Indiana State Fair Commission Outlines Emergency Plan

The 425-page document is based on recommendations of Witt Associates in the aftermath of the stage equipment collapse during a storm in August 2011 that killed seven people.

The Indiana State Fair Commission has released its Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, a 425-page document based on the recommendations of Witt Associates in the aftermath of the stage equipment collapse during a storm in August 2011 that killed seven people.

Witt Associates investigated and concluded it was unclear who had the authority to cancel a scheduled concert the night of Aug. 13, 2011, because of severe weather.

The commission released the document June 14 with a PowerPoint presentation calling it "our best effort, hardest worked and most researched document the ISFC has ever produced, in its 156 year history. We believe it is one of the most comprehensive public safety plans in the country today."

"This document is in a final draft as of today, June 14th, 2012 -– however it is a living document," it said. "When the ISFC sees the need for changes, revisions or improvements, we will make the necessary adjustments to the plan and reflect said changes in our operation immediately. This CEMP is for the betterment of not only the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the state of Indiana, but public assembly facilities throughout the country."

The plan designates the Indiana State Police as the primary law enforcement entity during the Indiana State Fair with primary jurisdictional responsibility year-round on the fairgrounds. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is the first responding agency for law enforcement situations during periods when the state fair is not taking place. The Indianapolis Fire Department and Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services are the primary fire and EMS agencies supporting the fairgrounds during State Fair and non-fair activities.

The plan says possible emergencies that may be encountered at the fairgrounds and are covered by this plan include severe weather, lost people, hazardous spills, civil unrest, structural collapse, animals at large, earthquake, active shooter/hostage situations, bomb threats, suspicious objects, foodborne illnesses, power outages, elevator malfunctions, and amusement ride malfunctions.

For the 2012 Indiana State Fair, taking place Aug. 3-19, the commission will use two new products to communicate with employees, vendors, contractors, exhibitors, sponsors, etc.:

  • Blackboard Connect™: IFSC will have the ability to send SMS messages or e-mails during times of emergency or disasters, using cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
  • Guest Assist™: Guests can communicate directly with the commission during the Indiana State Fair via SMS message; signs will be posted stating "Need help? Text FAIR to 87457." That message is sent to a database where an IFSC employee is on the other end, and the employee will ask what the guest needs.

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