Safety at Outdoor Venues in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - After a collapsed concert stage took 5 lives in Indiana over the weekend, Fox 19 talked to experts in Cincinnati about how they keep people safe at outdoor events.

City inspectors examine temporary structures, and say they must be built according to engineers' specifications.  They are required to withstand the same environmental pressures that permanent buildings are, for example, wind speed.

Capt. Joe Wolf has run special events for the Cincinnati Fire Department for 8 years.  He tells us in his experience, the people who run the large concert and sports venues, festivals, and other outdoor events are very mindful of the safety of their crowds.  Wolf says they keep a watchful eye on the skies, and coordinate with the Fire and Police Departments as well as meteorologists about severe weather conditions and if a possible evacuation is needed.

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber runs events like Taste of Cincinnati and Oktoberfest, and Vice President Patrick Sheeran tells Fox 19 they have a safety and evacuation plan for each specific event, "We've dealt with everything that you might see at an event, from people fainting, and little cuts and bruises, to signs falling down due to the wind."  The weather remains the biggest and most important variable in any large outdoor event.  Capt. Wolf says after looking at video of the stage that collapsed in Indianapolis, its size worked against it in the bad weather, "It was a big structure and there was a lot of surface for the wind to hit."

Wolf reminds people who head outdoors to any large event, "You've really got to pay attention to what's going on around you, because when you're in that situation, you're there for a concert, you're not really thinking about your safety. But there are a lot of other people thinking of your safety and unfortunately you can't think of everything."  Heed warnings as soon as you hear them, and follow the directions given.