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Standards Are Along for the Ride at Theme Parks this Summer

As Americans welcome the unofficial start of the summer this Memorial Day weekend, many will pile into the car and head for the nearest theme park. From water slides to bumper cars, the attractions at these parks are both fun and safe thanks to standards.

Those seeking a relief from the heat this weekend would be wise to visit a water park, where waterfalls, wave pools, and log flumes await. Many attractions found at these venues are guided by an American National Standard developed by the International Aquatic Foundation (IAF). ANSI/IAF-9 2005, American National Standard for Aquatic Recreation Facilities, provides recommended minimum guidelines for the design, equipment operation, and installation of water parks. Pools addressed in this document include wave action pools, leisure rivers, vortex pools, and more.

A lazy river may be ideal for some, but others prefer the more thrilling entertainment that can be found at amusement parks. Roller coasters, bumper cars, bouncy castles, and Ferris wheels are just a few of the rides covered by standards developed by ASTM International, a member and audited designator of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI):

  • ASTM F2460-07, Standard Practice for Special Requirements for Bumper Boats

  • ASTM F2374-10, Standard Practice for Design, Manufacture, Operation, and Maintenance of Inflatable Amusement Devices

  • ASTM F2137-09, Standard Practice for Measuring the Dynamic Characteristics of Amusement Rides and Devices

  • ASTM F853-05, Standard Practice for Maintenance Procedures for Amusement Rides and Devices

With all of the lights, music, and special effects used to add drama and excitement to typical amusement park rides, safe electrical wiring is key. Codes and standards can help to assure the safety of common decorations that illuminate theme parks across the nation. NFPA 70-2008, the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC), addresses the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment to be used both indoors and outdoors, such as strings of lights that outline a roller coaster's path.

International theme parks that families include in their vacation plans are also covered by standards. IEC 60364-7-740 Ed. 1.0 b:2000, Electrical installations of buildings - Part 7-740: Requirements for special installations or locations - Temporary electrical installations for structures, amusement devices and booths at fairgrounds, amusement parks and circuses, was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). This standard guides machines and structures are intended to be installed repeatedly, without loss of safety, temporarily or permanently, at fairgrounds, amusement parks, circuses or any other places.

This standard was developed by IEC Technical Committee (TC) 64, Electrical installations and protection against electric shock. The ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to this TC is the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

For all of the families visiting theme parks this summer, standards are in place to assure that rides are as safe as they are enjoyable.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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