05 Oct Guidelines for a Safe Fall Festival and a Safe Playground
The Fall season is a popular time to host various outdoor events, such as a fall festival. These activities may be focused on ministering to children or reaching out to the local community. With many organizations beginning another service and education year in the fall, festivals are a great way to bring members together and celebrate. While these highly popular and well-attended events are great fun for members, families and the community, there are many risks associated with hosting such an occasion. To help with these concerns, we’re sharing Guidelines for a Safe Fall Festival and a Safe Playground.
Concerns about COVID19? The CDC offers the following considerations for enhancing protection of individuals and communities and preventing spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Event planners and officials can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community comply. Please click here for the CDC’s website.
Before hosting a festival at your church take time to inspect the grounds and facilities. Create an inspection checklist; be sure the following items are included:
- Identify, mark and repair any potential hazards.
- Cords – Any power, speaker, microphones or any other electrical cords should be kept from walkways, covered with cord protectors, or held down and marked with visibly colored tape.
- Tents – Be sure stakes and ropes are visibly marked and protected. Additionally, a professional company should set up any tents and a qualified individual should inspect them before use.
- Depressions and Holes– Fill or mark any depressions or holes in grassy areas. Plan activities away from these hazards to decrease the risk of injury.
- Tables and Chairs– Ensure temporary or folding chairs and tables are sturdy and free from defects.
- Weather – Monitor weather reports and make alternative plans in case of threatening weather.
- First Aid Kit[s] –Communicate with your leaders the location[s] of your First Aid Kit[s]. Be sure any First Aid Kits are easily accessible to your leadership team. Order Red Cross First Aid Supplies.
- Coordinate with your local law enforcement and emergency services the date, time and details of your event.
Inspect your playground -starting with the Playground Surface
- Nearly 70% of injuries on a playground result from a fall.
- The surface in and around playground equipment can be a major factor in determining the injury causing potential of a fall.
- A fall onto a shock absorbing surface is less likely to cause an injury than a fall onto a hard surface.
- Because head injuries from a fall can be life threatening, the more shock absorbing a surface can be made, the greater the likelihood of reducing severe injuries.
Avoid the following:
- Asphalt or concrete are unsuitable for use under and around playground equipment.
- Earth surfaces, such as soil and hard packed dirt also are not recommended because they have poor shock absorbing properties.
- Grass and turf are not recommended because wear and environmental conditions can reduce their effectiveness in absorbing shock during a fall.
Use the following:
- Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 9 to 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel.
- An alternative is mats or synthetic surfacing made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least six (6) feet in all directions from the play equipment.
- For swings, be sure surfacing extends in back and front twice the height of the suspending bar.
Tidy the area:
- Inspect the playground for broken glass or other dangerous debris.
- Conveniently locate and maintain appropriate trash receptacles on the playground.
- Inspect the shock absorbing surface in and around the playground equipment to determine that it has not been displaced or compacted in high traffic areas.
- Correct or remove any tripping hazards, such as exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
- Repair any areas that have inadequate drainage or low spots that would allow standing water.
- Click here for more details on inspection and maintenance.