The fall season is a popular time to host various outdoor events, such as a fall festival. Your church may focus its activities 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.
Because these activities often draw a large number of people, it is important to inspect your grounds and facilities before the time of your festival, looking particularly for slip-and-fall dangers and other potential hazards. To help with these concerns, we’re sharing the following:
Guidelines for your church to Enjoy a Safe Fall Festival.
- Secure all cords (power, speakers, microphones, etc.).
- Keep cords away from walkways.
- Cover cords them with cord protectors or have them held down and marked with visibly colored tape.
- If large, outdoor tents are used, ensure the stakes and ropes are visibly marked and protected.
- Tents should be erected by a professional company and inspected by a qualified individual before use.
- Fill or visibly mark depressions and holes in grassy areas. Consider planning activities away from any such hazards.
- Check that any temporary (folding) tables and chairs set up are sturdy and free from defects.
- Maintain sufficiently wide aisles to accommodate pedestrian traffic.
- Identify and warn of the trip and fall hazards from the tent stakes, using orange safety cones.
- Have a volunteer direct traffic to guide traffic flow and also have a designated walking area away from the traffic for children moving around the parking lot.
- Building security – If you are holding the event at your facility, decide if you’ll open the building or keep it locked during the event. Will participants have access to the restrooms, the entire building or nothing at all? If you open your building to attendees, have a volunteer monitor traffic to and from the building.
- First aid – Have a volunteer on-site who is trained to administer care should an accident occur. Keep a first-aid kit handy, too.
- Food safety – One in 13 children has a food allergy, so this must be addressed as you plan your event. Will you allow homemade items to be passed out, or only store-bought, pre-packaged items that don’t contain nuts or other allergens? Will you sell food and/or beverages during your event?
- Monitor weather reports and make alternative plans in case the weather appears threatening
Inflatables / Bouncy Houses
- Rent an inflatable from a reputable, insured business.
- Require 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.
- Require adult supervision at all times.
- Training for supervisors (if not using trained rental company supervisors) should be provided by the rental company. Training should cover all operating and safety procedures, both verbally and in writing, including age, weight and occupancy limits.,
- All equipment should be provided with a label stating the proper age and weight of users.
- In addition, only participants of compatible ages and sizes should play in the unit at the same time.
- The maximum number of participants of each group that should play in the unit at one time should conform to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- If outdoors, monitor weather forecasts closely. Do not operate if wet conditions (rain) are present or if threatening weather is approaching.
- Click for More Tips on Bouncy Houses