When the Indiana State Fair stage collapsed, claiming six lives and sending more than 45 people to the hospital, safety officials everywhere took note. What could people in the audience learn? What steps can be taken to make a plan before watching a large performance, attending a football game, or a series finale for any major sport?
In Indiana, right before the band Sugarland was ready to play, severe winds struck the stage and it fell into the crowd. While safety precautions are not always possible, take notice next time before you head over to a playoff game or large concert, or even an event in your child’s auditorium. Stop and craft an emergency exit strategy so that you can be prepared for anything.
As you get situated in your section inside a large building, identify the exits. How would you leave in an emergency? Make sure you have a clear picture in your mind outlining the alternative exits that are possible, and go over this emergency safety plan with anyone attending the event with you. Research tells us that if a person has a “mental plan” for escaping a crisis event, that person has almost a 50 percent better chance of surviving without serious injury.
Of course, the first response would typically be to exit the same way you came in. However, that is not always the best move when exiting in a crisis situation. Take some time when you first arrive at an event to figure out the best emergency exits, and then figure out how you will get away from the building or area from those new exits (if you came in a different way). So, figure out not only how you would leave, but then how you would get oriented outside of the building.
Once you have an emergency plan in place, relax and enjoy the show!