Staying Safe: Carnival Ride Inspection

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Maryville, Blount County (WVLT) - We’re just days away from fair season here in East Tennessee and already carnivals are underway.

The question: are you safe when you and your family visit?

Volunteer TV’s Mike McCarthy investigates what inspections are done to give you and your kids a safe time on your favorite ride.

Clean-up time at the Foothills Plaza in Maryville, prep work for a safe time.

"We've haven't had any bad incidents as far as the public goes on any of the rides,” says Paradise Amusements owner Michael Parks.

The parking lot's home to Paradise Amusements Carnival for the next week.

"We started out in Florida, then go through Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky for most of the summer,” Parks says.

For some carnival goers, the big wheel raises big safety concerns.

A responsibility that falls on the city.

"First we do a solvency check, which means liability insurance, that they cover their employees and they have workers compensation,” says Pam Arnett from the City of Maryville.

And tack on a $500 application fee, plus a thousand dollar bond, "that helps us know that this is a business and a viable business,” Arnett explains.

There's no state regulation for rides. All it requires is an operation permit.

So that means, "We'll have the fire departments check some things, then electrical checks of the wires of any equipment and power,” Arnett says.

Each bolt and strap, checked daily.

Even when you and your family aren't on rides like the carousel, there are other safety measures in place to keep carnivals in check.

"During the event everyday we have a police officer presence there. We require at least one officer on the site,” Arnett says.

Their entrance fee, paid for by the carnivals.

Not to mention, "we do background checks on all the employees,” Arnett says.

Parks says his 20-plus years says it all. "A kid may fall, and scrape his leg. A kid may try to run off the ride too quickly, just stuff like that."

A trend he hopes keeps up.

The only time the state steps in to inspect carnivals is after a ride accident happens.

If you see anything at a carnival that concerns you, tell an on-site police officer.


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