Following recent cyclones and flooding, many playgrounds, play areas, or sandpits have suffered damage, which could pose new hazards and concerns. Restoring safe and functional playgrounds is essential to resume safe play for children and their families. Here are some considerations and possible solutions to help you after extreme weather events:
Start by removing any hazards like branches or debris that may have blown or washed in during the storm.
Rinse any man-made safety surfacing to remove floodwater, silt, dangerous chemicals, or bacteria that may have collected while the surface was submerged.
For loose-fill surfaces -washout damage, compaction, and dampness may require aeration of the remaining product to loosen and dry out, and a top-up to rectify depth loss.
Silt/mud may require aeration and washing of the surface particulate with water, continue to aerate sodden areas and allow sun and UV to cleanse.
Effluent contamination may require a soil test if there is a residual odor or suspected presence of any effluent contaminant. Possible solutions may include a lime rinse, ensuring the application has fully absorbed before use of the surface resumes.
For synthetic surfaces, undertake a pressure wash and clean with detergent. If damaged, obtain an impact test and/or repair.
For artificial turf, if the surface has been submerged, the sand infill within the grass pile may have been washed out or compromised. Refilling and dressing are necessary as the sand infill plays a crucial role in the impact attenuating system. Check the synthetic turf for wrinkles and contact the company that installed it for repair or replacement.
If the surface contains woodchip, bark or pea-metal, check the correct depth. Loose material frequently floats away during flooding, so there is a good chance it will need to be washed and replenished.
Check the footing of playground equipment for erosion. If erosion is noticeable and significant, contact Playsafe for inspection or the equipment manufacturer as soon as possible.
Inspect all components - Anyplace floodwater has collected must be thoroughly drained; u,sually be accomplished by drilling a small hole into the underside of a component.
Examine all the nuts, bolts, and moving parts of the equipment, checking to see if any parts are broken, loose, or missing. Rinse anything that may be clogged with sand or silt, and lubricate any moving parts which seem stiff.
Wash all equipment with a pressure washer. Floodwaters often contain hazardous chemicals and sewage.
If sand has been flood-damaged or submerged, aeration, pressure rinse, and top-up should do the trick. If you suspect any presence of any effluent contaminant, conduct a soil test.
Possible solutions may include a lime rinse, ensuring the application has fully absorbed before the use of the sand resumes.
If you are concerned about the condition of your play area, equipment, or surface following storm damage, contact Playsafe to undertake a safety check and/or surface test. Remember, a thorough inspection is the first step towards restoring a safe and functional playground.