'Pop quiz' helps to determine ride safety at fair

LADSON, S.C. (WCIV) - When Jonathan Brooks and his consulting group walks across the fairgrounds in Ladson, it's not about fun and games but, safety instead.

"We take it personally," said Brooks, president of Wagner Consulting Group and Amusement Ride Inspection Company. "We look at each ride like my children are going to get on it."

The Wagner Group has six people assigned to the fairgrounds. They go ride-to-ride ensuring each is approved for service.

"Once the ride gets assembled we'll start another assembly of checks on the passenger carrying devices, the safety restraints and doing all of our safety restraint checks," Brooks said. "Check all the electrical, all the mechanicals, all the safety pins, all the bolts, nuts and basically go from A to Z."

Ride operators, on the other hand, are trained by a second entity.

"The responsibility for the training falls back on the owner/operator of the amusement ride, which is Amusements of America. Our job here today is to ensure that training has been done," said Brooks.

Brooks and his crew give operators pop quizzes at random. The quiz is designed to ensure the operators are familiar with certain rules and procedures.

"What happens in case of an emergency? What happens if a kid stands up? Those type of things," Brooks said. "There should be a protocol set by the manufacturer, not the ride operator, not the ride owner but, by the manufacturer of that particular device.

If the operator's answer is not correct, Brooks says the ride will be shut down.

"We'll go back through and get the ride operator supervisor and we'll ensure they are re-trained and that training is documented and we'll get a trained person on that ride to try to take their place," said Brooks.

Fair officials will host an operator safety training meeting on Thursday before the fair is open to the public.{}

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