an additional note on the Indiana State Fair stage collapse

At noon today, Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang published an insightful post on the nature and causes of the tragic Indiana State Fair stage collapse, summarizing much of the background that’s surfaced over the past 40 hours or so. You can find that link here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/indiana-stage-collapse-was-it-preventable/2011/08/15/gIQAvXa9GJ_blog.html#pagebreak

His post does a great job of breaking the problem down into three distinct elements:

–          Was there ample notice?

–          Was the warning acted upon?

–          Could the accident have been prevented?

His analysis is worth reading in full. As to the last point, it’s always difficult to answer such a question in retrospect. However,  it certainly seems clear that we can and should do better with regard to our national performance with regard to weather safety at the thousands of outdoor events held every year, taken as a whole. A key to this is learning from experience.

It may at first seem that at any given location, for any particular venue or public event, there may not be many such opportunities to learn. These weather threats are, fortunately, rare.

But as a national community of government and private-sector weather service providers, emergency managers, and event sponsors, we can do more to learn from the experience of others and thus to be more prepared ourselves. This holds even for individuals and families attending such events.

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