Astroworld: Task force looking into safety improvements

Southwest

(NewsNation Now) — After nine people died at a concert in Houston on Nov. 5, one member of a newly created task force is promising to correct any issues that led to the tragedy.

“I will be unapologetic, I will be very loud and I will be very direct,” Marty Lancton said on “NewsNation Prime.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced the formation of a task force to develop concert safety recommendations, which he said would “ensure that the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival never happens again.”

Lancton, leader of the Houston Professional Firefighters Association, is representing the Texas State Association of Firefighters on the committee, which will be headed up by Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony.

Experts say crowd surge deaths happen because people are packed into a space so tightly that they can’t get enough oxygen. It’s not usually because they’re being trampled.

Still, Lancton believes there were design flaws in the Astroworld concert safety plan. He said the people inside NRG Stadium that night planned to rely on cellphones to call 911, but reception is often poor in densely populated arenas. Lancton said radios are more reliable and should have been used. He was also critical that, according to him, Houston fire personnel were not in position to act immediately.

“If you had people on the inside that had some kind of command and control, you would be on the radio requesting resources,” Lancton said. “The minute you saw something happening (because) seconds count when it comes to lives.”

Live Nation did not immediately return a request for comment. They did put out a joint statement with the promoter group Scoremore and the Astroworld organizers pledging to “provide local authorities with everything they need from us in order to complete their investigation and get everyone the answers they are looking for.”

On “NewsNation Prime,” Lancton criticized the plans and promised safety will come first from now on.

“Firefighters and paramedics in Texas, their only job and their oath is to get to the citizens on their worst day when they’re hurt and injured and to provide the right resources at the right time,” Lancton said. “But the number one thing is communication. If you don’t have proper communication, there’s a breakdown in the system.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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