Quantifying Spectator Injuries, Safety Hazards


During most of the last 15 years, management of the Cleveland National Air Show has kept very close records of spectators that request first aid treatment. Those statistics paint an interesting portrait of the types and frequency of injuries and safety hazards that event organizers can expect to face.  

On average, Cleveland finds that one-quarter of one percent of all spectators request first aid assistance of some sort. In an average year at the Cleveland show, less than one-one hundredth of one percent of all attendees experience medical or first aid problems that require transport to a local hospital. So, as an example, with a crowd of 50,000, it has been Cleveland’s experience that approximately 125 people will pay a visit to one of the show’s first aid tents. And with the same crowd of 50,000, fewer than five will be transported to a local hospital. Although there is some variance from year to year, the averages have been remarkably consistent throughout the time that the Cleveland event organizers have tracked the information. 

Cleveland also tracks the principal symptom of each person that visits one of their first aid tents. The most frequent problems are headaches, minor cuts and sunburn. As you might expect, sunburn complaints increase on sunny weekends.

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.