This year’s Allen USA was one for the books.
Three days prior to the event, Allen Parks and Recreation Department solicited Allen CERT’s help with running security for the Main Stage, tasked with verifying credentials for bands, VIPs, and city staff. This was in addition to running our usual booth on Partner Row which meant we needed to split resources between both locations and maintain presence throughout the event.
Around 5:00 pm, lightening flashes became visible to the east, causing event staff to start issuing recommendations to the crowd to consider moving to Curtis Middle School across the street. The storm to the east stayed out of our way but just before 6:00 pm, with new storms moving in from the north, the recommendation turned mandatory and the park was evacuated.
Allen CERT personnel took shelter in multiple vehicles in the west parking lot and monitored the weather while also communicating with Collin County ARES and staying in coordination with event staff. The evacuation lasted an hour and a half with the park reopening around 7:20 pm. While some event zones were shut down permanently, most areas of the event were back in business and the show went on as planned.
During the storm, we were approached by a distraught guest that needed help jumping their vehicle, as they were taking shelter in the parking lot. Allen CERT to the rescue – we quickly drove over and had them up and running within a few minutes. It turns out they were food vendors so, as a bonus, we each received a comped dinner after the park reopened.
The team showed pure professionalism before, during, and after the storms. Watching and deciphering radar, communicating between posts, taking quick and decisive action, and picking right up where we left off after the storms… Event staff was incredibly impressed with our behavior.
After the storms passed through, we were blessed with cooler temperatures and a beautiful sunset.
Allen Parks and Recreation Athletics Director David Bracey wrote his thanks to Allen CERT:
“I am amazed by your teams’ flexibility and awareness and grateful for the teamwork demonstrated that day with City of Allen staff to create a positive atmosphere for the event. This is especially emphasized by the weather related adjustments and the staff that additionally offered to stay later than assigned in order to verify any needed coverage.”
We can expect the City to engage us again next year, possibly with elevated involvement.
Pictures were taken and provided by Brendan Kilgore and Kelly Cunningham.