How Theme Park Professionals
Ensure Your Safety
It’s hard to find a rollercoaster quite as thrilling as Everland’s epic T-Express, described by the LA Times as one “of the world’s best wooden coasters,” and included on the Travel Channel’s list of the 20 coolest roller coasters in the world.
However, all the gravity-defying fun of the T-Express – and the park’s other white-knuckle rides – would all be impossible without stringent safety measures.
This is where Joo Seok Song, Everland’s T-Express Safety Manager and a member of the Attraction Technology Group team, comes in. Together with a dedicated group of expert engineers and mechanical specialists, it’s Song’s job to ensure rider safety at Everland’s many attractions. Read on to find out how he goes about doing just that.
Samsung C&T Newsroom: How do people go about becoming ride safety experts at Everland? Do they need specialist knowledge?
Joo Seok Song: There are actually several departments at the resort that deal with safety. The Attraction Technology team, which I am a member of, deals specifically with attraction-related safety. If you want to be a safety manager, you need a deep knowledge of engineering. We tend to hire people with electrical or mechanical engineering backgrounds, and with relevant technical qualifications.
Newsroom: What kind of person makes a good safety manager?
Song: It’s really important to be an effective communicator, as we need to share safety information with so many people. Everyone who works at the park must know what to do in case of an emergency, and it’s our job to keep the riders informed. You also need to understand a lot about electricity and mechanics to do this job well. How is a ride powered, and how is that power regulated? How does its locking device work? We must know the answers to all these questions and more. Attention to detail is equally crucial. We typically work in pairs, cross-checking each other’s work over and over. When you’re talking about safety, there is no room for error.
Newsroom: How often do you run checks on rides?
Song: Again, safety is a top priority for everyone at Everland, so the most important checks are done daily. I typically come to work three hours before the park opens to do daily tests. There are also other checks that we perform on a weekly and monthly basis.
Newsroom: Does the T-Express need any additional safety care?
Song: A lot of thrill-seekers think wooden coasters like the T-Express are more exciting than their steel equivalents. That said, wooden rides present their own set of safety challenges. If you don’t look after wood carefully, it can rot. We fight against that by coating the tracks with weather-resistant wood stain. We also check on the wood’s condition every week, replacing any parts that are showing signs of rot.
Newsroom: What is the thinking behind the height restrictions parks impose on certain attractions?
Song: The safety device is what protects your body during a ride. If that’s too big for you, it won’t provide you with adequate protection. If you don’t meet a ride’s required height restriction, it could be dangerous for you to get on. For your own safety, it’s important to pay attention to restrictions like this, and that is why our staff are so strict about enforcing height regulations.
Newsroom: What motivates you personally?
Song: This is not an easy job, by any means. We spend most of the day working outdoors, which can be challenging. In the winter, sometimes that means braving subzero temperatures. In the summer, it means working in the sweltering mid-summer heat – not easy when you have to walk up steep slopes wearing a safety harness and a hard hat! But personally I find it really rewarding to see people enjoying themselves on a ride I have checked. It inspires me when they get off the T-Express and hear them say something like, “That was so much fun!” I’m proud to think that what I do has – in some way – contributed to their happiness.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the thrills in store for riders aboard the T-Express!