Wednesday, November 10, 2010

High Wind Gusts can create Natural Hazards that can Kill or Injure


High wind gusts knock over hydraulic lift and kill a student taping a college football practice.
A 20 yr old college student (Declan Sullivan) who was videotaping a Notre Dame football practice was killed when high winds knocked over the hydraulic scissor lift he was standing upon. The lift was used as a platform to provide an overhead vantage point to film the practice. According to sources, the directions that came with the lift warned against its use during high winds. The wind gusts caused towels and a Gatorade cooler to fly into the air as well as the netting on the goal post to bend. Sullivan even tweeted that it was "terrifying" during the 51 mph wind gusts before he was killed. Sullivan died en route to the hospital in South Bend Indiana.

Strong winds knock over a 10 foot high brick wall at a school killing a construction worker.
In July 2010, a storm in the small town of Edgerton, Ohio destroyed a small town and damaged homes. In August 2010, a construction worker was killed at a northwest Ohio school construction site when a brick wall fell on him following some strong winds that blew through the area. It was undetermined if the previous storm weakened the wall or if it was strong winds that day caused it to collapse.

  • Unless we receive a dangerous weather warning, we typically don't pay much heed to bad weather. It is important for all school personnel to develop an ALL HAZARD MINDSET to identify what CAN or MIGHT cause injury, damage, or death to people in our school community. While not being paranoid, it is important to THINK and PLAN WORST CASE SCENARIO when it comes to school preparedness. 
    • Hope for the best, PLAN for the Worst, and you will be READY for anything in between.
  • Following the storm in Ohio, was their a structural safety assessment conducted at the school / construction site to identify hazards? 
    • The RECOVERY PHASE of an incident (June storm) can often get overlooked, but the inability to recover from an incident can create conditions for another hazardous incident.
  • The GIFT of FEAR: Imagine if Declan Sullivan listened to his inner voice that caused him to tweet he was terrified and he got down from the hydraulic lift instead of tweeting his concern. Often times we can only lessen the hazards (seen and unseen) by degrees, but that might make all of the difference. In the preparedness business, it is often said, "you make your luck" .


john lauffer said...

almost every school I visit has one of these lifts, since he tweeted about it he must have felt the danger, where was the supervision here? Although he was over the age of 18 there really should have been a responsible adult up there with him.

Bob Killackey said...

John my most recent blog post on "Risk Management & the Injured Cheerleader lawsuit" talks to the assumption of proper supervision and hazard awareness which typically isn't present and many school leader's are unaware until tragedy strikes, people are injured, and the lawsuits fly.