TN Fire Marshal Offers “Festival Advice”

With summer festival season quickly approaching and the kick off of Tennessee’s major outdoor festivals such as Bonnaroo and Riverbend the State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds music fans to always incorporate safety into their plans for summer music.

“Local officials, including those from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, take care to carefully inspect outdoor festival venues for safety every year,” said State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “While codes and regulations protect the public, concertgoers can also do their part to help ensure a fun and safe experience by incorporating a few basic safety precautions into their plans.”

The State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner would like the public to consider these important tips to stay safe and healthy while enjoying your favorite musicians.

Summer Music Festival Safety Tips

1. Do Your Research & Follow the Rules:

  • Check out the festival’s website to get an understanding of the location/layout.
  • Familiarize yourself with the locations of medical and safety tents.
  • Know what items you can and cannot bring into the venue.
  • If portable grills and/or generators are allowed, use them with care:
  1. Place your grill well away from anything that can catch fire. Do not leave an active grill unattended.
  2. Do not add lighter fluid to an already lit fire as the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.
  3. Pay attention to the location of exits in tents and crowd barriers. If there is a panic, head for these locations first.
  4. Don’t utilize sky lanterns or fireworks. They can easily start a fire on dry grass or debris.
  5. Dispose of hot coals properly. Douse them with plenty of water, and stir to ensure the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
  6. Never utilize grills or generators in enclosed areas as deadly levels of carbon monoxide can build up quickly and linger for hours.
  7. If camping in an RV, ensure it has a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Park only in designated areas. Be sure to leave fire lanes clear for emergency vehicles.

2. Avoid Dehydration & Exercise Care with Alcohol:

  • Drink plenty of water. Summer temperatures in Tennessee can be relentless. It is crucial to stay hydrated.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of free water stations if they are available.
  • Try to avoid intense outdoor activity during the hottest time of day (10am – 2pm). Plan your schedule to incorporate rest periods.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored layers for sun protection and ventilation.
  • Don’t forget to apply and reapply sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses.
  • Monitor your alcohol intake carefully. Do not use alcohol as a substitute for water.
  • Don’t take drinks, drugs or food from strangers.
  • Do not leave your food or drinks unattended.

3. Utilize the Buddy System & Set a Meeting Place:

  • Designate a “buddy” – someone you can trust to watch out for you and vice versa.
  • Have a communication plan. Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency.
  • Identify a place to meet friends in case you get split up or an emergency occurs.
  • Report any suspicious persons to a member of security at the event or to the Camp Site Assistance Team.

4. Supervise & Secure Your Belongings:

  • Avoid bringing jewelry and valuables to music concerts and festivals.
  • Keep cash, wallets, and credit cards out of back pockets where they can easily be taken.
  • Don’t leave valuables in the car or tent.
  • Identify items you want to have on hand (medications, snacks, water, hand sanitizer, tissues, etc.) Check with the festival’s organizers to see if backpacks are permitted to be carried into the venue and/or if storage lockers are available.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from crowds and sharp objects.
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