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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.

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/