Training practices fall under Department of Labour
Bible Hill's Kyle Olsen and his son Jordan enjoy the rides at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition. Kyle has been going to the midway since childhood and feels completely safe on the rides. Monique Chiasson - Truro Daily News
BIBLE HILL - Bill Murchison insists every ride at the exhibition is safe.
The ride foreman for Hinchey's Rides and Amusements
says despite some people's skepticism, exhibition rides are a safe form of entertainment.
Murchison, who was overseeing the Tornado on Thursday at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition in Bible Hill, told the Truro Daily News there is a ride crew of 50 people at the Bible Hill Ex.
"Each operator has hands-on training for a week or two, 12 hours a day," said Murchison, from Sydney.
"Four of them are certified and also look after the maintenance and inspection of the rides and our training falls under the Department of Labour."
Murchison said it takes anywhere from seven pieces and fencing (the Berry-go-round) to almost a 1,000 pieces (Tilt-a-whirl) to erect the rides and each ride is checked four times a day, including before the midway opens.
That doesn't mean things won't go wrong and sometimes rides have to be closed temporarily, said Murchison. The Zipper was closed for about half an hour on Thursday due to motor problems, however, it's not cause for alarm, said Murchison.
"It's just like a car. If it blew a wheel bearing you'd get it fixed," said Murchison, who also spent five years training to do maintenance on the rides.
Murchison said he's heard of accidents in other places, such as a seat that came loose on the Scrambler this month at the Western Nova Scotia Exhibition in Yarmouth. He urged people that is not the norm and insisted he personally hasn't witnessed any accidents with Hincheys rides in the 13 years he's worked for the company, which sends crews out 20 weeks of the year.
"Most injuries at exhibitions are related to patrons not listening ... like trying to jump off before a rides stops."
The foreman said backup plans are in place if the power goes off while people are on the rides.
"Some rides use hydraulics so they come down automatically if the power goes out. Others slow to a stop and if you are on top, we manually get you down," Murchison said.
Onslow's Paulette Sexton has avoided adult rides since she endured a scary situation as a 12-year-old on the Ferris wheel.
"I was scared of heights but went on the Ferris wheel and it got stuck. I was on the top for 45 minutes to an hour," said Sexton. "I was quite nervous and screaming to get off and I haven't gotten on the rides since then except to take my grandchildren on the kiddie rides."
Other thrill-seekers, like Bible Hill's Kyle Olsen, are excited to ride the midway whenever possible.
"I get on the rides as much as I can and there's nothing I won't get on. I know something could happen but it's not an everyday occurrence," said the 36-year-old who was in the Tilt-a-whirl lineup Thursday afternoon with his 11-year-old son Jordan.
"I feel safe on them and everything feels stable and I've been going on them since I was a child."