The fourth of July fireworks display in Boston is nationally televised each year, and is known for never ceasing to impress viewers. Paired with performances by the Boston Pops Orchestra and world renowned singers, it is an elaborate event. However, this most recent affair had lightning strikes and evacuation orders thrown in, just for good measure.
With an oncoming threat of bad weather – lightning and heavy rain – some revelers were forced to vacate their viewing spot to seek shelter from the storm. City officials had thousands temporarily migrate from the Esplanade to underneath a bridge located on the nearby Storrow Drive.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said that the evacuation, while unplanned, was executed in a calm and productive manner.
"Last night was a good test of our system," Davis said in a news conference. "It was a way to show that, in fact, the system works, and if something very serious would have happened there, we could safely move large numbers of people out of the danger area. So we’re very happy."
Individuals in the Hatch Shell area, including the Boston Pops orchestra members, were evacuated around 9:30 p.m., as well as thousands of spectators situated on the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. The fireworks still went off around 10:35 p.m., as planned, even though a short downpour occurred right at the onset.
While the main viewing area did not suffer any injuries, two individuals were struck by lightning while watching fireworks in South Boston, about three miles behind where the display was launched, but are expected to recover.
In situations such as this, it is extremely important for towns and communities to have a proper continuity of operations plan in place, to keep residents safe and give them the chance to move to an appropriate area. Pairing with a third party consulting firm can assist in creating the best options available for every business, organization or community.