Carnival ride safety at Sturgis Falls - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Carnival ride safety at Sturgis Falls

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(KWWL) -

Parents are expressing their concern over safety after a brief power outage at the Sturgis Falls Carnival on its opening day.

It happened last night, but operators say it didn't last long. They say they were able to get kids off the rides safely.

After Sturgis Falls is done, these rides will be taken down and assembled back together for the next event. So how do they make sure every nut and bolt is in the right place before your child gets on?

There are about fifteen rides at Sturgis Falls.

Todd Merriam who oversees the carnival operation says these rides are designed to be broken down and put together.

"Giant jigsaw puzzles with heavy pieces," said Merriam. 

In Iowa, carnival rides are only required to be inspected by the state once a year. Merriam says his operation goes one step further and inspects the rides daily.

"You look at the operations of the ride, how things are running," said Merriam. "The locks and levers for the seats. And the foundation of the ride, how you block it up, to stabilize it."

Another precaution they go over are evacuation policies. Plans they had to use Thursday when their generator went out because of clogged fuel filters causing all power to go off and shutting down all the rides.

"We were able to get everybody off safely," said Merriam. "We were fortunate enough to get the ones at the bottom right away, and then we were able to get the generator fired up to where it wasn't a big process."

It's moments like this, that could've easily turned into a nightmare for some parents.

Just last month, an 11-year-old girl in Omaha was on a carnival ride when it malfunctioned. Moments later she was violently thrown to the floor after her hair was caught in the ride. That's after the state said the ride was inspected just a month before.

Merriam says his operation looks at his own equipment and the children getting on the rides. 

"They buckle you in based on how tall you are, not how old you are," said Merriam. "It's very important that we get them locked in properly."

The division of labor says they have every right to inspect these rides at any given time, in addition to the required annual inspection.

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