The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Colts Camp

August 15, 2011

Area venues keep up-to-date emergency plans

ANDERSON, Ind. — The tragic and terrifying stage crash at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Saturday has made people nervous about outdoor events and dangerous weather.

But many venues have emergency plans in case of severe storms.

With Colts training camp taking over Anderson University campus for a few weeks, the Madison County Emergency Management Agency has been working daily to make sure visitors are safe. Anderson University also has its own emergency weather plans that it adjusts to fit different events such as football games and festivals.

The Madison County Emergency Management Agency creates an updated action plan for each day of Colts camp, said the agency’s director, C.R. Brown. They research the weather conditions, the expected crowd and other factors to fit the needs. The plan is updated 24 hours before each day of training and then they keep an eye on three different radars.

The plan includes the responsibilities of each public safety department that is involved, including the Anderson police and fire departments, Anderson University’s security officers, and EMA, Brown said.

It includes the process the teams would follow to alert people to severe weather, how to evacuate them, or how to move them to safe shelter — such as residence halls — if there isn’t time to exit the premises. It even includes flight and drive times to several hospitals in case there are any severe injuries.

Last year, people were evacuated from a night practice when there was a threat of severe weather, and it went smoothly, said Walter Smith, the director of police and security service at the university.

One of the plans for tonight’s practice, for example, is to increase manpower since a large crowd is expected.

Added to the mix will be more than 100 volunteers and 50 to 60 paid security who will have access to radios, will be aware of the weather and are trained to direct people to safety in case of an emergency, Smith said.

And one of EMA’s technology gurus knows firsthand how dreadful it is for a weather disaster to strike in an unexpected way.

Chris Brenneman had been at the state fair, sitting in the third row with his family waiting for Sugarland to begin. They decided to visit the concession stand, and as they looked out toward the stage, they saw it crumble and crush the area where they had been sitting.

Brenneman ran straight into the rubble and pulled out a mother, whose leg had been broken, and her 3-year-old bleeding daughter. Brenneman, an EMT, got to work on them and moved them to a safer location.

Hoosier Park also has an emergency plan in place for its outdoor concerts and events, said its spokesman, Grant Scharton.

Designated officials can choose to evacuate people “based on a constant stream of the most up-to-date weather information from dedicated weather radios, the national weather service and other sources. An announcement would be made from the concert stage notifying concert goers of the situation and of their nearest points of egress.

“Security personnel and Hoosier Park team members would direct and help concert goers indoors to seek shelter in designated tornado safety areas. These areas include the casino back halls and under the terrace grandstands,” Scharton said in an email.

Contact Melanie Hayes: 648-4250 or melanie.hayes@heraldbulletin.com

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Colts Camp
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