Steamboat council develops new safety plan for events |

Steamboat council develops new safety plan for events

Steamboat Springs residents attend the free summer concert featuring Michael Franti and Spearhead on July 18, 2008 at Howelsen Hill.
File photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Identifying a need for more consistency in how event planners prepare in the event of a medical emergency, Steamboat Springs City Council developed a new set of requirements and suggestions for event planners.

The new “Special Events Medical Plan Matrix” primarily applies to events with more than 500 people. However, when smaller groups submit applications, council members agreed they should still include an event safety plan.

In terms of communications, first aid, ambulances and on-site Automated External Defibrillators — AEDs — there should be consistency in what is provided and how that is provided, Winnie DelliQuadri, assistant to the city manager, advised council.

The changes also seek to clarify that it is the event producers who are responsible for arranging the provision of on-site first aid and whatever else the size and scope of their event may entail.

DelliQuadri said the city is looking to purchase some signs to loan out to event producers, so the community gains familiarity with where to quickly locate assistance at an event.

The new guidelines suggest events under 500 people have a communications plan, first aid station with a CPR-trained individual, 9-1-1 access and an AED and requires it for events with more than 500 people.

The new requirements would have impacted 24 events in 2019 in the 501-to 2,500-person range. There were a total of 35 events in 2019 with more than 500 people, and of those, only four submitted materials that would be considered part of an event safety plan. Because data wasn’t collected, it isn’t known how many of those events provided things like first aid stations and an on-site ambulance.

Council member Sonja Macys mentioned the city is working with community partners to purchase about a dozen AEDs that would stay in public facilities. She said this effort is “related to some recent tragedies in the community.”

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue would take responsibility for maintaining the devices, as well as offering training classes for event producers.

For events larger than 2,500 people, the requirements also include on-site basic life support, which mandates meeting a specific level of training and set of protocols, with a suggestion of on-site advanced life support, which involves extended protocols and personnel.

On-site advanced life support would be required for events larger than 5,000 people, with the suggested addition of an on-site standby ambulance, mobile medical teams and multiple aid stations.

Nine events fall into the over-5,000 category: Winter Carnival, WinterWonderGrass, Steamboat Gravel Race, Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, Steamboat Marathon, Art in the Park, Free Summer Concerts, Fourth of July Fireworks and Laser Show, Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament and the Halloween Stroll.

Council members agreed each event needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis — an athletic event may look a bit different than an art event, for example. And because each event is so different, council believes individual assessments and discussions with event planners would be part of ensuring an adequate safety plan.

Interim Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli said he helped to create the new matrix based on best practices from other places, as well as Federal Emergency Management Agency guidance, while tailoring it to Steamboat’s unique venues.

Also as a safety measure, council plans to issue a “blackout” on special events on the Fourth of July and during the Fourth of July weekend, with the exception of the free concert on July 2.  

The city also will be enforcing a $500 fee for late applications, in order to give the city sufficient time to review applications.

Council members agreed to try out the new matrix for a year.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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