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Why We Are Here

Shortly before the start of the season the Chair of a Safety Advisory Group sent this message to Clubs and colleagues:

This is a quick email as a reminder to everyone as to why the role as the Safety Advisory Group and that of the event Safety Officer is so important when planning events. As part of my presentations at conferences regarding safety at football stadiums / festivals and concerts I often remind delegates that someone loses their life at this type of event every six months around the world.

In recent weeks that figure has been made to look insignificant. With deaths and casualties at events all around the world such as – FC Twente football stadium during construction, stage collapse at Ottawa Bluesfest, stampede at pan African music festival in Conga, riots at Montreux jazz festival.

This comes as a stark reminder of what can go wrong if events are not planned properly or proper staffing, security and procedures are not put in to place. It is impossible to completely rule out the possibility of these kinds of incidents happening when large crowds of people gather for an event whether it be music, sport or religion. It does emphasise for me the importance of an integrated plan, based on experience where possible, to reduce risk on a priority basis.

I have set out a little bit more detail below about each event:

1. The accident happened during building work at the ground of top Dutch team FC Twente. The victims are thought to all be construction workers. Part of the stadium roof has collapsed killing one person and injuring many more. Thankfully the stadium was not full of spectators! (07/07/2011)

2. A strong downward burst of wind is believed to have led to the collapse of the main stage during a performance on Sunday night at the Ottawa Bluesfest. Ottawa paramedics responded to multiple injuries after the stage collapse at around 7:20pm. Questions are being asked about the collapse. (18/07/2011)

3. SEVEN people died and 30 were injured during a stampede outside a Brazzaville stadium where a pan-African musical festival opened. Organisers are trying to lay the blame with the Police whilst a police spokesman said they should instead try to find out whether the organisers took all the appropriate measures. (11/07/2011)

4. The prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland came to a violent end over the weekend as crowds of drunken concertgoers clashed with event security. 21 people were arrested including two minors. (18/07/2011)

5. Eleven people including a fire-fighter were hurt in a fireworks accident in the central Wisconsin town of Rome. Rome Police Chief Adam Grosz said it happened about 9:30 pm Saturday during a professional fireworks show at Romano's Pizzeria. Grosz said the initial investigation indicates a 5-inch tube malfunctioned and exploded on the ground, setting off several other fireworks and sending debris flying into the crowd. (18/07/2011)

Lest we forget.

Since then there has been a disaster at the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium where four people died and more than 70 were injured, whilst the first anniversary of Germany's Love Parade crush has just passed.

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