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We all do it on one occasion or another. We sit
there, staring at something and then say to ourselves, "I never noticed that
before". Something in your house, on your car, in the yard, or
wherever. Its not what you want to tell yourself when setting up a
unit at a customers location. These are NOT set-up instructions.
Inspections of your units are critical to the safe
operation of your inflatable and should be conducted each and every time
you set up a unit for customer use. A basic inspection at this point
can prevent a possible injury or upset customer due to equipment
failure. A few guidelines for inspections are as follows. We label
them as a primary and advanced inspection.
If you do not have equipment logs, we suggest using one for
a variety of reasons. They allow you to track cleanings and repairs which
may help for resale, allows your insurance company or state inspection
agency to check for consistency in your operation and shows you take your
business seriously. It may help in the unfortunate situation of litigation
should you be taken to court for negligence, equipment failure, etc..
The primary inspection should be conducted prior to each
use. Its a good idea to conduct one when picking up your unit and/or
cleaning it after each use as well. This gives you the chance to check
for damage that may have occurred during its use. Checking before you
allow its use serves a dual purpose as well, as it allows you to check
for damage that may have occurred during transport and storage.
For you primary inspection start when you unroll your
unit and check the bottom for large rips, holes, or foreign objects such
as twigs or stones and other material that may become lodged in the
vinyl and pose a bigger threat later on.
Make sure each anchor point is snug, check again for
frayed straps, missing D rings or O rings if equipped, and make sure it
is securely attached to the unit.
Ensure the blower tubes are in good repair as well, with
all portions of the retaining strap functioning as they should be.
Buckles and clinch straps will occasionally fail from time to time.
Next check all surfaces of the mattress for debris,
rips, holes and seams that may be stressed and pay close attention to
the areas where the support columns join the mattress and roof, as well
as the safety ramp entrance. Broken threads or separating seams may
indicate a larger problem inside the unit itself and indicate eventual
The netting and wall areas should all be intact along
with any roof cover if your unit is equipped with either removable or
permanent roofs. Fully inflate the unit and test it to acknowledge it
is working correctly and holding air. Listen for abnormally loud rushes
of air or hissing which may indicate a hole, tear or seam failure.
That's it for a primary inspection. Its a good idea to
log each inspection on a equipment log for that particular unit. Logs
are available for download on the moonwalk forum site.
Now the next inspection is an advanced or thorough
inspection which we recommend be conducted at least once a month, or
more if a unit is heavily used through-out the week. For indoor centers
its a good idea to conduct an advanced or thorough inspection each
week. Again, key is documentation, make sure you log your cleanings and
The first step is unrolling the unit and examining the
bottom very closely for any and all small holes, tears, or foreign
matter lodged in the vinyl. If its small enough for you to repair, do
so, if not, contact a qualified repair facility to have it done.
Check each and every seam on the bottom and sides of the
mattress. Any broken or stressed threads, any separation of the seams
should be noted and repaired by a qualified company before use.
Check each anchor point thoroughly. Make sure the
straps or webbing are fully intact and do not show any signs of thread
breaks, fraying, missing or damaged D rings or O rings if equipped, and
most importantly that the area to which they attach to the inflatable is
secure and snug without any damage at all.
Anchor you unit accordingly and then inflate the unit.
Deflate the unit and pull the edges out so the roof lays flat on top of
the unit. Inspect every inch, and pay careful attention to where the
roof meets the support columns and cross tubes. Make sure the emergency
exits function and the Velcro is in good repair.
Inflate the unit and check all of the sides. Make sure
that all of the netting is intact and is properly secured to the walls
on all 4 sides. Over and over again you'll hear us stress the point of
checking the seams and threads. Pull on the netting in each direction
to make sure it does not pull away from the walls.
Check the walls where they meet the mattress and check
the support columns at these points as well. Children tend to like to
pull on the walls and columns so they receive more stress than normal.
Plus, these are major seams which are detrimental to the operation of
the unit. If your unit is equipped with deflation ports or zippers,
check the integrity of the Velcro flaps and zippers to ensure proper
Most units have two blower tubes. These tubes take a
lot of abuse bouncing around, especially with a blower attached. The
biggest stress point for them is where they connect to the base, and
then the cinch straps and buckle mechanisms. The straps and buckles
should remain tight at all times. If they continually slip or loosen
they should be replaced. Some tubes have a flap inside the units which
prevents rapid deflation should the blower fail. Check this flap for
rips or thread damage where it attaches.
Thoroughly inspect the safety ramp and entrance. Not
all units have safety ramps, although more and more manufacturers are
trending towards using them on all units. Everyone who enters and exits
the unit must use this area so it takes more than its fair share of
abuse. Double check all the seams on these steps, and the stress points
and webbing around the entrance on the wall.
Inside the jump area check all seams while paying close
attention to the stress points along the walls and where the support
columns meet the floor area. If you notice a seam that appears to
bubble up more than normal, its a good indication you may have a baffle
that is failing inside the base of unit. Check all overhead tubes and
roof material from the inside.
