They are a big draw at birthday parties but inflatable bounce houses and attractions are not toys. Earlier this week, a bounce house was rolled over by the wind in Colorado and last month in Glens Falls, a bounce house was swept into the air with children inside.
Virgil Dombroski owns one hundred inflatable attractions. His Syracuse based company, Endeavor Entertainment, just won a national award for its work with colleges and events all across the east coast. Dombroski says inflatables are safe but precautions need to be taken seriously.
"I love this industry and I love this market and if people just took the time to care and do what they are supposed to do - the majority of those things wouldn't happen," said Dombroski.
Dombroski says many bounce houses sold in stores come with small plastic stakes but he only uses 18 inch steel stakes driven straight into the ground. Inflatables are very susceptible to wind gusts and a wind speed guide is in every one of Dombroski's trucks. Operators are told to take down the inflatable if the wind speed goes over 20 miles per hour.
Endeavor Entertainment have been working with inflatables for ten years. Dombroski and three of his staff are certified as ride safety inspectors in Pennsylvania and he says he has no problem shutting one of his own attractions down if the safety conditions are not right.
"At the end of the day, I want to be sure I can go home and sleep at night. If somebody gets hurt on a piece of my equipment, I take that as my fault and I'm not letting it happen," said Dombroski.
Right now Pennsylvania has regulations for inflatable attractions but New York State does not. Dombroski says he supports the idea and would like to be a part of the process lawmakers bring regulations to New York.