The Nashville Sounds now join the Nashville Predators and the Tennessee Titans as Nashville sports teams designated as “Storm Ready” by the National Weather Service.
“What that means is that they have done just about everything that they can, as far as planning for a high impact weather event, as far as a hazardous weather plan to keep people safe who attend any event at First Tennessee Park,” explained Krissy Hurley, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
Becoming “Storm Ready” doesn’t happen overnight.
“During construction, we worked with the fire marshal’s office, we consulted with Metro PD, all the big authorities, as far as where the best places to go are. Even the architects told us, ‘Here are your fire codes, here’s where your capacities are, here’s where you can get people if you need to get them,'” Doug Scopel, the Sounds’ Vice President of Operations said.
Scopel explained step-by-step how the process works when the stadium is threatened by severe weather.
“We have an emergency team on staff. It’s about six of us. We’ll get together when we know something’s happening and make a quick decision. And if the result of that is that we need to get people in safe areas, the first thing we do is put up this alert on the scoreboard, and we also do a public address announcement throughout the entire ballpark that basically says the same thing, of, ‘Hey, follow fan hosts, follow security. We’re going to get you somewhere where you’re safe.'”
Scopel told News 2 there are plenty of safe areas in the facility.
“We have eight different restrooms on the concourse, and we also have three stairwells, and that’s the primary spots. We have some other things. The main thing is, just like you learned in school, you want to get out of the elements, under some sort of cover. The ballpark’s built out of heavy-duty concrete, so from that perspective, we’re pretty well protected. But we try to get them inside if at all possible.”
There are also different plans for different weather phenomena.
Lightning requires getting out of the stands and under the concourse. Tornadoes, on the other hand, require a different strategy.
“Tornadoes, again, that’s when we absolutely have to have them in a restroom, have them in a stairwell, get them downstairs on the lowest level, if we can, depending on how many people we are dealing with. That’s the most important place to be,” explained Scopel.
Fans said they are happy to know that there is a plan in place.
Sounds fan Michael Keen said, “It makes me feel a lot safer. We get some bad storms here now and again. It’s nice to know that we don’t have to worry about that.”
“Feels great knowing that they have the safety of the guests in place,” added Jhonette Rose.
Sounds fan Ronnie Snyder also said, “Weather around here is very unpredictable, and when you have this many people in a setting like this, it’s great that they have a plan in place like that to make sure that everybody’s safe.”
The Nashville Predators and the Tennessee Titans are also deemed “Storm Ready” by the National Weather Service.