PMO Blog: Incidents shine a light on stadium evacuations

By Nick Britten:

Stadium evacuations have been in the news recently, with a spotlight shone on the importance of being able to move thousands of people out of a stadium swiftly and securely.

A Portuguese League match was abandoned at half-time and spectators evacuated on to the pitch after cracks appeared in a stand, reported the BBC.

Cracks in the stand caused fans to be evacuated

Estoril were 1-0 up at home to Porto when away fans were ordered from one of the stands at the Antonio Coimbra da Mota Stadium.

According to broadcaster Sport TV one of the stand pillars had cracks of around 2cm. The second half of the match will be played at a later date.

In Glasgow, just before half-time, a fire alarm going off meant that all 7,000 spectators at the Scottish rugby clash between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh had to be evacuated out of the Scotstoun Stadium.

While it turned out to be a false alarm and plat later resumed, supporters voiced concerns about the way it was handled.

Confusion as supporters evacuated at Scotstoun

The Evening Times in Glasgow reported: “Fans were quick to comment on how the G4 staff working at the event handled the evacuation with one twitter user Kenneth McNaughton writing: ‘Thank goodness there was nothing serious going on during today’s evacuation. I have to question the lack of professionalism during the evacuation procedure. The G4S staff seemed uninterested and unaware of any procedures in place. No plan, no leadership no clue.’”

Another user Shaun Ward added: “Very orderly evacuation by all fans with very little information or direction.”

Meanwhile Derby County has written to 180 supporters warning that they might have to move seats amid concerns over emergency evacuation procedures.

The Derby Telegraph reported that those who required lifts up to the Toyota West Stand Upper – the highest stand in the stadium – might not be able to evacuate the stadium in less than eight minutes, which is the requirement for Derby to renew its safety certificate.

There were also concerns that by using the several flights of stairs, the supporters could hold others up.

“”Locating supporters who require lift passes in the upper seating therefore poses a potential risk to themselves and others,” the club said in a letter. Derby County has offered anyone affected half-price season tickets next season, along with the same deal for a friend or family member.

The club’s disabled supporters’ group has accepted the move and said while it was sad people, some of whom had been in the same seat since the stadium opened 20 years ago, had to be moved, it was better to recognise it now than when there was an emergency.