Six Flags Great America not ready for emergencies

Posted Sunday, August 5, 2001 3:09 AM | Contributed by BMCOASTER

In the suit against Six Flags Great America for an injury last year that left a rider without a toe on the Cajun Cliffhanger, ride operators offer damaging testimony that indicates the ride ops are not trained for handling emergencies.

Read more from The Daily Herald.

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Sunday, August 5, 2001 7:35 AM
Well, i don't know for sure on how the ride op. got hired.
Sunday, August 5, 2001 8:49 AM
Shouldn't "they," SFGAm park managers train ride ops for an emergencies?

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Sunday, August 5, 2001 9:01 AM
This might not be good for business.
Sunday, August 5, 2001 9:27 AM
If anyone saw it on the news it was worse. The whole time they showed the American Eagle as if that was where the accident was. Plus, this happened last summer, the news allways has to find a way to bring back things. Like a few months ago when they brought up the Demon being stuck upside down. That was three years ago.

When I was at the park the other day, a woman fainted and fell on the ground right outside of shockwave, and before I could run to go see what happenned, paramamedics were there treating her. So I don't see what the problem is, maybe the news didn't have anything to say, so they brought back that incedent.
Sunday, August 5, 2001 10:47 AM
Obviously, anyone employed in any job at a park or anywhere else should have basic training as to what to do in an emergency. Also, any operation as large as an amusement park should have a trained emergency response organization. This doesn't have to be full time responders who just sit around waiting for an emergency. They just have to be trained and ready to leave whatever else they are doing and immediately respond to an emergency.

Also ride ops should speak English, and in some areas of the country, there may need to be at least some ride ops who speak Spanish for best safety. I have noticed that at most parks the few non-US operators assigned to rides are quite fluent in English. *** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 8/5/2001. ***
Sunday, August 5, 2001 12:51 PM
That is just crazy! I can't believe that a public place that has thousands of people visiting it everyday does NOT have any sort of emergency response team.
That has got to be one of the craziest things I have ever heard!
I wonder how many other parks have NO safety or emergency response team? Doesn't OSHA have rules for that sort of stuff? I mean it is a work place just like any other place people go to work everyday.
Sunday, August 5, 2001 1:19 PM
This summer I've been hearing many foreign accents from the ride ops at many of the parks I've been to, in particular Hershey Park. I would bet most of these people speak english almost as well as their native tongue.

Batwing-Bow Down
Sunday, August 5, 2001 6:11 PM
I quote from the article:

"One of the men with Lindberg was forced to climb atop the Cajun Cliffhanger and jump into it to reach Konstantaras because no employees summoned to the scene knew the location of the ride's door."

This article was written by an incredibly biased person. Rather than not knowing where the door is, which sounds pretty simple, the ride op never got the opportunity to line up the inside and outside doors (the inners cylindar rotates while the outer cylindar shell is permanent. So even had somebody known where the door was, there is no way you could get through the doors if they aren't lined up.

Also, all the ride ops must be able to give instructions before the ride starts (ie: Welcome to Cajun Cliffhanger! For your own safety keep your feet flat against the floor at all times... etc.)

I would guess that the workers from the other countries work primarily in the food service areas, rather than on the rides. (I do know that there have been communication problems at the shops, but I've never had problems on the rides.)

Monday, August 6, 2001 4:47 AM
Uhm, this is Six Flags. Six Flags is not willing to pay employees well enough to attract the most competant batch. They struggle to find enough staff to operate the park every year because of the low salaries. While chains such as Cedar Fair and Busch seem to attract college aged employees, most of the Six Flags staff are younger, less experienced, and less motivated. Now despite this, there are many good employees working for Six Flags who take their job seriously, but there are also many who don't.
Monday, August 6, 2001 5:15 AM
I worked the Rotor (same ride) at Geauga Lake years ago. While the focus is on what should or should not have happened after the accident...the focus should be on why did it happen in the first place?

No only were these employees not properly trained in emergency situations, they apparently weren't trained to correctly operate the ride. The floor should be raised back up to just beneath the lowest riders feet. Although you have centripical force keeping you against the wall, there is still some "sliding" that takes place.

