At the University of Georgia, college students are taking a new class that is centered on the safety of bounce houses. Professor John Knox, a atmospheric scientist is teaching students about weather related accidents with bounce houses using science. The point of the class is to teach students how to do science research, while at the same time showing them how they can use science to influence safety policies in real life. They are also learning about the different bounce house regulations in different states and are hoping that their research can help to create more strict bounce house regulations in states such as Georgia where there are no specific bounce house safety regulations. At the end of the course students will write safety proposals defining what they believe to be the safest operating conditions for inflatables. They will be co-authors on a research paper that is going to be printed in a scientific journal.
Even if your state does not have safety regulations on bounce house rentals, always be sure that you are using all the safety measures properly. Do not allow the bouncers to be used in high wind, make sure stakes are properly installed, have trained operators, follow manufacturer guidelines on the number & size of kids using the unit, and if you are dropping off a rental be sure that the customer is aware of all the safety rules of operating the inflatable device. It is great that these students are learning about science, while at the same time trying to make policies that will make bounce houses safer for everyone.
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.
In June 2013 three children were injured when an inflatable device collapsed on them while they were jumping inside. Why did the bounce house collapse? The generator running the bounce house blower ran out of gas. This could have been easily avoided by checking the gas in the generator before it was dropped off at the party.
Do you have a safety check list that you run through every day? If not, first of all you need to make one. If you already have one, great! Make sure that you add “check generator gas” to your bounce house safety checklist if you use a generator to power your bounce house blowers.
Party Equipment Rentals Presentation at the Orlando Air Show in January of 2013. This presentation focuses on claims in the industry as well as the types of insurance you need for your Party Rental business to be properly covered.
Larry has some invaluable information on how to protect your indoor inflatable business and make sure that you have the proper insurance in order to be fully covered. Check out Part 1 of Larry’s Indoor Inflatable Centers presentation at the Orlando Air Show in January of 2013 below. You can view Part 2 here
As an equipment rental operator you have several exposures to consider and we will make this the short version of Insurance 101. I have listed the 11 most important insurance coverage’s you should have:
General liability is a must for operators as this will provide defense coverage in case you are sued for your negligence or your employee’s negligence. I am told frequently that they have the person sign the rental agreement or the waiver and they think that they are protected. Unfortunately we are in a country that allows anyone to sue for anything and attorneys that would take the case and pursue it. Defense costs are much more than the cost of the insurance! Continue reading “Amusement Rental Insurance – What coverage is needed?”