J42.1 Heat Exposure and Associated Health Effects in an Outdoor Stadium Venue

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 10:30 AM
Room 17B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Chris Fuhrmann, Mississippi State Univ., Mississippi State, MS; and A. Collins, M. E. Brown, B. Gutter, A. Raborn, M. Williams, and C. Worley

Outdoor stadiums are popular venues for sporting events, concerts, and other large gatherings. Most stadiums are either partially or completed surrounded by artificial structures, which are generally composed of concrete and steel, and include either plastic chairs, metal benches, or some combination for patron seating. The area surrounding a stadium can also include asphalt and concrete surfaces for parking and transportation. Most stadiums, including those used for college and professional sporting events, can accommodate tens of thousands of patrons and may be spread across as many as 30 acres. As such, stadium venues create an environment that is not unlike a small city, where artificial heat sources, restricted air flow, and absorption of solar radiation result in a “heat island” over the stadium. This heat island is likely exacerbated when the stadium is populated with patrons, which may pose a heat-related hazard. While the thermal environments of cities and other landscapes have been extensively documented, there is a surprisingly limited amount of research on the thermal characteristics of outdoor stadium venues. We deployed small sensors (iButtons) throughout Davis Wade Stadium, home of the Mississippi State University football team, during the 2016 season. A total of 52 iButtons were placed in the stands, concourses, and at field-level. Forty of these iButtons recorded temperature only. The other 12 iButtons recorded both temperature and relative humidity, which allowed us to calculate heat index values in the stadium. Data from all iButtons were collected every 10 minutes over a 3-month period from late August to late November. In this presentation, we will discuss several of the salient findings from our research, which include a climatology of the stadium and how it compares to conditions reported at a nearby weather station, comparisons of temperature and heat index values between game days and non-game days, and associations between stadium conditions and reports of heat-related illnesses and injuries obtained from first aid and EMS data. Time permitting, we will also present preliminary results from a human energy budget model used to estimate the thermal comfort of patrons inside the stadium.
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