Abstract

The purpose of this study is to present an analysis of the effectiveness of the checkpoint and safe haven system developed by the NPS, which was put to the test during the 2007 event. The open park space used for festival activities, combined with a severe lightening storm that occurred, created a life threatening situation that mandated complete evacuation of the National Mall. Therefore, as part of a larger study, researchers were able to provide detailed documentation regarding how well NPS facilities and services met the crisis challenge that emerged at the 2007 National Independence Day Celebration. Overall, the study found that the NPS evacuation plan worked effectively. The designated shelters utilized existing facilities near the festival area. These safe havens were accessible and comfortable. Further, the emergency headquarters area was well organized and included representatives from key organizations. Despite the overall success of the risk management plan, weaknesses were detected. Communication after the initial evacuation was extremely poor. While most visitors took the waiting period in stride, there were a number who exhibited frustration due to a complete lack of weather updates as well as an unknown plan of action for the remaining event. A structured means of providing ongoing information with the public during an evacuation waiting period is essential so that visitors can make informed decisions regarding whether to stay or leave. Managers of outdoor festivals around the globe are subject to the precarious temperament of Mother Nature. Much can be learned from analyzing large-scale events, where both the points of success and the areas in need of improvement can be applied to festivals of any scope.

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Risk Management Realized: The Case of the National Mall and Memorial Parks 2007 Independence Day Celebration

The purpose of this study is to present an analysis of the effectiveness of the checkpoint and safe haven system developed by the NPS, which was put to the test during the 2007 event. The open park space used for festival activities, combined with a severe lightening storm that occurred, created a life threatening situation that mandated complete evacuation of the National Mall. Therefore, as part of a larger study, researchers were able to provide detailed documentation regarding how well NPS facilities and services met the crisis challenge that emerged at the 2007 National Independence Day Celebration. Overall, the study found that the NPS evacuation plan worked effectively. The designated shelters utilized existing facilities near the festival area. These safe havens were accessible and comfortable. Further, the emergency headquarters area was well organized and included representatives from key organizations. Despite the overall success of the risk management plan, weaknesses were detected. Communication after the initial evacuation was extremely poor. While most visitors took the waiting period in stride, there were a number who exhibited frustration due to a complete lack of weather updates as well as an unknown plan of action for the remaining event. A structured means of providing ongoing information with the public during an evacuation waiting period is essential so that visitors can make informed decisions regarding whether to stay or leave. Managers of outdoor festivals around the globe are subject to the precarious temperament of Mother Nature. Much can be learned from analyzing large-scale events, where both the points of success and the areas in need of improvement can be applied to festivals of any scope.