A recent study found that zip lining injuries are on the rise.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, called itself the first comprehensive look at the thrill-seeking activity.
Dan Jaskot manages the Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center in Middletown.
He said his enthusiasm for the outdoors is matched by his strict stance on safety.
The center’s half mile course is inspected daily. The vendor who designed it also comes in for a yearly inspection.
“It's an attention to detail job and yes it's fun, but all those little details add up to a fun and safe experience, and if you miss one that's when trouble can happen,” Jaskot said.
Before each tour, customers are given a mini training session on basic technique.
"From the moment you step near the ladder until you finish the course, you're always tied into a fall protection system,” Jaskot said. “So, you're never left unclipped at any point during the experience."
According to a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 17,000 zip line injuries between 1997 and 2012. They ranged from broken bones to cuts and sprains. Most of them happened on commercial courses while the rest were on homemade zip lines.
"We do field phone calls sometimes from people asking ‘hey we want to up a zip line in our backyard. What do you think?’” Jaskot said. “And the answer is ‘don't do it.’”
Jaskot said that it’s not worth the risk. He encouraged people to stop by their local course and take a look at what goes into creating a safe experience.
"We even have visitors pop in just to ask about the operation, what it entails,” he said. “They ask about guide training. They ask about how many people per group. They ask about the equipment. If your gut tells you it's not worth trying, don't try it."
Jaskot also said that it’s up to each business to make sure their courses exceed the standards set by the association that governs safety standards for zip lining. There are currently no federal regulations in place.
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