If you’re the type to enjoy an adrenaline rush, theme parks are the perfect place for your fix with minimal risks involved. While the thrill is present, knowing that rides go through meticulous security testing gives us confidence that we will be kept safe.
Strict controls are necessary to make sure theme parks are safe, but when we think of accidents in these settings, the first thing that comes to mind is a faulty ride. But that’s not always the case, and in fact, all areas in these crowded spaces need checking and maintaining to ensure adequate security.
Thankfully incidents are rare. But when they do happen, they often make big headlines, even if nobody gets hurt. Accidents can happen due to poor safety measures or lack of fencing; trespassers have been known to climb over fencing to enter ride tunnels or retrieve lost belongings, and one child was badly injured after falling from an elevated queuing area due to poorly maintained, rotting fencing.
So what are the most important considerations to make a theme park safe?
Where is fencing needed?
Around ride operation areas
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued guidance on preventing access to any setting where the public or staff alike may come into contact with the moving parts of devices that could be dangerous.
This is considered a major risk, and the establishment’s risk assessment needs to identify appropriate control measures such as barriers, railings, fencing, and guarding.
The official guide states that a suitable barrier is often the most effective way of preventing access to these dangerous areas. If a barrier surrounds an edge from which someone could fall and injure themselves, the barrier needs to comply with relevant standards. It needs to be designed so that you can’t fall through, or get trapped in it, and it also has to discourage any attempts to climb its structure, for example by using vertical rails.
It’s quite a lot to take into account, but it doesn’t end there. While you don’t want to concern people, if dangers are present, they should be made clear. Create a sense of danger, and most people will refrain from taking unnecessary risks.
You can make fencing appear intimidating by using additional security toppings. Our 358 Securi-Mesh is an excellent visual deterrent for situations like this, and it also provides high visibility to help with quick identification of any malfunctions with machinery within. If you judge it appropriate to soften the appearance of the fencing, it can be camouflaged with foliage to make it less obvious.
Outside of visiting hours, theme parks face many threats. Among these are vandalism, theft, and trespassing by thrill-seekers into urban exploring, or ‘urbex’ for short. Rollercoasters in particular become enticing when left unsupervised, tempting adrenaline junkies to use them as huge climbing frames.
An important part of the venue’s image, perimeters also create first impressions and welcome visitors. A theme park fence in disrepair is not going to instil confidence in a visitor about to board a rollercoaster. More likely, it will raise questions about the upkeep and safety of the rides instead.
As with any security measures, investing in good quality fencing will cost less over time, freeing up budget to focus on the essential maintenance of rides.
Children’s play areas
Within the hustle and bustle of an amusement park, fencing will keep children safe in play areas and allow parents to keep an eye on them from a distance. But make sure your fencing is anti-trap and that all fixings are safe, with no nails sticking out or able to come loose.
Good anti-trap fencing is designed so that the vertical bars are at a safe distance from each other, preventing children from getting their heads or limbs stuck. Look for fencing that has been approved by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), for peace of mind that all aspects of the design have been fully thought through.
To keep your queues orderly, waist-height fencing is the ideal choice. It should have some built-in flexibility (for letting people through when queues are very short) but be secure as this will deter visitors from queue-jumping. We recommend Post and Rail, Pedestrian Guard Rail or Sentry for this, as they are effective barriers that also allow for good visibility, and have non-intimidating designs.
Demarcation and landscaping
Theme parks can be stressful places; for parents with small children, or for those reluctant companions dragged along with their ride-loving friends. Greenery helps provide places of relaxation, but wherever there’s a green spot with no fence, it’s as good as an invitation to sit down. Knee-rail fencing along grass verges and flowerbeds keeps them clear and neat.
Other common considerations for theme park fencing
Log flumes remain ever popular, and with them comes water spray. To ensure your fencing’s longevity, opt for a marine coating for steel railings. If your fencing is timber, just make sure it has been treated to protect it from rot.
Aesthetics is important to give your park a welcoming atmosphere, making sure visitors feel eager to return. Well thought-out and attractive fencing will naturally improve the overall visitor experience. The colour of your fencing can be used to help establish your overall park theme, or to demarcate different zones, types of rides, or even age restrictions. Different colours can easily be achieved by powder-coating your fences.
Noise reduction for theme parks
Consider your neighbours, too. Whether the park is near an urban area or further away from residential buildings, you may want to confine it within acoustic fencing to reduce noise escaping. Although this won’t totally eliminate the shrieks and yelps, it will greatly reduce the decibels.
And finally, for those summer heatwaves and event days, have a plan for overflow queuing. Whether you use it for ticket booths or extending ride queues, temporary fencing will come in very handy during extra busy periods.
To find out more and get personalised advice on fencing, other security measures, and maintenance for theme park security, contact us today.
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