During the summer months there are many outdoor special events, such as concerts, festivals, fairs, and parades, just to name a few. It takes a lot of planning and effort to coordinate these events and you never know what the weather will bring. All the effort put into the event can make it tempting to ignore any weather problems that pop up. However, ignoring an incoming storm can often mean disastrous results, with property damage or worse, injuries and deaths to spectators or participants. Planning for weather emergencies must be a part of any summer special event.
Many different weather issues can affect outdoor events. Extreme heat is probably the most common issue, especially for afternoon events. Heat can cause issues like heat stroke and heat exhaustion. More serious issues can arise from summer storms, which often bring strong winds, lightning, and even tornados. Storms can blow up suddenly and often outdoor events are caught off guard. This can be very dangerous, as high winds and tornados can blow down trees and tents and cause serious damage and injuries.
Preparing for summer storms
Event organizers should spend ample time preparing for different weather scenarios. If possible, having an indoor back-up space is ideal. However, for many events this won’t be an option. While difficult, to keep everyone safe if the weather is very bad, the event may need to be rescheduled or cancelled. If the event can continue, check out the tips below to keep everyone safe from dangerous weather:
- Ensure an employee or volunteer is monitoring the weather throughout the event. Storms and winds can often come on quickly and without a lot of warning.
- Know the difference between a storm or tornado watch and a warning. Warnings require immediate action, whereas a watch can be monitored.
- Make sure you have the capability to communicate to all patrons/participants in case they need to take shelter.
- Securely tie down tents or large structures to ensure they don’t blow away or collapse.
- If a storm arrives before patrons can find shelter, encourage everyone to move to the lowest ground away from any trees.