The role of the announcer is to tell people what they need to know, however sometimes we need to give them emergency advice in an instant, that we may not know. Don’t leave yourself in a situation of uncertainty and do an emergency scan of the facility in the event something happens. When we announce
The role of the announcer is to tell people what they need to know, however sometimes we need to give them emergency advice in an instant, that we may not know. Don’t leave yourself in a situation of uncertainty and do an emergency scan of the facility in the event something happens.
When we announce NCAA tournament games, the NCAA provides provisional emergency announcements for various situations. Being familiar with these ahead of time can save lives and keep others from injury.
In the picture above, you see the various emergency situations the NCAA prepares for. These are generic announcements, the one to pay close attention to is PA#3 Inclement Weather Emergency. Even though these games are indoors, you still want to have this. There have been instances in which a game being played indoors has been delayed, postponed, or canceled due to weather conditions outside.
Though this is a generic announcement, working with organizers, you can learn the evacuation and emergency procedures of your facility. In the event of evacuation in Salem, the emergency exits are on the main concourse, which is where fans can be directed. There are also exits at the main entrance of the arena. Teams and their personnel can also exit through the emergency exits on the concourse.
This is raw video from inside Georgia Dome when a tornado hit outside during an SEC Quarterfinal basketball game. During the video, you can hear the P. A. announcer calmly updating fans and reminding them to remain on standby for further instructions.
When arriving at a facility, do a scan for the nearest exits to direct fans to. Then where to direct fans in case that exit is blocked. If you have exterior gathering places such as a concourse or lobby, note those exits as well. You may never have to make the announcement, but if you do, keep it short and concise so fans will remember. Be authoritative without being bossy and take control of the situation until emergency services personnel take over. In some cases, they may continue to relay information to you while they are tending to the emergency.
In the event of an emergency remind fans of the following:
- WALK, do not run to the nearest exit
- Please assist those who may need assistance first
- Remain calm and exit to a safe location (either inside or outside, this could also be to remain in their seats)
- Updates from the situation can be found (via social media, online, through announcements, from safety personnel)
- Thank you for your cooperation (this is no time to forget your manners)
As the P. A. announcer, you should always:
- Remain calm
- Only give information fans NEED to know
- Never speculate about the situation
- Be clear and concise with instructions, don’t get wordy
- Don’t create additional problems
Emergencies are never planned, they happen when least expected, but being prepared for an emergency will pay off. Hopefully, you’re not put in a situation like this, but you will now be prepared in case you are.
This piece is inspired by Alison Parker and Adam Ward, a television reporter and photographer respectively for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, who were killed while covering a story at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia on August 26, 2015. On a personal note, I watched Alison for her short time on WDBJ while down in Roanoke for ODAC basketball, NCAA basketball and NCAA softball. The morning shows are one of the few things I always get to see. Bridgewater Plaza is on Smith Mountain Lake, and with family in the area, I have taken my family there many times. We’ve listened to music, played mini golf, climbed the rock wall, and bounced on the trampoline. We’ve eaten ice cream at the ice cream parlor and my daughter’s favorite necklace came from a shop mere feet from where the tragedy happened. If this post can remind just one person to be vigilant in an emergency situation and save lives, it’s worth it. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of Alison and Adam.