AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT)– As the Alabama heat continues to pose a threat, especially for football season, Auburn University is making strides to make sure it’s keeping Tiger fans cool and safe.
With the university’s first game just a week away, students are working ahead of time to help fans beat the heat in the stands, partnering with public safety on campus for a new heat sensor project in Jordan Hare Stadium.
PHD student researcher Brandon Ryan said they are placing heat sensors that measure temperature and humidity throughout the stadium to determine hot spots where people could be at greatest risk for heat injury or illness.
This is so they can be most effective with assistance to fans and visitors.
“You get to have a real impact on the community about a school I care a lot about and hopefully, once we get all this data processed, again, there’ll be some real implications and a real kind of change that we can make,” said Ryan. “That’s always the most exciting part about science is we go through all this data, but when we can make real change. It’s great.”
Auburn’s Director of Emergency Management, Floyd Johnson, said the project results will allow them to appropriately allocate resources like medical staff and cooling stations.
“We have a saying in emergency management that if it can be predicted, it can be prevented,” said Johnson. “So that’s really what this is all about. It’s about taking a proactive measure, putting things in place that give us the data and the information we need to make smart decisions with our planning.”
Season ticket holder Garret LeVan told CBS 42 he knows all too well how difficult it can be to make it through games when the Alabama heat is at its peak.
“It’s definitely nice to have some trained people there to help out and make sure that I get good medical attention (if) I needed to get hydrated or things like that,” said LeVan. “So, it’s definitely a good peace of mind to know that there’s going to be people there just making sure everyone stays safe and has a good time.”
Johnson gave CBS 42 a behind the scenes look at how the sensors work.
“This is a wet bulb temperature sensor, and this actually provides us a lot of really useful information in particular,” said Johnson. “It has heat sensors, so it gives us the live temperature on the field. It gives us the humidity percentage on the field, wind speed, all those different things that kind of factor into what the actual ‘feels-like temperature’ is.”
The data collected with the sensors helps researchers understand what people face while on the field and in the stands.
During Auburn game days, there will be multiple cooling stations equipped with fans and misters spread out, along with jugs of water available to people to help keep fans hydrated.