JoNo is right. When the ride stopped the cylinder was obviously not lined up correctly thus resulting in the doors in the inner and outter shell no being able to be opened. Kudos to the guy who jumped in. That is a pretty good fall.
Monday, August 6, 2001 6:04 AM
All theme parks seem to bring in help from oversea's to staff their park. SFGAM has been doing it for years (7 years or so). Most of the employee's that work at the park speak great english, but ever so often you have a few that have no idea what is going on.

The one's that can't speak English shouldn't be allowed to work in the ride's department. They should be working in foods or something.

Monday, August 6, 2001 8:21 AM
I worked there for only a month during fright fest, and, no we did not get trained as an EMT, if that's what the media was looking for. I hardly think that medical school, dental school, law school, as well as training on Jaws of Life, firefighting, and how to use tear gas is appropriate, or warranted for a theme park ride operator. The training was well done, and safety was stressed at all levels, from the interview for the job to the training. Yes, there is ALWAYS room for improvement (In everything, not just ride safety training), but I do believe that the ride ops there are competent for handeling minor incidents. How could you train for every situation? They are endless. Are there people there who don't take their job seriously? I'm sure. But they are few and far between.

My .02...
Monday, August 6, 2001 11:53 AM
Have any of you ever been operating a ride and someone gets hurt I have. All you are told to do in training is to call In the emergency and then wait for god only knows how long for and EMT or mecanic or someone of the sort to show up. Luckly I am an EMT and I just work at the park to put my self throu Paramedic School so I knew what to do anyone that is not traind to handel an emergency no matter what language thay speek kor how well thay speek it thay are not going to know what to do. The training needs to be more in depth I am not saying it should go as far as du8die is saying that is too far I agree but there is more that thay can do. When I was in training I asked what we were to do if our ride had to be eacuated what were we supposed to do and the Manager that was training me said It was going to be coverd at the individual ride training and never was so lets hope thatnever has to happen or we will be seeing more of Six Flags new Toy in the North West on th news.
Monday, August 6, 2001 3:48 PM
Eeeeeeesh! What is happening to my park!!!!!!!!! Every month something negative arises. I'm beginning to lose all faith in good 'ol GA.
Thanks for riding Tidal Wave and enjoy your day here at Mariott's Great America!!
Monday, August 6, 2001 9:52 PM
Joe, you want to say somthing here? Especially to the butt-nugget who thinks SF employees are substandard?
Getting closer daily to puling the plug...
Tuesday, August 7, 2001 5:17 AM
Does CP include First Aid Training in their ride certification program? This will never happen at a major theme park. The turnover ratio is to great and it isn't worth the time and money.

Tuesday, August 7, 2001 5:58 AM
If Red Cross certification for CPR and First Aid isn't performed, I can understand why given the time and money required, but then again it is required of life guards, so why not extend that program to ride operations?

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Tuesday, August 7, 2001 6:47 AM
I don't think that all employees need to be thoroughly trained in emergency procedures but, some basic training would help. I really think ALL parks should have some sort of a medical department to deal with all injuries. Waiting for the local ambulance is ok but, the parks need to have someone who can tend to the injured people quickly on the scene.
I just assumed all parks had some type of emergency medical department!
*** This post was edited by jgfama on 8/7/2001. ***
Tuesday, August 7, 2001 4:18 PM
Obviously, not all employees are going to be trained as EMT's, in First Aid, or even in CPR. However, every employee should know exactly what he is expected to do in an emergency situation, and what he should not do. There should also be a core group who is more extensively trained and are prepared to respond quickly to fill the gap until help from outside the park arrives. I would think that these people would usually come from the year around employees.

For example in the industrial setting that I work in:
Everyone is trained to know where to go and what to do in an emergency.
Everyone is trained how to operate a fire extinguisher.
The fire brigade is trained on fire hoses and more advanced fire fighting techniques.
A response team is trained in rescue techniques.
Certain individuals are trained in advanced control of fire and hazardous materials. (These people assisted in the recent Baltimore railroad tunnel fire.)

I find it difficult to believe that the "veteran safety supervisor" testified that there are no written emergency procedures in the park as the article indicates. That's almost like saying, "I haven't been doing my job." I wonder if the newspaper article is completely accurate on this. Could he have actually said that there are no written procedures for extracting a traped foot on a rotor ride?

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