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Knoxville Bounce House Rental

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Reposted From WATE

Posted: Jun 06, 2011 6:08 PM EDT

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Video out of New York that shows an inflatable bounce house full of kids flying through the air has shocked parents across the country.  The kids inside and people on the ground were injured, 13 in all, when a gust of wind picked up the house and carried it several feet.

Currently, the state of Tennessee does not inspect the units, and there are no regulations for operating them.

The only thing you need is a regular business license to provide one for rent.  Todd Olson is in the business of providing fun for birthday parties and corporate events, but he says safety is his first priority. Olson owns Moonwalks & Such in Knoxville. It rents bounce houses, giant slides and other inflatable units.

"It is a big business. It's a fun business, until something happens," Olson said. He says the New York incident made him cringe. "It does. It makes me mad because it's not safe. I wouldn't want my kid in that thing without an anchor. They didn't anchor them. They didn't have a sandbag, they didn't have a stake." Olson said.  "You just can't put something out like this and depend on it just to stay where it is," Olson added.  Olson says the inflatables weigh anywhere from 300 to 900 pounds.   Olson says the best protection is a strong tether and a stake for the ground or heavy sandbags for pavement or concrete.  He prefers a heavy duty stake and he demonstrated Monday how well it keeps the bounce house anchored to the ground.

Olson admits you can't control the weather, but he says he takes every precaution to make sure his customers are safe. "We have a policy that if the wind is blowing between 20 and 25 miles an hour, we don't take them out. Or if they are out, we call the customer immediately and say, get the kids out, knock it down now," Olson said.  You can run into problems indoors, too, if the manufacturer's rules aren't followed. Olson said you must adhere to the number of kids allowed in at a time, and adult supervision is key.

Indoors inflatables don't require a tether, but Olson says his company still uses sandbags and tethers on large units, like giant slides, because they can tilt.  If you plan to rent a bounce house or other inflatable, Olson suggests you make sure the company you rent from has insurance on the unit. If not, it will be up to you to get event insurance.  Once you take possession of the rental equipment, it's your responsibility if anyone is hurt. So be sure you inspect it for tears, and make sure it's tethered properly on all four sides.

Llast year, State Rep. Richard Montgomery (R-Sevierville), introduced legislation to require inspections for go carts, climbing walls, and inflatables in Tennessee, but it did not gain steam.   6 News spoke with Montgomery by phone Monday. He says he is researching the issue and plans to introduce similar legislation again next year.