01 Oct Industry insights: Why GigRent works with The National Weather Laboratory and meteorologists for event planning
Whether your event is indoors, outdoors, or a mixture of both, planning for weather is part of the discussion and strategy, especially with electronics and audio visual equipment. Designing layout and planning for severe-weather safety should begin weeks or months in advance. Go over the possible scenarios with all key team members. While you may plan for the most obvious natural phenomena like heavy winds or rain, don’t forget to research other potential pitfalls specific to the venue or region or to the time of the year. Don’t rely on just your local news channel’s forecast for guidance; an event’s planning requires more specific and nuanced detail.
GigRent has worked with production manager Jim Digby who founded an organization called the Event Safety Alliance. They work very hard to find more ways for our events to be safer and more efficient so that everyone can go home to their families every day. We worked an event in Austria where a big storm hit. Dark clouds rolled in and the wind became intense. Jim was in constant contact with the National Weather Laboratory (https://www.weather.gov/) back in Norman, Oklahoma. Under other circumstances, the event would have been stopped and cancelled. However, having the meteorologist on retainer allowed us to get real data-driven information from an expert, even though she was on the other side of the world. The meteorologist was able to tell us the weather would break within the next 10-20 minutes. It played out exactly as we were told, and we were able to proceed with the event. We had taken down all the LEDs and secured all our electronic audio visual equipment and kept the people attending the event informed. As soon as the weather broke, the event was back on. The cost of the retainer for the meteorologist paid for the next 10 years of the event, because the event wasn’t cancelled due to weather.
Early in the planning process, designate key people who are critical in the event of a weather emergency. In addition to law enforcement and security, the medical staff, and the public relations team, the event announcer and front-office personnel should be informed to communicate updates to guests.
Fatalities, injuries, and/or damage have occurred at venues due to lightning, wind gusts, extreme heat, hail, flooding, ice and snow, extreme cold, tornadoes, and hurricanes. It is important for venue operators and event organizers to be situationally aware of every weather risk that can occur and proactively plan to mitigate those risks.