National safety seminars return to in-person format
AT: Pam Sherborne
GALVESTON, Texas, and ORLANDO — After a year with virtual events, both AIMS International and NAARSO are presenting their safety seminars live this month.
First up is the AIMS International Safety Seminar. Planners are expecting big things for the upcoming event set for Jan. 9-14 at the Galveston Island Convention Center.
AIMS Executive Director Mary Jane Brewer said there will be 325 hours of content presented at this year's event.
"That is bigger than we have ever had," Brewer said. "We will have between 100 and 110 instructors where we usually have between 75 and 80."
Brewer said in early December there were 385 people registered for the 2022 seminar.
"That is 50 more than at the same time two years ago in 2019," she said. "It looks like we are on track to set a record."
A new program will debut this year. Called the Academy of Amusement Risk Management, Safety and Security, with the acronym AARMSS, the new two-year program was created in response to a recognized need in the amusement industry for specific and in-depth safety education and certification.
“Risk management and loss control are key to the success of any business and the skills necessary for optimal performance should be fundamental in all mangers' growth for a specific industry,” Brewer said. "There is really nowhere else to get this education at this level of detail."
Brewer said AIMS board members had been looking to create a program like this for several years. They found that most of the current seminar content was geared toward technicians, operations and maintenance.
"We saw that there was this whole group of people working in safety, but not being reached by safety seminar content," Brewer said. "These are people that are risk managers, people who manage claims, people who deal in codes and regulations, people in security."
Based on the following foundational pillars: Safety, Security, Emergency Management and Risk Management, the AARMSS curriculum is specifically designed to educate and equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively manage an amusement industry safety, security, and risk management program.
AARMSS courses are unique to the Academy and cannot be found anywhere else in the AIMS International educational network nor at any other amusement industry educational seminar, Brewer said. The courses will be taught by subject matter experts from both within the industry as well as professionals from outside agencies, which specialize in the course topics.
Those wanting to participate in future Academy courses will need to go through a special selection process.
This new program doesn't affect the AIMS Safety Seminar Attendees, just adds to the offerings. Attendees will have a lot to choose from this year as they build their own schedule to best suit their needs and desired outcome. AIMS offers certifications levels in maintenance, operations, inspector and aquatics.
Following up on last year, Ellis and Associates will present the aquatics portion live in January. The company presented the aquatics portion during last year's virtual seminar.
"We also have partnered with International Ride Training for the first time to present the ride operations training," Brewer said. "We are working with the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) to help us with our carnival track. We are very excited about all three of these agencies coming together to enhance our content."
There also will be more than 20 hours of inspection and maintenance education delivered entirely in Spanish. Hugo Loyola will produce the Spanish track.
Loyola was awarded the 2021 AIMS International Safety Award.
Second up is the NAARSO 35th Annual Safety Seminar being presented in a hybrid format. The live seminar is set for Jan. 17-21 at the Doubletee, Orlando, Florida, with some additional educational offerings on Jan. 15 and 16. The hands-on portion of the live seminar will take place at SeaWorld Orlando.
NAARSO also has put together a virtual alternative for those individuals who may still not be traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic or for those who don't have the time during their off-season to attend. That virtual seminar runs Jan. 15-21, 2022, with access to classes until Feb. 28, 2022. The virtual seminar includes 40 hours of online instruction.
NAARSO, dedicated to industry safety, administers three industry certifications, the Inspector Certification, Operations Certification and Aquatic Certification. There are specific levels that can be achieved in each category.
Additional training offered on select days include Train the Trainer and Specialty Education.
Topic examples for classes during a NAARSO Annual Safety Seminar include basic generators, wire ropes inspections, hydraulic/pneumatics, basic inspection techniques, steel coaster inspections, miniature train inspections points, rigging inspections, dark rides and walk-through inspections, electrical and control systems troubleshooting, braking systems and non-destructive testing.
Others include FEC facility inspections, understanding accelerometer data, developing an inspection program, water slide and feature inspections, midway inspections, best practices for incident response and investigations, aerial adventure inspections, passenger restraints, rock wall and Euro bungies and responding to emergencies.