Emergencies, Changes, Cancellations, Closures
This page was last updated on Feb. 17, 2020.
No matter how much you may prepare, emergencies to and from, or at a dance may occur. Weather conditions, road construction, problems with your vehicle on the way to and from a dance, will make your life miserable. At a dance, a dancer can fall ill by overdoing it. At the hotel where you're staying, a fire or other incident may occur, requiring evacuation, sheltering in place, or rapid moving to safe shelter, such as during severe weather season with Tornado Warnings.
Also, there may be changes or cancellations that may occur at the last minute. So, it's always a good idea to CALL BEFORE YOU TRAVEL, to save driving stress, wear and tear on your car...never mind the waste of gasoline!! So, it's a good idea to be aware of yourself, your vehicle, your surroundings, and the area weather. And, sadly, some clubs may have shut down or disbanded.
Square Dance Emergencies
The ONLY time one should leave a square during a dance is if you start to feel dizzy, or otherwise ill. Don't walk out of a square, even if the other dancers are not as proficient as you think they should be...we were all beginners at one time.
Note that the dances/festivals are NOT marathons...to see how long you can dance before you literally drop!! You have to have time to take restroom breaks (nature tends to call at the most inopportune time), to eat, to relax, to fellowship, and of course, to sleep. The secrets are to PACE YOURSELF, and KNOW YOUR LIMITS. If you begin to feel light headed, dizzy, etc., tell the other dancers in your square...and go off to the side to sit down and get your bearings together. In most cases, a substitute dancer can take your spot, and the square can continue dancing, while you take care of yourself.
Some people can dance for several hours without a break...others can only dance as little as one tip...only you can know how far you can go before you need a break. Believe me, if you PRESS YOUR LUCK, you're asking for TROUBLE...and you could end up in the hospital...or worse, it could kill you!! Sadly, I've been at, or heard of events (lessons and actual dances), where a dancer or a caller had a heart attack...and tragically, some literally ''died with their boots on''.
It's a good idea to take along a windbreaker, in case the hall is chilly when you first get there...or if you choose to sit out for a time. You most likely will warm up after dancing a tip or two...but pace yourself by the temperature in the hall. It's also a good idea to stay hydrated, as you will perspire with the moving around. Dehydration can ''rock your world in a bad way''. Remember that ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ARE PROHIBITED...both BEFORE and DURING a square dance. Plus, these will dehydrate you very rapidly!! The best thing to drink if you're thirsty is bottled water. If you start feeling chilled or too warm, chances are your body is telling you that it's time for a rest...although you might joke that ''the calling made you ill'' (grin!).
One other item to note at a dance...if there is a spill on the floor, clean it up as soon as possible. Dancers can slip and fall without warning if they encounter these ''slick spots'', and be badly injured as a result. I personally have had several experiences where the floor was made ''slick as ice'', because of powder being put on the floor by dancers, to help them with their ''dancing footwork''...and I nearly fell as a result!! The shoes that I wear...and this may apply to other dancers as well...do NOT do well on floors with powder on them...or other slippery surfaces. This is especially true on concrete or tile floors. So, you might want to watch for, and avoid these areas...to avoid unnecessary injury to yourself, or to your fellow dancers.
Emergency Call For Medical Aid
If you, or another dancer falls ill during a square dance, and cannot get off of the dance floor, the following steps can help summon aid quicker, and reduce the risk of further serious injury. If you suddenly feel nauseated, etc., get out of the square and to a restroom as fast as possible (I have had that happen to me). Your fellow dancers will understand...we've all been in that unpleasant situation at one time or another. Besides, as noted above, you could joke that ''the calling made you ill'' (GRIN!).
1) When a dancer goes down, one other dancer in the square will attend to the injured dancer.
2) The other dancers will back up in a circle, to give the injured and attending dancer room and air.
3) The remaining dancers will lift their hands into an arch, known as the E)mergency C)all For M)edical A)id (ECMA) formation.
4) Upon seeing this, the caller or hall monitor will place an Emergency Call For Medical Aid; summoning paramedics, etc. If this does not occur, a dancer should run to the stage to alert the caller, or those in charge, so the proper authorities can be summoned as quickly as possible.
Although we don't like to think of it, everyone needs to be prepared to deal with an emergency situation, should one develop.
Surviving A Hotel Fire
When you check into your hotel/motel at a square dance festival, or at the National Square Dance Convention, you should follow these rules to better improve your chances of survival, should there be a FIRE at your hotel during your stay. It is advised to NOT smoke in bed. Fires started by smokers in bed spread quickly, due to the flammable nature of the mattresses, etc...and you can lose your life this way!!
Also, with hotels that have NON-SMOKING ROOMS, if you smoke in them, you will have to pay a hefty fine!! Also, for those like myself who do NOT smoke, having to be an a room that was designed for smokers, is very difficult to endure, physically...in that you feel like you're suffocating!!
1) When you check into your room, find out EXACTLY where the FIRE EXITS are located.
2) In case of a fire, the elevators will likely NOT be operational...and you will have to use the stairs to get to a place of safety. If you are disabled or mobility impaired, you should strongly consider a room on the ground floor of your hotel, if at all possible.
3) Know where your room key is at ALL TIMES. You may have to return to your room if the halls are filled with smoke.
4) At the first hint of the smell of smoke, call the Fire Department. Tell them your hotel and room number, then call the Front Desk.
