You Ask, We Answer: How safe are your inflatables?
Your Fun Experts are back this week with a brand new 'You Ask, We Answer", and this one is currently being written live inside a large indoor arena where our Fun Experts are conducting our annual PIPA and RPII tests on ALL of our inflatable products.
For those who don't already know, PIPA stands for Pertexa Inflatable Play Accreditation. Set up by the inflatable play industry, the PIPA scheme ensures that inflatable play equipment conforms to the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. Additionally, the PIPA scheme tests products against the BS EN 14960:2013 which is the European standard for inflatable play equipment.
"So what's involved?"
There is a lot more to testing inflatable equipment than just watching it inflate and then deflate. As a recent member of the Sunshine Events team and the Fun Expert Family, I've been introduced to a wealth of knowledge that goes into inflatables that I think you, our fellow Sunshiners, would find extremely useful.
So where do I start? Well, did you know that all inflatables that involve some kind of physical pressure are self-regulated? Just like me, you are probably wondering what on earth does that mean? (well let me share with you my findings).
Self-regulating inflatables ensure that they are always bleeding the air that is being pumped into them. For example, do you remember when you'd lay down on a bouncy castle and feel light air wafting your fringe? Well, that's the air being blown into the inflatable escaping through the stitching and seams of the equipment.
This ensures that the inflatables maintain a healthy PSI (Pound Per square Inch) so that when the inflatable is in use with bouncing children this continuous flow of air guarantees that the PSI within the equipment remains the same.
"What are they looking for when conducting their tests?"
This next part is where their testing gets quite mathematical and scientific (I was well and truly bamboozled). The external inspector who is heading up today's testing is ensuring that no stone goes unturned and quite rightly so! Armed with his ruler, compact laser, clipboard and helpful assistant, he is straight to work.
As well as making sure that all of our equipment is self-regulating correctly, he is also looking for any possible defects within the equipment that may have occurred during the manufacturing process or in the year between its last PIPA test.
As the PIPA tests occur every year, the external inspector has all the measurements he needs in order for him to accurately compare the equipment's status from the year previous year.
Did you know that you can actually view the testing history of the inflatable by going onto the PIPA website and entering the serial number of that equipment (which should be clearly displayed on the side of the inflatable)? This will let you know of when it was last tested, when it passed (or failed) and a full breakdown of the equipment.
"Are they Secure?"
Here at Sunshine Events, the safety of our Sunshiners is of the utmost importance for us! We want to put your mind at ease when we tell you how well secured our inflatables are when out at an event.
All of the inflatables across the industry come with 'Anchor Points' that make sure the equipment is secured to a sturdy and immovable surface (not even The Hulk could shift it). At every event, we make sure that EVERY SINGLE anchor point, whether it be 4 or 40 has been securely attached to the ground!
How are your inflatables packed away and stored?
When it comes to packing away and heading back to the Fun Factory, this is just as important as setting up and making our Sunshiners safety its top priority. Once we have deflated our equipment we make sure all the air has left the inflatable and that it is tightly and correctly folded back so that it is safely and efficiently packed away back at Sunshine HQ.
I managed to have a quick word with our Logistical Fun Expert James who said "As well as testing the equipment, it provides a great opportunity for us to train our Fun Experts in how to maintain, pack down and correctly store the inflatables till they are used (normally the next day haha)".
Being part of the PIPA tests that have gone on today (and continue tomorrow) has given me a great insight into how much work actually goes into looking after inflatables. I have definitely come away knowing a lot more about the procedures surrounding inflatables, I also feel safe in the knowledge that my Nieces and Nephews are playing on equipment that has been scrupulously tested to EU guidelines (and that's coming from a hardcore worrier!).
That's it from your Fun Expert Will this week on 'You Ask, We Answer' if you have any questions at all no matter how big or small get in touch with your Fun Experts over the phone or a nice brew and we will be more than happy to help.
Gifs via GIPHY