wood-dale-tentGiven the recent tragedies in Wood Dale, IL and Lancaster, NH we will never know for sure if the tent installation failed because of improper staking, faulty components or equipment failure. What we do understand is that there was an early severe storm warning from the National Weather Bureau and that the evacuation plan at both locations was flawed or ignored.

Both of these tragedies placed economics ahead of safety, and this will have an effect on everyone who relies on special events as a source of income. The larger impact of this tragedy was of course: on the companies that participated in these tragedies, but there is also an effect on those of us who were not involved. The obvious is a potential increase in the cost of insurance premiums along with stricter regulations that may cause an event to become cost prohibitive. However, another factor is the possible decision by the village of Wood Dale to drop the event entirely to avoid future risks as part of the risk mitigation process. The ripple effect could cause other communities to follow suit and analyze their festival risk exposures. Their decision to limit exposure could be canceling future festivals or move the festival to other venues. Both of these scenarios create an economic impact on the special events industry.

All of this happens because we as an industry, struggle to collaborate with our clients on how and when the evacuation plan should be implemented. If safety came first, the economics would not be threatened. Instead, there is renewed interest in regulations and communities could be taking an active interest in reviewing their exposure.

Economics will suffer because safety was not placed first.

Jim Erickson