An Emergency Plan is Not Optional
High winds toppled an outdoor stage at the Indiana State Fair, killing seven people and injuring dozens. Unfortunately the fair’s severe weather emergency plan consisted of a single page and did not give specific instructions for possible evacuations.
The scaffolding collapsed just minutes after authorities had taken the stage to warn the audience of an approaching storm. The National Weather Service estimated winds of 60 mph to 70 mph were raking the area when the incident occurred.
The single page was only one part of an overall emergency plan, but it did not contain specific policies regarding stage construction and other weather-related guidelines. The emergency plan did not list any single person to coordinate decisions on evacuations.
The severe weather page contained specific wording for announcements to be made when severe weather threatens and when the “all clear” is given. Wording to advise people to move away from tents into buildings did not specify which ones.
The Indiana State fair emergency plan was created by state police, approved by fair officials and circulated to local emergency management officials before the fair opened.