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I wanted to share some information from GuideOne's loss prevention site - www.safechurch.com.  Fall seems to be a very busy claim season for us mostly due to injuries received at some type of festival.  Here are some tips on how to keep everyone safe.

Sept. 24, 2014

Fall Festivals: Keeping Fun and Safety in Mind

The official start of the fall season was Sept. 23, which for many organizations is a popular time to host various outdoor events, such as a fall festival. These activities may be focused on ministering to children or reaching out to the local community. With many organizations beginning another service and education year in the fall, festivals are a great way to bring members together and celebrate. While these highly popular and well-attended events are great fun for members, families and the community, there are many risks associated with hosting such an occasion.

The first thing to consider before hosting a festival at your church is to inspect the grounds and facilities. Identifying, marking and repairing any potential hazards is crucial to preventing injuries and losses. It is recommended that your organization create an inspection checklist. In developing this checklist, be sure the following items are included:

  • Cords – Any power, speaker, microphones or any other electrical cords should be kept from walkways, covered with cord protectors, or held down and marked with visibly colored tape.

  • Tents – If tents are being used for an event, make sure stakes and ropes are visibly marked and protected. Additionally, a professional company should set up any tents and a qualified individual should inspect them before use.

  • Depressions and Holes – Fill or mark any depressions or holes in grassy areas. Planning activities away from these hazards will further decrease the risk of injury.

  • Tables and Chairs – Ensure temporary or folding chairs and tables are sturdy and free from defects.

  • Weather – Monitor weather reports and make alternative plans in case of threatening weather.

Maintaining Safety in Activities

A big element to any festival is the fun activities that are offered to all guests. Some of the more popular activities include inflatable rides, such as a moon bounce, slide and obstacle course. While these recreational items provide great entertainment for your guests, they also present risk to injury. Inflatable rides run the risk of becoming flying objects or collapsing. However, the most common accidents are caused by children colliding into each other. The most serious accidents are caused by equipment or operator failure. To help ensure the safety of all those who participate in festival activities, consider the following safety measures:

  • Rent from a reputable, insured business. Rrequire a certificate of general liability insurance, and have your church named as an additional insured on the rental company's insurance.

  • Installation and tear down should be completed by the rental company.

  • Adult supervision is required at all times and training for supervisors should be provided by the rental company.

  • All equipment should be provided with a label stating the proper age and weight of users.

  • Set up inflatables on soft, level surfaces, such as grass, and place a tarp on the ground to protect the bottom of the unit. Fall zones (exit/entrance) should be adequately padded.

  • Anchor structures according to manufacturer's recommendations.

  • Ensure inflatables are fully inflated, not sagging, and are free from visible tears, rips or holes.

  • Do not use if wind speeds will exceed the manufacturer's recommendations.

  • If outdoors, monitor weather forecasts closely.

Keep Your Fall Fun Free From Harm

There are many risks associated with hosting an event. However, with proper preparations and adequate safety precautions, your next fall festival will be a success! For more information and safety considerations on festivals, view the Festival Safety fact sheet on SafeChurch.


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