If your unit comes equipped with large enough zipper
ports, you may consider entering the unit for inspection. This is a two
person task and requires some simple safety precautions. Make sure you
leave the zipper open and the unit inflated. A cell phone or portable
radios for communication is strongly advised. A utility knife, folding
knife, or scissors in case case you need to make an emergency exit and
cut the material. A good working flashlight and a good dry towel in
case you run across moisture.
If you do not feel comfortable in tight spaces, do not
enter. After entering the unit make sure you are careful as you move
about so as not to tear any of the interior components. The inside is
made up of baffles which connect to various portions of the unit which
allows the unit to maintain its shape. Otherwise it would just expand
like a big balloon. If you can't fully enter the unit, check out as
many areas as you can possibly see by looking inside.
While you are inside, check as many of these baffles as
you possible can. Check each connection point and all stitching. When
a mattress fails and no exterior damage is visible, this is where you'll
most likely find the cause. Mop up any moisture you encounter and you
may even want to use a cleaner inside. Do not leave anything inside
this unit. This includes moth balls, deodorant cakes, dryer sheets,
etc.. If you use a good citrus based cleaner you'll leave a pleasant
aroma that will filter through the unit. Do not seal it up until the
interior is dry.
Double check to make sure everything is put away,
nothing was left inside the interior of the mattress, or the jump area,
and deflate and store your unit as desired. Keep in mind the old saying
"a stitch in time saves nine". More likely will save you hundreds if
not the cost of a new unit, and we all want to make sure out units stay
in operation as often and as long as possible.
Slides and interactives while they may have some common
areas to check such as the interiors, and the seam points, they also
have some very different areas which also need to be checked. With more
interactivity between these types of units and the participants it is
important to be as thorough as possible.
When checking slides, three major points of inspection
exist. The stairs/steps, the actual slide surface portion, and the end
wall or stop. Make sure you check the rest however.
When checking the stairs, make sure all webbing used as
a hand rail or hand holds is solid, fully connected to the slide, is not
fraying and the threads are not separating. The steps should be fully
attached to the surface of the slide and should not be worn. Some steps
have small hard pieces of foam or other materials sewn into them for
rigidity. These should not be exposed. Some manufacturers make the
steps that remove and in this case you will want to make sure the Velcro
that secures them is in good condition. Remove them and check the
underside for wear and damage.
The slide portion is usually a blanket that applies with
Velcro as well. Remove the slide, checking the Velcro and both the top
and bottom surfaces of the slide. If the slippery material shows signs
of cracking, peeling or other damage you will need to replace it.
To rejuvenate the sliding area multiple products are used. WD-40, spray
on Turtle Wax, Armor All, and more. Check with your manufacturer and
use what they suggest.
The back stop, end wall, or whatever you want to call it
is the third portion that takes heavy use. The seam that attaches it
the base is the most important. You should check this continually.
Without an adequate stop, participants are subject to falling off and
injuring themselves. The back wall should always stand up tall,
fully inflated at all times.
Interactives including bungee runs, jousts, bouncy
boxing, twisters, obstacle courses and similar items need to be checked
at least as often, if not more, than the rest of your equipment due to
the high level of contact between people and equipment. It seems
interactives are the center of the insurance debate as more and more
companies drop them from their coverage lines citing them and the
accidents that occur on them as the reason rates continue to climb..
With all due respect, the components of interactives are
basically similar to those of bounces and slides with the exception of
the accessories and a few other components that make them unique
depending on the particular game in question. A lot of interactives
share very similar components with each other.
Obstacle courses have more seams to worry about and each
individual obstacle should be thoroughly examined where it meets the
base of the unit. The insides of tunnels, tubes and crawl through areas
should be checked for fraying or rips and tears, and any hazard that may
"catch" on the participant. Climb and slide components should be
inspected as you would inspect any other slide, however you should pay
attention to any special climbing assists like straps and ropes.
Bungee runs are a very popular favorite although the
potential for serious injury persists. The stress points where the
bungee connects to the back wall of the unit is very critical. If this
gives way with pressure being asserted on it the participant may fall
off the unit forcibly. The bungee cord harness should remain in good
repair with all closures and buckles in working condition. The bungee
cord itself loses viability over time and check for breaking strands,
fraying ends, dry rotting of the rubber, and replace when any signs of
wear and tear exceed normal limits. Lastly, the running surface needs
to be clean and durable so participants do not easily slip. Games like
bungee basketball, etc., should follow these same guidelines.
For bouncy boxing the two most important factors are the
head gear and the boxing gloves. Head gear is for the safety of the
participant and should be issued with each rental. The head gear should
not have any tears in the fabric, the straps and buckles should all work
and should not be torn or frayed in any manner, and the protective foam
still needs to be plush and able to cushion the blows. Foam
deteriorates over time and its intended use will degrade as it does.
The gloves should have no sharp seams or buckles, the padding soft and
the outer material in good shape as well.
The same rules for the head gear in jousting should be
followed like those of boxing. The pedestals that participants stand on
should not wobble or cave in at all and should provide a good solid
standing base. The poles should be fully wrapped on the ends with no
tears or breaking seams, and fully foal covered. The pole itself should
not be warped, cracked, or splintering.
Most interactive's contain the majority of these
components although there will be occasional differences follow these
guidelines and always refer to your manufacturers provided manual.
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