5) Feel the doorknob. If it is HOT, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!! If it isn't, peek outside. If it is not too smoky, go to the fire exit. Keep a wet towel over your face. If it gets too smoky, turn around, and go all the way up to the roof. Firefighters will rescue you there.
6) If you are forced to stay in your room, DO NOT break the window. You will need to close it if there is smoke outside.
7) Fill the bathtub with water. Wet the towels and sheets, and shove them around the door. Block all air vents with wet towels and sheets. If the walls are hot, use the ice bucket to throw as much water on the wall as you can.
8) Above all, keep fighting. Don't quit. The longer you stay conscious, the better your chances for survival.
Preventing Summer Heat Problems
This information comes from the ''Healthy Steps'' program.
Knowing what to do in the summer heat, with days of temperatures are in the 90s, or above 100 degrees, is IMPORTANT. Prolonged exposure to excessive heat causes symptoms that become progressively worse, unless you get out of the heat, and do what is necessary to take care of yourself.
Some dance events are held outdoors, and on pavement...which can become rather hot in the summer. In some cases, shoes have literally begun melting, burning the dancers feet!! The best defense is Prevention. So, with that in mind, here are some precautions that you can take:
1) Wear light weight, loose fitting, light colored clothing.
2) Apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating of at least 15 to exposed portions of the body.
3) Limit exposure during the hottest hours (10am to 6pm).
4) If possible, avoid strenuous work or exercise outside.
5) Take advantage of shade, and/or wear a wide-brimmed hat. Temperatures in direct sunlight can be as much as 30 degrees hotter than in the shade!!
6) Stay in air conditioned areas, or use fans to speed sweat evaporation. If you notice that you have stopped sweating, you may be suffering heat stroke, which is A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, as it can be fatal!! Seek medical attention immediately, and/or call 9-1-1.
7) Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. Start hydrating early by drinking 1-2 cups of water in the morning. Drink even when you're not thirsty, and keep a water bottle with you all day. Drink 1-2 cups of fluid 30 minutes after exercise, and drink 1/2 to 1 cup of fluid for every 15 minutes of exercise.
Changes And Cancellations
Unfortunately, last minute changes to scheduled dances do sometimes occur. That's why no matter whether you dance to a local club, or travel a good distance to a dance, it is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED that you contact the person listed BEFORE TRAVELING to a dance. Clubs sometimes CHANGE their location, or CANCEL their dance that day, for various reasons (weather, etc.), hall conflicts/issues, holidays, or for other clubs Special Dances.
It can be VERY FRUSTRATING after driving a long distance to find that a club is ''dark'' (not dancing)...especially with the price of gasoline nowadays!! It's better to be safe than sorry, by calling ahead before you travel. This is especially true when severe weather (thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding), or winter weather (snow, ice, etc.) affects an area. For Arkansas weather information, click here.
Besides the club contact, you can also check the I Drive Arkansas website. For weather related road conditions, please call either (501) 569-2374 (in the Little Rock Metro Area), or Toll Free at (800) 245-1672.
Note that clubs that are normally scheduled to dance on various holidays...such as Easter Weekend, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, or New Years Day, may be CANCELLED. The exception would be for clubs that have a New Years Eve Evening Special Dance, as they have in central Arkansas in years past.
The Dance Location for the Diamond Squares has being CHANGED to Mount Carmel Clubhouse 4, at 540 Ponce De Leon Drive, in Hot Springs Village, AR, effective Feb. 6, 2020. Please Contact Gordon and Sue White at (501) 922-0803, for more information.
The Dance Location for the Skokos Promenaders has CHANGED to the Fort Smith Senior Center, 2700 Cavanaugh Road, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Please contact Jay King at (479) 474-8500, for more information.
The Dance Location for the Village A Team is CHANGING. Please contact Fran Bazemore at (501) 922-1287, for more information, and to verify that they're dancing.
The Dance Location for the Star Steppers is CHANGING. Please contact Kathy Tankersly at (870) 718-0571, for more information, and to verify that they're dancing.
The Bluebird Squares will be DARK (not dancing) on May 16, 2020, due to a non-square dance event at their dance site. Please contact Carolyn Birdsong at (501) 813-7239 for more information.
The Pioneers will be DARK (not dancing) on May 25, 2020 for the Memorial Day Holiday...and on September 7, 2020 for the Labor Day Holiday. Please contact Roy Hestand, Jr., at (870) 329-1141 for more information.
The Ozark Promenaders will be DARK (not dancing) on October 8, 2020, to support the ASSDF Fall Festival...on October 15, 2020 to support the Heber Springers Special Dance...on November 26, 2020 for the Thanksgiving Day Holiday...and on December 24, 2020 for the Christmas Holiday. Please contact Roy Hestand, Jr., at (870) 329-1141 for more information.
Note that various clubs may be DARK (not dancing) for the Christmas, New Years, and other holidays during the year...as well as for the yearly ASSDF Fall Festival in October. Please check with the various clubs and contacts, for more information.
Arkansas can have episodes of severe weather, including tornadoes, large hail, damaging winds, and flash flooding...on occur any day of the year, at any time of the day or night. Plus, there is a risk of snow or ice during the winter months.
Please check with the various club contacts before traveling to a dance, to be sure that you don't ''waste a trip''. It's not worth risking your life due to hazardous weather, and road conditions...especially if there are areas of significant storm damage, flooding, or snow/ice along your travel route.