By now, everyone should know that the Florida State Fair is upon us. Whether your intent is to seek out a thrilling ride, a decadent treat or enjoy the many games and concerts, the fair is a great place to enjoy with family and friends. Unfortunately, just like most fun events, the fair is not without its dangers, and many people are unaware of the dangers specific to the fair as opposed to places like Disney World or Busch Gardens. In this post, we will point out two potential risks that you need to be aware of and how you can best protect yourself and your family. The two risks are speed of construction and limited security and lighting.
Speed of Construction :
There are over fifty various fairs, carnivals, circuses and festivals every year in Florida. Fair Construction A lot of these events are put together by the same crews, which means these crews are on a very tight schedule. The moment one event ends, they pack up, hit the road and begin construction as soon as they enter their next destination. While these men and women are no doubt seasoned professionals, human fatigue eventually affects us all. Maybe a bolt is not completely tightened, a wire not completely covered or some other detail left undone, but if this happens, serious injury can result.
Although you cannot plan for everything, one of the easiest ways you can protect yourself is to be alert. Some may read this last sentence with an eye rolling yawn of “tell us something we don’t know,” but I would say a lot of us do not realize how much we really do not pay attention in settings such as these. There is a good reason for it, as well. The vast majority of businesses do a good job of alerting us when danger is present. Certainly most of us do not scan the aisles of grocery or department stores looking for spills. We rely on businesses to setup their bright orange cones or yellow signs to warn us about any potential danger while we shop.
While fairs do their best to operate in a similar manner, the chaos and time constraints of setting up and operating a fair in such a short time table can very easily lead to dangers being overlooked. Because of this, we encourage everyone to just keep an eye out and trust their better judgment. Do not step on the wires, even if they are covered. Do not get on a ride, if it sounds like a wounded dinosaur. Do not solely rely on an overworked staff to warn you of any potential dangers.
Lack of Security and Lighting :
Just to be clear, we are not saying the fairgrounds is some lawless dark place or anything, but it is far more susceptible to dangers than your standard amusement park. One of the reasons for this, is that amusement parks can constantly adapt their security to prevent as many blind spots as possible. Granted, it does not mean they all do, but they have time, experience and a landscape that generally is not constantly changing to tweak their security. A fair that was built in such a short time basically has to rely on the plans of last year and the expertise of whoever is in charge of setting up security. While that is not necessarily a bad plan given their constraints, they really do not have the time to test their surveillance with real world conditions.
In addition to the security issue, lighting can be a huge problem both in and outside the fairgrounds. Usually, the main passageways are lit just fine, but it is not a great distance from the bright lights of the vendors to the dark spots behind them. Not to mention, a number of people willingly go back to these more deserted areas to make phone calls, take short cuts or just get away from the hustle-and-bustle of the fair for a moment. Now, outside of the fair, the parking lots are rarely lit to the appropriate specifications. And, on the really popular days, the lots fill up, people park father away, and this almost always means a darker journey to and from the automobile.
When you combine the lack of security with the lack of lighting, there is a great potential for danger. Sure, the risk of a criminal attack jumps out, but just as it pertains to the lighting, one could easily trip over something and wind up just as hurt. With the amount of tools and wires spread out all over the fairgrounds a soft landing is by no means assured. Fortunately, given the incredible amount of light giving technologies out there (smart phones, mini-flashlights, etc) it shouldn’t be too difficult to see where you are going. However, none of that matters if you are texting, posting or otherwise engaged in a distracting activity in an unsafe/dark lit place. So, perhaps the greatest protection you can give yourself out there is just to pick your moments for when you’re going to cut loose and live it up versus when you’re going to pay some attention and focus.
The fair is a unique experience both for the joys it brings and the risks it incurs. It is important to realize both and plan accordingly. We hope all of you will have a great time this year and be safe!