Are Jumping Castles Safe in the Wind?
Ok guys. We have to get serious for a moment here. Why? Because even though we are a company that likes to focus on fun, we take the safety of our customers and riders VERY seriously and it will forever remain our top priority.
Recently, there was an incredibly sad, freak incident that occurred at a fair in China whereby a dust devil (a small whirlwind caused by hot air near the surface rising rapidly through cooler air above) lifted a jumping castle into the air, killing 2 children and injuring at least a further 22 people.
Of all the elements, wind presents the greatest hazard and we take it extremely seriously. The current Australians Standards do not allow for jumping castle installation when winds are expected at 30km/hr or over. Although this is a voluntary standard for safety, it is one of the most strictly adhered to. Having said that, there are several factors that we consider in addition to just the wind speeds when assessing the safety risks with the use of our jumping castles in high winds.
There are multiple anchorage options when it comes to installing jumping castles. If the setup is outdoors on grass, we will use heavy duty, galvanised steel ground stakes to securely anchor the castle down. The number of anchorage points on a castle differs due to their size but the minimum for our smallest castles is 4 while our larger castles can have 10, with even larger castles having many more.
As the composition of ground can vary greatly between sand, dirt, soil, rock and a mixture thereof, we also assess this factor upon installation. Depending on the composition, this can affect the ground stake pullout capacity which in turn will affect our maximum safe operational wind speeds - dependant on the ground composition, the maximum safe operational wind speeds may be reduced.
For those setup indoors or outdoors on hard surfaces such as carpet, concrete, gravel or astro turf, or in locations where pegging is not allowed (mostly parks and council land) we use 20kg sandbags that we attach to each ground level anchorage point using D-rings and carabiner clips.
Our castles also have top anchor points that, dependant on the weather, size of castle, ground composition and location, we will use with either our standard heavy duty stakes or our storm tie down stakes (corkscrew) for added security.
At every installation, we also assess the location and it’s ability to shelter the castles from the elements. Wind isn’t the only hazard! Just considered the highest safety risk (just ahead of possible lightening). Most of our castles are open roofed, allowing maximum airflow, visibility and pleasing aesthetics. This means that when the sun is in full shine, it can cause the PVC to warm up. You can read more on that here.
We will always check to ensure our installations are as sheltered as possible. Whether this means rotating the castle or setting up in a slightly alternative location than you were hoping, we use your available surroundings such as walls, hedges or trees for added shelter and do this for the safety and security of you, our customers.
Size of Jumping Castle
The size of the castle you are using is also a determining factor in our assessment at setup. The smaller the castle, the more likely it has the ability to be sheltered. The larger the castle, the more likely the wind is to affect it. We take this, in conjunction with all of the above factors, into consideration when installing your castle and assessing its safety in the elements for the duration of your event.
Weather Forecasts and Changes
In addition to the above, we also keep a very close eye on the weather during every single setup. If we are on site as operators and we feel the wind is a risk, we direct the children to exit the castle and deflate the unit until the windy period has passed.
If we we are not onsite for your event, we contact our customers and remind them to stay safe in the winds and may direct them to deflate the castle for the duration of the windy period.
If winds are expected to be high and we have assessed the expected weather prior to your event, we will notify you of our decision as soon as possible should we feel it is unsafe to proceed with your hire.
We know that having your hire cancelled is pretty disappointing, or if your hire is deemed safe to proceed, having a temporarily deflated castle doesn’t make your hire period or event as fun as it could be - but please know we advise these courses of action for your children’s, and your own, safety and your understanding and cooperation during these matters is paramount.
Lastly, we would just like to add that seeing any child injured is always going to be distressing but as operators in this industry, this particular incident is incredibly close to our hearts and we send our love, thoughts, prayers and condolences to the families and the communities affected in Yucheng County, Henan Province, China.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety of jumping castles in wind, or about jumping castle safety in general, we are only a phone call away.
The Bounce O Rama Crew