Safety takes center stage as State Fair kicks off

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As the State Fair kicked off Friday, safety was at the forefront and officials wanted to ensure visitors they are safe.

This year, Indiana lawmakers extended regulations on temporary outdoor stage rigging through 2016. Those regulations were put in place after the stage at the Sugarland concert in 2011 collapsed and killed seven people and injured countless others like Jaymie Polet.

“I woke up under the stage and I knew what happened, but I didn’t want to believe it,” recalled Polet when she sat down with Fox 59 last year.

“There is a new awareness at the State Fair,” said State Senator Jim Merritt, who also sits on the State Fair Commission. “I feel comfortable going to the events and I was there the night the stage collapsed.”

The tragedy and other similar events around the world are also prompting new national guidelines.

The Event Safety Alliance of USA is currently working on a safety guide that even covers how to respond to inclement weather.

The guide’s standards would only be recommendations representing “best practices” for the industry, not mandatory rules. They are currently under review and there is a website that has been set up where people can offer their suggestions. That will be closed on August 5th.

Merritt said he is aware of the movement and believes stage safety is a conversation everyone should be paying attention to.

“I feel very confident that I’m safe and my family is safe,” said Merritt.

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