The past month has seen several deadly weather systems tear though much of the country, upending trees, lives, and livelihoods from Oklahoma to the Great Lakes. Such disasters are unfortunately an increasingly common occurrence this time of year. Although severe weather can strike at any time, the summer months have traditionally experienced the most destructive weather in terms of damage and lost lives.

As recent tragedies have shown, severe weather is one of the greatest threats facing outdoor events. Unlike other hazards, it is an unpreventable and often unpredictable phenomenon. Light breezes can turn to a gale in moments, and abate just as quickly. You can’t control the weather…you can only be prepared to respond when it occurs.

With the outdoor event season in full swing and the increased risk of severe weather, now is the time to ask yourself whether your event is “storm ready”.

In general terms, being storm ready involves having plans and processes in place to respond to whatever weather emergency your event may face. These include process to proactively monitor weather conditions, an established chain of command in decision making, formal evacuation and sheltering plans, and a process for internal and public communications. It means ensuring that your team knows their role during a severe weather emergency, and are confident in performing their assigned duties. Above all, it means knowing when the show must go on, and when the risks are simply too great to proceed.

The Event Safety Guide provides an excellent framework for developing such systems. Culled from the experience of key leaders within the event production and weather information industries, the “Weather Preparedness” chapter of the Guide contains a number of tools and best practices designed to assist event operators in creating a weather response program that suits their event. In addition, the Guide also provides background and contact information for several training and informational resources that may offer additional ideas and assistance.

As an added resource, the Event Safety Alliance is pleased to provide users of our website with an interactive, real-time weather map, courtesy of Weather Decision Technologies. WDT is the world’s most advanced value-added weather content provider, counting as clients most of the United States’ leading weather services and interactive media outlets. To learn more about how WDT can assist with your weather monitoring needs, visit www.wdtinc.com

Given the risks presented by severe weather, becoming “storm ready” is one the most important steps you can take to protect those working or attending your event. The principles laid out in the Event Safety Guide are designed to help you meet this challenge, and ensure that your weather preparedness program is ready to handle anything Mother Nature throws your way.