April 17, 2013
Lessons from the Super Bowl: Preparing for Power Outages
Katharine M. Nohr, J.D.
The world was witness to a 33 minute black out during the 2013 Super Bowl in the Superdome in New Orleans, which halted play and caught players, fans, and organizers by surprise. The television audience witnessed a successful handling of the power outage, which did not lead to crowd unruliness, injuries or chaos. It appeared that spectators and players patiently waited for the electricity to be restored so that the game could resume.
Event organizers should consider the possibility of power outages when planning events. Black outs can be caused by weather conditions, mechanical issues, or even downing of power lines from impacts by motor vehicles. Whatever the cause, plans should be put in place to address efforts to restore power, communicate with spectators and players, crowd control, emergency illumination, managing evacuation/exiting facilities, handling television and radio broadcasts, and addressing medical and other emergencies without power.