14 Fall Festival Safety Tips From Big Thunder Events
The smell of apple cider, the crunch of fallen leaves, and the snap of cool, crisp air signals it’s that time of year for fall festivals. Churches, schools, farms, and other organizations use these festivals to promote their organizations, provide family friendly activities, and get everyone in the mood for autumn.
Big Thunder Events wants to make sure you, your family, staff, and your neighbors are all safe during the upcoming festival season. Keep these safety tips in mind for a successful event.
1. Write your phone number on your child’s wrist band before going in to the festival
Kids get lost and the last thing you want is wasted minutes getting them back to you. Some parents even write in permanent marker and cover it with liquid bandaid. You could also put your number in their pocket. Staff should be made aware of these possibilities in case a child is too upset to communicate.
2. Follow instructions on inflatables
When everyone follows the rules, inflatables are safe and enjoyable for all. Don’t allow your children to run into a bounce house without supervision. Don’t think you can stop watching them while they are inside. Read and understand all of the instructions first before allowing your child to participate. Big Thunder Events, one of Middle Tennessee’s largest party rental companies, has this video for safety advice: Fall Festival Safety Video
3. Bring hand sanitizer
Many festivals have outdoor port-a-potties as the only option. Then there are petting zoos that can be dangerous for bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. Just being in close contact with so many people increases the risk for illnesses to pass from one person to another. Keep hand sanitizer nearby for quick clean ups and to keep from spreading germs.
4. Have Wet Wipes and tissues handy
In addition to sanitizer in lieu of good old soap and water when you need it, keep Wet Wipes and tissues on hand for other clean ups. Being outside with cut hay, rolling through pumpkin patches, and running in corn mazes can do a number on seasonal types of allergies. You may want to consider having some Benadryl handy as well.
5. Check food vendors for permits and inspections
Yes, festival food vendors have to follow the same food safety standards as restaurants. They still need to have a hot water source for handwashing and all of the surfaces must be clean. Refrigerators need to be working, and they should be monitoring things like cooking temperatures and holding temperatures. If you’re looking for something to eat and a tent or truck doesn’t look up to par, (no handwashing, cross contamination), pass it by and look for better options. Staff should instruct vendors to display their certificates to make it easy for attendees to make decisions and pay attention to any food code violations. One of the major causes of illnesses for festival-goers is an ill food service worker who contaminates their product.
6. Avoid tripping hazards
With all of the excitement, you might spend more time looking around than looking down to see where you are walking. Same for your kids, of course. Keep an eye out for sandbags that hold down tents and signage, pumpkins, cords, potted plants, and other hazards. Point out difficult-to-navigate areas to event staff so they can fix the problem or provide signage to keep people extra aware. Staff should make safe walking areas a priority throughout the event.
7. Watch for power lines and generators
So many vendors require power to provide many of their services. This means there are bound to be electrical cords running throughout the site. Ideally, they are covered or hidden under and behind tents, temporary walls, or other non-accessible areas. For bounce houses, event organizers should keep generators and cords behind bounce houses and out of traffic. If not, pay close attention to where you and your children are standing at all times and point out potential dangers to staff.
8. Be alert for dangerous allergy issues
Some allergy concerns can mean a life-threatening situation. The wide variety of food options is also concerning for parents of children with dangerous food allergies. The biggest allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Then there are those who are allergic to bees. Even if you don’t have food or bee allergies in your family, do your best to help others. Pay attention that no food sharing occurs with other children and all attendees and staff should watch out for symptoms of allergic reactions such as wheezing, trouble breathing, or hives.
If you do have these types of allergies in your group, take note of where the medical tent is and keep two Epi-pens on hand. Make sure they stay cool with a proper container in order to remain effective. Choose factory-packaged treats with clearly labeled ingredients to avoid an accidental allergen ingestion.
9. Set up a family rendez-vous point
Even adults get lost! With corn mazes, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and a lot of people and traffic, it can be easy to get turned around. It’s also easy to lose track of time. Have a set location that is easy to see from the entire area for these instances.
10. Take a photo of your children with your phone before entering
It’s not something you ever want to think about, but knowing what your child is wearing that day, how their hair is styled, and which sneakers they picked out can be extra helpful to event staff or law enforcement if they are missing. Every detail you can describe or show may be critical.
11. Prepare for limited phone use
High traffic areas these days means high cell phone usage. While some festivals may be in rural areas with lower signals, even in city areas, phone data can be affected due to high use. Plan ahead with written directions, your family rendezvous point, cash on hand, and phone numbers you don’t know off the top of your head.
Even though it is fall, the negative and painful effects of the sun still apply. Wear sunscreen and make sure your children apply sunscreen at the beginning of the day. Through sweating, possibly getting wet, and being active, you may need to re-apply throughout the day.
13. Drink water
Though sodas are everywhere, water is the best for staying hydrated. Even if you enjoy a milkshake, lemonade, or sweet tea, try to get in some plain water as well. Everyone will be extra busy and may not realize they are thirsty in all of the excitement. Heat problems can still occur in some warmer areas, even when we long for fall temperatures. Staff should especially take heed if they are working in the sun for long periods, like with parking detail.
14. Take a photo of the event agenda with your phone
Festivals don’t always have flyers available of all of the activities. Sometimes families or groups separate in order to participate in different events. Take a photo of the agenda to help you keep track of who is where and when. For staff, having the photo can help you remember where you to need to be for all-hands-on-deck activities. Be sure to keep a back-up battery on hand for your phone, just in case yours loses its juice. You’ll likely be using it a lot to capture pictures which can eat up a lot of power.