How often is your challenge course professionally inspected? Industry guidelines recommend at least once per year. But it is the responsibility of everyone who facilitates on a challenge course to know what to be checking for in between professional course inspections.
Professional well trained practitioners are always scanning their challenge course with a critical eye toward safety. High 5's Ian Doak shares just some of the places everyone who facilitates on a challenge course should be checking out.
1. Overall structure - Look for changes to the course. On tree course look for limbs that could have come down or are hung up in the trees. Look for lighting damage to the trees. Bark blown off the trunk. On pole courses also look for lighting damage or wood pecker damage to the poles. On all courses look for wear and tear to the footing surrounding elements. Especially where participants could trip.
2 - Cables - Look at the cables to see if any changes have occured. Are they tighter or more loose then normal? This includes your guy cables. If you see changes, call your vendor as this indicates something else is going on.
3 - Connections - Do the cable connections look normal? (compare to other connections) If serving sleeves were used, are they currently in place or is the cable end frayed and needs addressing.
4 - Wildlife - Check under platforms, behind climbing walls, in tires and surrounding ground area for nests. These could be anything from your friendly robin to bees, squirrels or snakes. Our animal friends can do unintended damage and will need to be removed. Check local guidelines and/or consult a professional. Then create barriers to keep them from returning.
5 - Belay Systems - Are the pulleys and shear reduction devices set up correctly? Are they on the right cable and is the p-cord and or rope running through it correctly? It is particularly important to verify this after gear rescues.
7.- Equipment - Inspect all participant equipment before use. Look for rodent damage or wear that occurred last program and was not reported.
Join us at High 5's Managing an Adventure Program workshop to delve deeper into this topic.
If you spot anything on your challenge course that is out of the ordinary or concerning, report it to the person responsible for the course locally and contact your Inspect and maintenance professional ASAP.
The information shared above is intended as a supplement to proper training and annual inspection and maintenance by a professional vendor.
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