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Poor Deck Safety Leads to Proms Gone Wrong

Prom, it’s one of the best days in many students’ high school careers. Girls spend hours on their hair, makeup and nails before putting on their dresses and waiting for their dates to arrive. Pictures, pictures and more pictures are taken to make sure the memory lasts forever. 2012 is no different, except for two groups of students whose pictures sessions took an eventful twist.

Two groups of students (one in Wisconsin and one in Indiana) were taking pictures when the decks (one was a dock) collapsed. Luckily for them, no one was hurt and everyone was able to make it to prom.

Featured on the Today show (see video on Hulu here), this group of 13 Indiana students got together at one family’s home before heading to prom. As parents are taking pictures upward, the deck collapses. Looking at the video, it seems that the front part of the deck gave out by either due to a footing failure or a failure at the connection from the band/beam to the post.

This second deck failure comes from Wisconsin. Take a look here.

A joist connection failure or board failure could be the cause of this deck collapse. Joists are used to build the frame of a deck (or dock in this particular case). Here, a joist would have been located between the outside frame boards of the deck. When it failed, it could no longer support the boards holding the students.

In both of these examples, the students were lucky that no one was hurt, but that isn’t always the case. Injuries are likely to happen if someone is on an outdoor living structure when it fails. As a structure gets older, it’s important to have a professional come out and inspect its safety. They’ll make recommendations as to what needs addressed now and later so you can be confident in your deck’s safety when you are enjoying your outdoor spaces.