There was a lot of severe weather throughout the country in 2013. Severe weather can often pop up without much warning; leaving those outdoors at risk of death or injury. So what can you do to protect customers using your inflatable devices outdoors or playing at your Family Entertainment Park? A recent article in IAAPA’s Fun World magazine called: “Severe Weather Safety” by Mike Bederka suggests that preparation is the best line of defense for severe weather events such as high winds, thunderstorms & lightning. (If you are an IAAPA member you can read the full article here.)

The article suggests many helpful tips to keeping customers safe from severe weather. One suggestion is having an employee responsible for keeping track of severe weather warnings and radar in the area and possibly even talking with local meteorologists about whether the FEC center should be closed down until the severe weather threat is over. In regards to inflatable devices, possible wind speeds should of course be taken into consideration. We have all seen news stories of bounce houses thrown through the air with children inside…these all could have been completely avoidable if weather forecasts & current weather conditions were monitored. Inflatables should not be used in winds exceeding 25mph and they of course need to be properly secured.

Another suggestion is to have a place to shelter people in case an unexpected storm pops up. Businesses should have a written safety plan in place and a specific shelter area in mind in the event that customers need to be evacuated. Operators should also be trained to shut down rides and deflate inflatables when severe weather or dark clouds appear.

The national weather service also has a helpful pamphlet that you can download here: www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/toolkits/large_venue8-12.doc#sthash.B6Z5ZGEk.dpuf This pamphlet outlines many of the suggestions talked about in the IAAPA article in more detail. It is important to remember that although closing down your business temporarily may lead to a short-term loss in revenue, customers will respect your concern for their safety which will increase their trust in you and your revenue in the long run.

Source

“Severe Weather Safety: Preparation helps to prevent guest and staff injuries” by Mike Bederka | Funworld Magazine | July 2013 | http://www.iaapa.org/news/funworld/funworld-magazine/weather-safety

This entry was posted in Family Fun Center, General Articles, Inflatables, Party Rental Equipment Articles and tagged Bounce House Insurance, Family Entertainment Parks, FEC, Inflatable Safety on July 29, 2013 by Larry.

Let’s face it; today’s generation of children is becoming more and more dependent on technology such as iPads, smartphones & computers. How can Family Entertainment Centers compete with this? It’s hard enough for parent’s to get kids off of the couch & out of the digital world; let alone into your FEC center. In fact, in a study by Common Sense Media they found that 38% of kids under the age of 2 use tablets or smartphones and children up to the age of 8 are using tablets 5 times more than they were two years ago.

In an article by IAAPA’s “Fun World Magazine” they discuss some good ways that an FEC can remain relevant in this turbulent time of technology. Here are some of the things that they suggested (and also a few suggestions of our own):

Create experiences at your FEC center that can’t be replicated at home. For example don’t just fill your Family Entertainment Center with Arcade video games…they can play those at home. Add basketball shoots, table hockey, laser tag anything to keep them challenged and having fun.
Host competitions/tournaments to get them competing with their peers in the real world instead of just on the video game screen.
Make sure your FEC is active on social media. Site’s such as Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to name a few are very popular with today’s youth and even older individuals as well.
Having a website is a must. Your website should showcase all of the unique experiences your Family Entertainment Center has to offer. If it doesn’t look worth their time on the website they are less likely to take time out of their busy schedules to come and visit your center.
Make “Family Days” with special promotions encouraging the entire family to come out to your FEC and spend some quality time together.
Resources:

Funworld Magazine. “The Singapore FEC Market”. http://www.iaapa.org/news/funworld/funworld-magazine/the-singapore-fec-market

The Cut. “Study: 40 percent of kids use iPads before they can speak”. http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/10/40-percent-kids-use-ipads-before-speaking.html

Larry Cossio has been insuring the entertainment industry for over 30 years.

Posted on February 24, 2014 Categories Family Fun Center

Like every other amusement device, there are certain precautions that need to be taken to insure that participants driving the Go-karts at your Family Fun Park or Go Kart Track are as safe as possible. Accidents involving go karts can be especially serious; some incidents involve skull fractures & other broken bones, internal injuries and in some cases even death. There are many resources out there that can help you run a safe go kart track. We found one resource on the IAAPA website that had some important safety tips regarding long hair (& some other safety reminders):

1) You should have a maintenance staff that checks each day for any malfunctions with the go karts, safety signs & the track. (If you do not have safety signs it would probably be a good idea to post some.)

2) Your staff should be properly trained in all safety procedures and should also be trained to look out for guests with long hair. This is important since long hair can get caught in the moving parts of the go kart. The IAAPA article talks about how in 2012 a teenage girl lost 80% of her scalp from her hair getting caught in a go kart axle.

3) Hair ties should be kept on hand and if someone has long hair they should be instructed that it needs to be secured with a hair tie to prevent injury.

Some other safety tips include:

4) Having your guests wear helmets & seat belts.

5) Making sure the age/size regulations of the go kart are followed.

6) Not allowing go-karts to be driven during bad weather.

You can read the full article here: http://www.iaapa.org/resources/by-park-type/fec/go-kart-safety

Also remember that you need to have your go kart track insured because safety procedures alone are not always enough. Learn more about our Go Kart Insurance.

