Essay, 4 pages (1000 words)

Indiana state fair

Indiana Fair An unfortunate incident happened at the Indiana Fair on August 13, Due to wind gusts from an approaching severe thunderstorm, the stage where the band Sugarland was set to perform collapsed. The incident occurred after the thunderstorm hit the temporary stage roof, causing it to collapse. The incident led to the death of 7 people while injuring 58 other spectators. No members of the band were involved in the accident since they were still in their tour bus waiting for their call to mount the stage. Investigations into the matter looked into the reasons behind the collapse and who was to be blamed for the incident. Surely even an act of nature such as the one experienced at the state fair happened because of some sort of human error. The human error in this case turned out to be the complacency of the concert organizers. Official reports looking into the cause of the accident indicated that the weather warnings were issued on a regular basis to warn the concert organizers and producers of the oncoming storm. The event organizers were so disorganized and without a leadership hierarchy that nobody could actually decide whether to cancel the concert or not due to bad weather. To make matters worse, the concert organizers who contacted suppliers for the concert did not have any knowledge of the fact that the temporary stage that was rented out to them could only withstand 40 mph winds. The event organizers allowed the concert to proceed until such a time that it became highly evident to everyone present that the the weather was going to get even worse. Only then did someone in the group take action by asking the manager of the band to cancel the show. Unfortunately, it became a case of too little too late. The stage had collapsed just as the event organizer finally made the decision to cancel the concert. In this instance, the final decision regarding continuing with the concert should have rested with the event organizers since they should have had first hand information about the stage rigging and the capacity of the makeshift stage to handle high wind conditions. The band manager should not have had any authority to decide if the band would play or not. The main concern of the concert organizers should have been the safety of the public instead of the talent fee of the band. After a thorough investigations by the independently hired firms of Thornton Tomasetti and Witt Associates declared that the stage collapse was the result of faulty construction. The two companies also made recommendations as to how the stage construction could be improved in the future in order to prevent future similar disasters. Of all the recommendations of the firms, the most important suggestion both firms made was that a Chief Operations Officer must be assigned oversee public safety. (Touhy & Richie, 2012). The result of the investigation caused an avalanche of penalties as punishments for those concerned. On February 8, 2012, the Fair Commission was fined $6500 for failing to take into account severe weather conditions and its potential impact on the concert fans. While the International Alliance of Stage Employees paid a fine worth $11500 because they were not able to secure their employees properly above the stage. But the biggest fine was paid out by the stage manufacturer who paid out $63000 for the accident and received the most blame for what happened. After the investigation, the Indiana State Fair management decided to make some changes to the festivities. A Chief Operating Officer was now in charge of the fair and a director for safety and security of the fairgrounds was also hired. This was in response to the suggestions made by the case investigators that proved that negligence and lack of care were the primary causes of the stage collapse (Wilson, 2012) While individual learning in crisis management situations is something that can help solve a potentially explosive situation, there is actually more to be gained from team learning. By focusing attention on the ability of the team, the team members will be more than capable of: 1. The ability to think insightfully about complex issues 2. The ability to take innovative, coordinated action 3. The ability to create a network that will allow other teams to take action as well (Fitzgerald, 2003). In an individual set up, there is no chance of comparing the individual with the team side. All that is important is that there are now people in charge of fixing up the damaged done to the town by the accident. Resiliency through redundancy simply means that the team has the ability to bounce back from disruptions caused by unexpected problems. This could be something as simple as stocking up on spare parts or, as in the case of the state fair, having a secondary stage on hand for performers in case of severe bad weather (Sheffi, 2006) If I were in charge of an event similar to the Indiana State Fair, I would have my team constantly revisit the tragedy and ask themselves, what else could have been done by the team? I would then file away their suggestions as reference material in case the need arises. I would also make sure to have them create worst case scenarios, the more impossible the better, that we can hypothetically respond to in order to keep their creative thinking and quick disaster response skills constantly honed and active. I will also make sure that a live weight test is done on the stage and its rigging during the days leading up to the actual concert, with the live weight test done at least 3 times on the day of the event. S Sources Fitzgerald. D. (2003). Team learning: more than group thinking. techrepublic. com. techrepublic. com. Retrieved from http://www. techrepublic. com/article/team-learning- more-than-group-thinking/ Sheffie, Y. (2006). Resilience through redundancy. cio. com. au. cio. com. au. Retrieved from http://www. cio. com. au/article/182331/resilience_through_redundancy/ Touhy, J. & Richie, C. (2012). Firm: Ind. stage collapse caused by improper construction. usatofday. com. usatoday. com. Retrieved from http://usatoday30. usatoday. com/news/nation/story/2012-04-12/indiana-state-fair- stage-collapse/54231792/1 Wilson, C. (2012). Indiana fair makes management changes after collapse. huffingtonpost. com. huffingtonpost. com. Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2012/05/11/ind-fair-makes- management_n_1508030. html

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