There has been 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.
“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