The Major League Baseball season is in full swing. But for stadiums across the country, summertime means far more than bats, balls, and hot dogs. The facilities are constantly hosting concerts and other special events, which can be a challenge for the local fire service and others tasked with keeping occupants safe.
In Cobb County, Georgia, home of the Atlanta Braves' stadium, SunTrust Park, deputy fire marshal and fire captain Nick Dawe is currently readying for a stress test of sorts. This weekend, the facility will host back-to-back concerts featuring country rockers Zac Brown Band followed by Def Leppard and Journey. It's by far the most challenging event fire and stadium officials have had to plan for, Dawe told me in May. He spoke with me for an article called "Fielding All Challenges," which is now online and will appear in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal.
"Concerts are definitely the most challenging events to plan for inside the stadium," Dawe said. "The baseball field was not designed for 9,000-plus people to be entertaining themselves, drinking, and enjoying a concert. There are no traditional exits. When you’re on the field, you have to ask, where are the exit signs? Where are the fire extinguishers? Having 14 or so entry points and trying to make them all meet the egress requirements when there’s also protective coverings on the field can be a challenge."
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