Weather is a way of life in the tent rental and event industry. We are the “rain or shine” people.
Tents are temporary structures. No matter how intricate the design, how well engineered the product and how perfect the install, its fabric and metal anchored with stakes or ballast. While the install may look like it will stand for years, an afternoon of bad weather can destroy it in minutes.
The basic lesson is this: Bad weather means get out of the tent. What defines bad weather? There are dozens of instances where people have tried to wait out the storm or sought shelter in a tent. Many times they are lucky and nothing happens. But sometimes they are not so lucky and there is a failure of the tent or structure.
That’s when the situation changes from an afternoon at a festival to years of pain, suffering and litigation. However, most of these situations can be avoided through planning, preparation and prevention.
Storm Safety begins long before an event. You should at very least address these items.
*What are the failure points of the product being installed?
*What situations would make the structure unsafe?
*Who is responsible for the people under the tent while it is occupied?
*What are the event planners expectations for an emergency response?
An emergency action plan can be as simple or as complex as the situation requires. For small events, the plan may be simple as the coordinator getting everyone out of the tent and into a home or hotel. For a larger event, the plan must take into account the risks, the management structure, routes and resources available to the event organizer.
Who creates the plan and who is responsible for executing the plan? The person in charge and that has the authority and the responsibility for the safety of the people in the tent or structure. That person or entity is the person responsible for the creation of the emergency action plan.
Preparing for any weather emergency starts with staying informed of what the forecast is and knowing whether your installations are at risk. Weather forecasting has gotten so scientifically exact that being surprised by the weather is now inexcusable. Often the lead time given by forecasters gives the tent or structure company enough time to get people and equipment into a place to prevent damage.
Steps can be taken to prevent the weather from impacting the lives of the public, damaging or destroying the event preparation and valuable inventory.
Orderly evacuation to a safe location, shutdown of gas and electrical systems and securing of the tent are some of the best ways to prevent damage and injuries.
*Storm safety and evacuation planning for tented events is a matter of common sense and good planning, preparation and communication. We can never control Mother Nature, but we can learn to manage and minimize her impact.
**Information gathered from INtents magazine April 2014**