Assessing Playgrounds After Extreme Weather
- Nov 22, 2022
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The aftermath of a weather disaster can be catastrophic. It is not just homes and businesses that suffer property damage from extreme weather - entire communities are affected, including parks and playgrounds.
Children who enjoy playgrounds and use them for physical activity can be disappointed when they see playgrounds damaged. To ensure children have a safe place to play, weather-damaged playgrounds should be repaired in schools and public parks as soon as possible.
Taking the following four steps before reopening your playground after severe weather is essential.
Close Your Playground to the Public
When severe weather damages your playground, the first step is to close it to the public until a thorough inspection can be conducted. Trees may fall, equipment may break, or surfacing may be displaced due to these damages.
A damaged playground can be dangerous for the public, so it is better to close it until it is safe and adequately functional.
Inspect Your Playground Surface
Your playground surface should be your first inspection point after severe weather events since it will likely be affected. Your loose-fill surface can become contaminated with trash, debris, and other hazards if it is blown by rain or wind.
Assess the surface's condition after the weather event by inspecting it as a whole. If there are any debris or hazards on the surface, remove them by hand or using fresh water to flush your entire surface. Then, rake the surface flat, paying particular attention to areas that are difficult to reach, such as under swings and slides.
Inspect Your Playground Equipment
In the aftermath of severe weather, inspecting the playground equipment where children play is crucial. Make sure your playground equipment is stable and safe by following these three steps.
Look for loose and missing hardware
Strong winds and heavy rain can loose bolts and other playground hardware. Assuring that each piece is appropriately installed and tightened is essential. If any parts are loose or missing, tighten them or replace them.
Inspect Moving Parts
Moving parts on the playground can become hazardous without proper maintenance and inspection. Make sure all swing moving parts are in good condition after severe weather.
Make sure debris and sand do not get inside the internal mechanisms by moving the pieces back and forth. Once the moving parts are dry, relubricate them according to the manufacturer's recommendations if they don't move freely.
Resolve Interior Flooding
Many playground elements (such as slides and tunnels) are plastic with double walls. Although it seems harmless, this interior flooding can cause damage to your playground equipment over time.
The flood water must be drained from the playground equipment if it gets trapped. You can do this by drilling a hole in an unused area on the equipment's underside.
Clean Your Playground
There are many dangers associated with floodwaters, such as bacteria and sewage. Immediately after flooding, you should thoroughly clean your playground with fresh water and disinfectant before letting the public back into it.
It is crucial to maintain the playground equipment and restore it after a harsh weather situation. Taking note of mentioned steps can help in making the playground safe and functional again.