This guest post provided by Roy Poteete. Roy blogs about business safety issues and fire department issues. Check out his blog at http://rpoteete.blogspot.com/.
WOW! Stage Collapse, High Winds, Thunderstorms bearing down on your location with tens of thousands in attendance waiting for a concert in an outdoor arena. Minutes prior to the incident happening you contact the National Weather Service and you are advised that HIGH WINDS in excess of 60 +/- and thunderstorms bearing down on your location! You want to continue with the concert with a stage canopy about 60 feet in the air that will act as a Kite by catching the winds and could topple on the stage causing injuries and deaths. Concert Promoter/State Fair Organizer > How are you prepared to handle this situation and did you do everything correctly to prevent this incident from happening?
If I was a personal injury lawyer this is what I would ask of the fair organizer and concert promoter.
Well the answer is NO!
NO to all the questions that you could possibly ask regarding public safety with high winds, rain, thunderstorms and possible lightening. The concert promoter stated to State Police Investigators stated that they contacted the national weather service about 15 minutes prior to the winds collapsing the stage super structure killing several and injuring other. They were told that the storm was in the are and high winds of 60 +/- mph.
Ask yourself > If I allow this to go on with the threat of the weather and person being close to the stage and a possible death and or injuries what are my ramifications and what will my potential OSHA Fines be?
Ask yourself > I did get the super structure inspected to make sure that it will not topple in high winds or do I need to ask to some of the super structure to removed to protect life, and property?
What lessons can be learned for this incident? In any mass casualty incident(s) there is always lessons that can be learned for them. New lessons will come from this up to and including the way the State Fair is ran regarding Outdoor Concerts/Sporting Events, mass casualty and maybe even having Fire/EMS on standby at all events so the the response time is limited to less then a minute.
I do believe that even if Fire and EMS was on the scene prior to the incident happening and staged away from the stage that some of the deaths might of been serious injuries instead of deaths.
More on this I am sure to be posted by the State Fire Marshall's Office & State Police of Indiana, and OSHA.
OSHA > will investigate any deaths of this type and they will impose a final ruling and can include a penalty/fine.