarmed during a gig comes into play. Dierson explains that carrying or not, the second gunfire sounds in any situation, you must take cover immediately and then assess what your exit options are. Becoming a “hero” by waving your gun and intervening the situation, even with extensive gun training, is positioning yourself as the killer’s next target. He instead urges those to cover and then exit as quickly as possible while safely helping others when possible.

Dierson explains covering and exiting in a leap frog analogy - that is, running from each largest and heaviest object to the next on your way toward the exit and into safety. He mentions hiding behind dimmer racks or the audio’s kit. In a venue situation, the concrete walls are best since they eventually lead to exits.

After the Manchester Attack, Tim Roberts, Event Safety Alliance (ESA) Board Member and Director of the Event Safety Shop, provided this document for touring crew regarding how to counter attacks: Counter Terrorism Advice for Concert Crew. The document may be a response to bombing, but the same type of situational awareness / get yourself out responses do apply.   

However, Dierson is against the idea of an armed crew. Having the crew trained in CPR, basic first aid, & advanced situational awareness should take priority over handling a gun onsite. To sum his words up, using your mind is the best thing you can do by staying focused, alert, and telling someone when you notice anything suspicious.

Of course, if crew had a gun and had proper gun training AND had time to catch the threat beforehand, there could be a chance in fighting back. WIth the killer’s intent to kill and your intent to give a killer live show, the chances of all those factors positively changing the outcome are slim to none.

Production designer Rick Reeves, a former Navy Security member during the Iraq Wars, told Jim on Light that your primary goal is to get out, and that failure to do so will result in losing your own life. Knowing your exits and keeping calm are two things that will save your life in light of an active shooter.

The only exception for using your gun, Reeves mentions, is if you can retrieve it without notice and the killer is within seven feet with his back facing your direction.

Grimes adds that with all second amendment cases put aside, anyone who wishes to carry a firearm needs to be fully trained a qualified to do so. But, again, getting down, covered, and out are the very first primary things crew needs to focus on. The steps summarized and, outlined below, are:

  1. Get down
  2. Get out as fast and as safely possible
  3. Dont panic
  4. Don’t play hero
  5. If you cannot get out, stay hidden until you can get out
  6. When you’re out call emergency
  7. If you cannot, hide until you have to fight for your life

Say your higher authority does allow you to carry concealed as per your permitted status allows, the four rules of firearm safety should already be engraved in your mind. These four rules are outlined on the NRA’s website as well: https://gunsafetyrules.nra.org/.

If you’re still thinking of being the hero, the consequences of attempting and failing are tremendous. You can kill an innocent bystander or even yourself. The point is, if you have other available options, getting yourself and others safely out is the number one thing you can do to save your life.

THE LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: How Will the Live Music Industry Respond?

  (Photo credit:   Eva Rinaldi  via Flickr)

(Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr)

THE LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: How Will the Live Music Industry Respond?

Wednesday // October 4, 2017

“Pray for Paris,” “Pray for Manchester," “Pray for Orlando," and now, “Pray for Las Vegas”. The slogans ring all too familiar, and prior to each event, all unprecedented.

Of course, none of these attacks were linked together in relation to the shooter, motive, nor region.

The Bataclan attack was part of a series of coordinated Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015, where 89 of the 130 killed were attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert.

On May 22, 2016, 22-year old Salman Abedi bombed the outside foyer of an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 and injuring 116.

The terrorist attack on Pulse Nighclub in Orlando, Florida, hit closer to home for Americans when 29-year old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 58 in the deadliest hate crime against the LGTBQ+ community and deadliest U.S. mass shooting at the time.

The 2017 Las Vegas Strip Shooting, or the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shooting, took Pulse’s spot when 64-year old Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, overlooking the crowd of 22,000 concertgoers. On October 2, 2017, Paddock fired shots for ten minutes, killing 58 and injuring 530 innocent people.

The only thing that connects these events together are the events themselves. We attend music events to celebrate music, life and loved ones. We put aside about our troubles, disagreements and hardships in our lives for a few hours, or sometimes a few days at a festival, to unite in the form of music.

Live Nation, the same promoter for the Ariana Grande concert where the Manchester attack occurred, has promoted Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas for four years. On Monday, the company issued a heartfelt statement regarding support to victims and their families following the aftermath of the horrendous tragedy. The statement also thanks first responders and other employees.

The company also states, “And while we are stunned and grieving over this incomprehensible act of violence, we know that this is a moment when we must come together to prevent more tragedies like this from occurring.”

Each of these events then questions the effectiveness of security. How do we secure the inside? How do we secure in the perimeter?

And now, an even more frightening question: How do we secure an aerial attack several football fields away and 32 stories high?

There are two areas to focus on. First, how do we prevent individuals from transporting several boxes of high-power ammunition into an upper-level hotel room? And how do we protect innocent concertgoers on the ground from the external danger? 

Regarding hotel security, none of the hotel employees noticed anything out of the ordinary in Paddock’s hotel room or behavior. In fact, Steven Adelman, vice president of the Event Safety Alliance, said “[Paddock] would have eluded attention anywhere,” CBS reported on Tuesday. He added that the only sure-fire way to prevent weapons entering hotels would require impractical airport-style surveillance.

Mac Segal, head of Hotel and Fixed Site Security Consulting at AS Solution, told USA Today that hotel security would never anticipate this type of attack.

The ESA’s statement on the shooting reads, “Our industry is more united and resolute than ever in the advancement of robust security protocols to ensure the safety of our cherished guests, artists, and crew. However, sometimes there is never enough..we will continue together to advocate for increasingly effective safety measures at events around the globe.”

When something this devastating occurs due to the threat external to the facility, event promoters find it more difficult than ever, if not impossible, to predict or take account for what is going on outside of your facility.

“The venue, Live Nation, and the various promoters are all focused on securing the facility. This threat was external - via the hotel, where they have no jurisdiction or operational control or ability to manipulate the variables around security…” said Chris Robinette, CEO of Prevent Advisors, a security consulting company, Variety reported.  

Therefore, this type of attack calls for large outdoor event organizers to observe event regulation in regards to evacuation procedures and the event location, such as events next to high-rise hotels.

Standing room festival seating easily sparks chaos in response to a disaster such as this.

“There are no aisles, no direction and the crowd density is high. A lot of people are all leaving at once, they can’t find a way out and there is no one to give direction,” said Paul Wertheimer, head of Crowd Management Strategies, to USA Today.

Segal added the lack of pre recorded announcement at Route 91 Festival accounted for much of the confusion for the attendees in regards to some kind of direction on where to evacuate.  

As for events adjacent to high-rise buildings and hotels, security professionals and promoters suggested expanding the perimeter around these types of targets, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. But, Adelman adds, “Do you not hold festivals near hills or tall trees?”

All of these questions are seemingly becoming the new norm for security professionals, event venues and event promoters. Robinette urges that working with law enforcement officials in the area of the event and security professionals in surrounding buildings must both have a plan to respond to any catastrophic event.  

Living in a world where we cannot prevent or predict every threat may be the inevitable. As for concertgoers, music brings people together in joy. Whether or not these events stop people from obtaining that joy, our law enforcement and security officials must put disaster plans into place now more than ever.

With all four senseless tragedies that are difficult to understand -- Manchester, Paris, Orlando and Las Vegas -- the one thing we know we can act on, is to be prepared.