SPOKANE, Wash.- Scary moments yesterday for a group of high school students in Zillah who were at a student body event when a dust devil suddenly moved through.
It tossed the inflatable game like a toy, 20 feet into the air. Tethered to the game were 5 students, also whipped around by the wind.
JT Emerson, Operations Manager at All Star Jump in Spokane Valley, says safety with inflatables is a top priority when setting up.
"In the warehouse we do an onsite training, where we practice over and over again and then in the field, train again," said Emerson.
While training plays a crucial role in making sure an inflatable bounce house is safe to use, there are also many ways to make sure it's secure.
"We make sure not only to stake the units down, but tie them off to a solid anchor point such as a cemented fence post, a cemented basketball hoop, or anything solid even a tree," Emerson explained.
To secure these bounce houses, they use large hooks and 24-inch steel stakes which they hammer into the ground.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries inspects inflatables like these every year to make sure they're certified.
If your kids go to jump on one of these you want to look for a certification sticker.
When it comes to the wind, there are warning labels on the sides of these bounce houses. Most of them say 'do not operate this unit if winds exceed 15 m.p.h.'
Emerson said the wind is their worst enemy.
"We always make sure that if there are anywhere near 20 miles per hour gusts of winds we shut them down completely and that is our very strict protocol," Emerson said.
As for the incident at Zillah High School, authorities say all the safety protocols were being followed.
The 5 students tethered to the Hippo Chow Down game were all severely hurt.
One female student is current in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Authorities are still investigating exactly what happened.