Source

“Go-Kart Safety” by Mike Bederka | IAAPA Website | 2012 | http://www.iaapa.org/resources/by-park-type/fec/go-kart-safety

Larry Cossio has been insuring the entertainment industry for over 30 years.

Posted on September 16, 2013 Categories Family Fun Center

Usually the two most popular activities at a family fun center are miniature golf and go-karts. And amazingly enough, the most insurance claims are these two activities. So how can you work to keep your facility safe, keep the experience for your guests enjoyable and accident free?

Glad you asked! Having owned a family fun center with both of these activities I can speak from experience as an owner and an insurance agent. Good news travels slow, bad news about injuries travels fast, so let’s look at what you can do as an owner or manager to prevent these from happening.

Let’s address miniature golf first. Since you are dealing with all age groups from 4–5 yrs old to 95 yrs old or more you will need to make sure that the facility is safe. Little details are something that we as business owners are oblivious to and walk by many times each day. Use a fresh pair of eyes that does not work for you to review some of these issues:

Trip and fall issues, maybe a crack in the side walk, an uneven joint or seam in the concrete, maybe the posts that hold the rope boarding the walkways are not at the right height or the poles are loose in the ground. Make sure that the steps are clearly painted and no slip added where necessary.
Paint all wood and steel frequently to minimize splinters and deterioration.
Equipment checked before being released.
Have signage to direct customers and to remind them about safety.
Have your safety rules about safe play, no swinging the club above the waist, etc. in several places.
Most importantly, have an employee walking the property being visible to your customers to minimize the temptation for them to do something unsafe.

Now we can address the largest exposure to bodily injury for customers and employees which is the famous go-karts. Remember that most kids get their first experience driving behind the wheel of a go-kart. So how can you protect them from injuring themselves? An electric ignition cut off is mandatory to control the speed and action on a go-kart track.

The most important asset you have as an owner is quality trained employees so please do not just put young adult out there that is untrained to chase away your customers. Have a documented training program for each location in your facility, have them study it, take a test, sign off that they understood and passed the test. Have your employees cross train for different activities. Teach them what to look for in a customer that might be on track to cause trouble or injure themselves or others and how to handle the situations that they might encounter.

Another important factor is to have enough employees to cover the whole track. Use observation towers that allow the employees to see several different views and place them where there is usually the most commotion. One employee is assigned to the ignition cutoff box and never leaves his post. Have it where he can view the staging area and the course. Have your employees with walkie talkies so that they can communicate where there might be an issue or an unsafe driver or an emergency. We had two sided signs that the employees had that said “stop” on one side and “slow down” on the other. We had another sign that said “one more lap”.


It is so important to have someone on a microphone with an amplifier and speakers loud enough for giving the safety speech while they are in the go-karts so that everyone can hear it. Show them the signs and what they need to do if an employee holds one up. Tell them not to intentionally crash into someone on the track. Tell them to slow down coming back into the staging area and not to bump the car in front of them. Have an employee check each seat belt to be tight and fitted correctly. Keep them all sitting down with verbal reminders as they are usually worked up and want to turn and talk to the persons behind them. Have them keep their seat belts secured while they are waiting to leave the karts. Have them all exit out of the same side of the karts at the same time so you can manage them as a group. Most injuries happen during accidents where someone intentionally hits someone on the track and in the staging area. Ankles, toes, necks are injured here and should not be happening if correctly managed.

Have the signage clear on must have fully enclosed shoes, no flip flops or sandals and enforce it all the time. Have signage for height of kids and no long hair past the shoulders and enforce it. Have your safety rules posted where they are in line to wait for their turn and prior to entering the gate into the staging area. The rules are there for a reason! Be strict with your enforcement of the safety rules, the majority of your customers will appreciate it. Have a sign warning not to sit or stand on railings while waiting and have your employees enforcing it while by just turning around and being aware. A bonus system for the employees that work these areas with 90 days with no reported injuries is a great way to promote safety and awareness.

Now one of the biggest concerns with FEC owners is keeping payroll down. The worst thing that can happen is to cut back on your staff on high impact areas. What will happen is that there will not be enough staff to enforce your safety rules and an injury could occur. The worst thing that a family entertainment center could have happen is a customer to be injured on your facility. The bad press and the spreading of the report of an incident at your FEC will hurt you more financially from the word being spread that someone was hurt and you have customers not come to the facility because of it. Remember you have a deductible to pay which is usually $2500 per claim; it is much cheaper to have a few quality employees making sure that the customers are having a memorable experience at your facility.

It is much easier to keep a sharp maintenance program in effect, keep the correct amount of employees on staff, and minimize your exposure to injuries which will in turn help your customers to not put themselves in harm’s way, which will in turn provide a WOW experience at your facility that they will tell others about for years!

Larry Cossio is an insurance broker providing insurance for the entertainment industry for over 30 years and is a speaker on insurance issues nationwide. www.cossioinsurance.com You can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Larry Cossio has been insuring the entertainment industry for over 30 years. Posted on September 23, 2014 Categories Family Fun Center