Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

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Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby brendan on Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:41 pm

Over the last while I have realised that my thoughts on how members of the public should interact with displays in general and those involving tools and weapons in particular are out of synch with how a lot of people actually do this at events.

Rather than start with what my opinion is I thought it might be interesting to open it to discussion. In particular I am interested in people's attitudes on:
-Sharp knives and similar
-Tools such as hammers etc
-Firecrafts - proximity to the fire
-Reenactment safe Weapons and armour

To what extent should people be allowed to interact with them?

Brendan
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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby lightbringer on Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:38 pm

As fas your PL insurance will let you. For instance our PLI states our displays have to be roped off from the public.So we have to go with the restrictions
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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby wolfvine on Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:14 pm

Greetings My Friends.

Hi Brendan.
A set of guidelines would be very useful. It would make people realise how much they need to monitor a livinghistory and combat event. Sad thing is, that a lot of re-enactors in this country do their own thing, never truly thinking about what might happen to a member of the public at an event. If something did! everyone of us would be spending time re-enacting in our back yards(thats if we a are left with a back yard to play in) because we could never afford the insurance to re-enact anywhere else. We as a community are very lax about safety because nothing in the way of a serious incident has happened here yet. So, do we wait until all of us have to find out the hard way?

Something to think about.
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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby pajo on Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:48 pm

Well, I dont know if my opinion will count for anything really.. but, here goes...

I wouldnt let the public hold ANYTHING sharp, if it can cut or pierce, its off limits. same goes for the fire, off limits... as to tools (blunt) and re-enactment safe (blunt) weapons, I would usually let people hold them, as long as my hand is on it at the same time, and when people try to take them out of my hand, I explain that for insurance and safety reasons, I have to kep my hand on. only time I kinda relax a lil bit on that, is to let a kid get a photo, in which case, I'm standing there with them anyway, to make sure they dont swing/drop it.

As for helms and the like, I would just say "with care", i.e, stay within 2ft of them..

I would say that we have to remeber aswell like, that for most people, and especially the kids, the actual tactile contact with the swords, shields, helms etc, feeling the weight, and what its like to hold one, is the part that really "brings history to life".

but again, safety safety safety... keep a hand on so things cant be swung or messed with, and NO sharps in the hands of the public.
A hard on does NOT count as personal growth...

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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby Nerva on Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:05 pm

Salvete Omnes!

I think Sean summed it up perfectly.

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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby brendan on Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:15 pm

OK for me the baseline should be the guidelines pack (See downloads section http://livinghistory.ie/downloads/education/) which was written in 2000!

- Combat Section 4 covers pretty much every aspect of the presence of weapons on the battlefield.
- Living History Section 4 covers tools and anything that might be on display in that sort of situation

And the guidelines are a baseline. If anything the guidelines should be regulations and some additional stuff probably needs to be added. The section on site layout needs to be updated. Minimum barrier requirements etc are now fairly clearly understood internationally but not regularly implemented here (that I have seen - and I include myself in this btw)

I accept that there are situations where it may be preferable - under strictly contolled circumstances - for 2 people to engage in a display fight with weapons that are closer to live. But the word here is MAY. Good quality training weapons have the same handling characteristics as most sharps or semi sharps...and do the public actually notice the difference?
I really cant see a reason why a person should in the normaly run of things have access to sharp weapons or tools. Again there are exceptions, but how many trained cuttlers do you meet at a normal event?

@Pajo, your opinion does count - and I agree with the approach you have outlined. The experience is not in any way lessened by limiting the interaction, and it can be used as a way of making it more exclusive.

Insurance is a red herring really. It should never be relevant - do you pay for car insurance so that it won't hurt when you crash your car? And the insurance company will look for examples of negligence as their first port of call - they will look for any reason to refuse to pay.
The simplicity with which an incident can happen is captured to me in a request I had at an event lately:
"Go on mister give us a go of your sword"
"no, because you'll swing it and hurt yourself or someone else"
"and then I'd sue you"

It is about health and safety. The bare minimum. Trying on helms and maybe bits of armour is a great experience and photo opportunity, but I have never seen a situation where someone actually needed to have a free swing with a weapon or test cut something with a sharp.

And the thing is...we are not always adhering to guidelines that we agree on so how, as a community, can we up our game?
...and I would really love to hear a reason why the guidelines are unworkable if it exists. They need to be practical.

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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby wolfvine on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:17 pm

Greetings My Friends.
:)
Hi Brendan.
I think keeping rules/guidelines simple, short and practical is the way to go for now.
Combat displays, weapons talks and demonstrations seem to be the most difficult areas to monitor. I have been thinking about a solution to the hands on approach to weapons and the public so please bare with me.
My idea is this. What if we look at the way we demonstrate the weapons we use. Firstly you would have two displays for weapons, the first display would be the usual table with all the weapons/helmets etc. which you pick up and put down as you are showing to the public. This would be done well behind a roped off area out of arms reach. A simple explanation to the public explaning why they will not be allowed to hold any of the equipment shown to them would be given before each talk.
After your talk is over you would introduce the public to the second display stand. This stand would consist of a upright disply unit with a sword, axe, shield and helmet etc. but these are chained to the unit with a light chain. The chain would be long enough to allow a member of the public to hold a weapon but short enough to stop them from raising it above their heads. The display helmet would be well padded on the inside as well as been padded on the bottom rim(this helmet would be the only helmet designed for this purpose), a re-enactor should be the only one to place a helmet on any member of the public. There should always be at least two re-enactors on duty at any display of weapons. Asking the the public to co-operate with you is very important and they are always very good when asked to do this.

The above as I have stated are just some ideas and I would welcome any more suggestions guys
Seán :)
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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby lightbringer on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:10 pm

mmmmm! Insurance a red herring!? Really! Why have PLI at all? We have insurance so no one can sued. You can have disclaimers of course, but thats a different story. Its lala land to say things cant go wrong!
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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby brendan on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:48 pm

When I say that Insurance is a red herring what I mean is that deciding on how to run a display on the basis of what insurance will let you get away with is at the best irresponsible - being covered does not exhonerate the individual from responsibility to ensure that all reasonable efforts are made to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
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Re: Tool and weapon handling by the public at events

Postby lightbringer on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:55 pm

Sorry my misunderstanding! I apologise! I think we are all probably speaking from the same hymn sheet as it were!
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