When Touchdowns Lead to Earthquakes
The subject of security at sports venues usually revolves around traditional violence-related concerns like terrorism, active shooter or possibly drunken and rowdy fans getting into brawls.
But when stadium security directors call upon Douglas Taylor, CEO of North Tonawanda, N.Y.-based Taylor Devices, they’re usually thinking about acts of nature like an earthquake or heavy windstorm – although it also can be an overly jubilant crowd, or even a terrorist attack – that can cause damage to stadiums’ structure.
The company provides a variety of hydraulic shock absorber solutions to minimize vibration damage from such events.
It’s probably intuitive how those types of events could cause structural damage, but what about overly jubilant fans? They seem to have fight songs, which seem to be in cadence, in tune with the primary frequency of the stadium, Taylor explains. That feels good to the crowd – they can feel the stadium move. In Seattle, the company measured 1.1 [Richter scale] earthquakes from the crowd when star running back Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown. That doesn’t cause damage right away, but it adds up.
Perhaps the most interesting and challenging stadiums for Taylor’s company to service are those with retractable roofs. They’re in multiple sections, so if the roof’s closed the sections can move into one another and a section can unhinge, he says. You need dampers between the sections on the roof.