If you are thinking of going to the 2018 North Carolina State Fair you will, quite literally, be one in a million. Over one million guests are expected to line up at the fairgrounds during those 10 days. Many will get their fix of deep fried Oreos before getting tossed and turned upside down by one of the thrilling attractions the NC State Fair offers.
While this may be a family tradition for many, one mishap could quickly turn tragic.
How Safe Are You at the NC State Fair?
Though rare, injuries on carnival rides do occur, and the North Carolina State Fair has not been immune to mishaps.
- In 2017, a 2-year-old boy was injured after falling off a ride due to user error, as reported by ABC11.
- In 2013, five fairgoers were hospitalized after falling approximately 30 feet from “The Vortex” due to ride malfunctioning.
- In 1998, three riders suffered injuries after a roller coaster’s cars collided.
NC State Fair employees, too, must deal with the uncertainty of the carnival rides they operate.
- In 2013, a worker was taken to the ICU after a ride he was disassembling fell on top of him, as reported byWRAL.
- In 2009, a similar incident occurred with an employee attempting to break down the “Flying Bobs” ride, according to ABC11.
- In 2004, a worker was struck and injured by a steel beam.
- In 2002, a ride attendant was killed after being struck by the ride and thrown from his platform.
How to Have Fun & Try to Be Safe
A 2010 ABC report attributes the 7,000 annual emergency room visits due to carnival ride injuries in America primarily to three reasons: equipment malfunctions, varying inspection regulations, and user error.
The federal government oversees only the manufacturing of these rides – set-up and maintenance is left to state regulation. North Carolina requires semi-annual unannounced inspections of stationary rides, as well as inspections of mobile rides at the time of set-up.
As a preventative measure, fairgoers should strictly obey the safety guidelines provided by fair attendants. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) provides further recommendations when riding carnival rides:
- Don’t try to cheat the system: follow the rider age, height, weight and health restrictions.
- Keep all body parts inside the ride’s vehicle at all times.
- Secure any loose items (wallets, change, sunglasses, cell phones, hats, etc.) before getting on the ride.
- Use the safety equipment as it is intended to be used – don’t try to loosen or remove restraints even if they’re uncomfortable.
- Never force anyone to ride attractions they’re hesitant or weary of.
- Report any behavior or conditions you believe to be unsafe to authorities immediately.
- Talk to your children to make sure they understand the importance of following these rules.
These attractions are meant to create an amusing, thrilling, and overall positive experience. The safety measures are incredibly important in order to maintain this light-hearted atmosphere, rather than turning it into a scene of fear and tragedy.
Thank Your NC State Fair Ride Attendants
Behind the scenes of the fun and games are employees who strive to ensure your NC State Fair experience is as safe and enjoyable as possible. When you think of jobs that put their employees’ lives on the line, a carnival ride attendant may not come to mind. However, if they lose control of their rides, they are potentially placed in a very dangerous situation.
Just as passengers cannot predict a ride malfunction, operators may not necessarily know if or when their machine will malfunction. Because of the close contact employees maintain with their rides, they face the same uncertain dangers riders do. They have a lot of responsibility to try to keep you safe. Thank them for helping to keep you safe and for an enjoyable experience.