Air Inflatables Knowledge Base

At Air Inflatables safety and fun are our primary objectives. We have compiled this document with safety advice and tips to ensure that your business is both safe and successful.

Advice for New Operators

Inflatables are one of the simplest pieces of equipment in the amusement industry to operate, although an element of care and caution will help to make the best of the device.

Ensure that the vehicle in which you are transporting the inflatable in is reasonably clean and free from sharp or protruding corners or objects.

Inspect the proposed site. Although the equipment may be erected on most surfaces, the site should be inspected for any nails, sharp rocks, wood etc. and also ensure that there are no sharp corners of obstructions in the area where the customers will exit and enter. If the unit is to be erected on an abrasive surface such as gravel, asphalt or wood, it is advisable to spread a sheet of plastic or a tarpaulin to give the equipment extra protection.

Unrolling the Bouncy Castle

We recommend that the following steps/precautions are taken when unrolling the bouncy castle.

  • Ensure that sufficient space is allowed for the unit when unrolled
  • Be sure that the open end is facing away from the site and on the bottom
  • Unroll and unfold the unit completely
  • Ensure that a rope is attached to all tie-down points and that the bouncy castle is securely anchored down before the bouncy castle is inflated

Inflation

Try, if possible, to inflate the unit for the first time on a calm, dry day.

A fan is supplied to keep the unit inflated during use by the customer.

Attaching the fan

The fan should be attached to the inflation tube located at the rear of the bouncy castle or on the side of the bouncy castle (the Fun Run bouncy castle has an inflation tube on both sides).

Attach the fan to the small pipe at the rear of the unit. Ensure that the pipe is fully extended and firmly attached to the motor.

Ensure that the motor will not tip or move and that the intake opening is covered with screening

Attach the motor to the power source. You may now switch on. At first the motor will require about 30 amps, but will then after a short period of time the current draw will drop to approximately 7 amps.

The unit should inflate in about 2-3 minutes (maximum). If, after this time, it has not fully inflated, firstly check that you have tied off the larger pipe at the rear, secondly ensure that the electric cable is sufficient to carry the required current, and thirdly ensure that you have not in some way damaged the unit.

First Deflation

Once fully inflated, check that the operating position is satisfactory, then turn off the fan and open any deflation zips that are located on the bouncy castle.

Securing the Bouncy Castle

Once you have ensured that the unit is operating correctly, it must then be secured to the ground with, for example, metal stakes or sand bags, before re-inflation and use by the public. One metal stake should be used for each anchor point, and should be hammered fully into the ground ensuring that the angle between the attachment rope and the stake is as near to 90 degrees as possible.

Sandbags should be used if the unit is to be operated on sand or similar loose surface; these should be buried, with a rope tied securely around the middle, to a depth of at least 2ft.

NB: Care must be taken to avoid damaging underground services. If in doubt please check with the local council or property owner.

General Safety

Do not erect or use an inflatable when the wind speed is in excess of the maximum safe wind speed for the type of inflatable being used.

To ensure the safe operation of an inflatable, it is essential that, when erected outside, all anchorage points be used at all times. Where the ground is suitable, the inflatable should also be secured with anchorage stakes. However, each site should be assessed and a suitable anchorage system adopted accordingly as the ground conditions will obviously vary (i.e. sandy, hard packed earth etc). Another equally effective method should be employed when the inflatable is erected on hard standing. i.e. secured to lampposts, trees etc. If used indoors, heavy weights should be attached to each anchor point.

An RCD Circuit breaker should be used at all times.

It is essential that a responsible adult (min. 18 years) be in attendance to supervise the use of the inflatable at all times. The required number of other attendants should be assessed by the operator, and it should be ensured that at least this number are on duty when the equipment is in operation to ensure its safe use. When making this assessment, the operator should take into account the necessity to control the flow of the public onto and off the device.

To ensure that the public move to and from, and use the inflatable in a safe and controlled manner, the operator should ensure that:

  • Users remove all footwear (excluding socks).
  • Any hard, sharp, or otherwise dangerous objects such as pens, purses, buckets, spades, spectacles etc are removed from the user.
  • Note: The step is to assist users in getting on and off the inflatable. At no time should anyone be allowed to bounce on it.
  • No climbing or hanging on the outside walls is allowed at any time.
  • No one taller than the outside walls, when standing on the inflated bouncing surface, should be allowed to use the device.
  • Only users of a similar age/stature should be allowed to use the equipment at any one time.

Rough/rowdy behaviour should not be allowed. Attendants should ensure that activity on the equipment is monitored at all times, keeping a particular eye on children, especially the smaller more timid ones. A whistle or other device that attracts attention should be used at the first sign of misbehaviour.

Larger children should not be allowed on the equipment together with the smaller children.

The operator/ attendant should ensure that the number of users is limited at any one time to allow plenty of room for safe play for each child/user.

Overloading of the equipment is also dangerous. The operator should assess the number of users allowed at any one time, and this number should in no circumstances be exceeded.

Training of Attendants (by operators)

Each attendant should be provided with sufficient training to enable the safe operation of the device. This training should include:

  • Method of operation
  • Safe loading of the equipment
  • Necessary measures to ensure the safety of users and members of the general public
  • Methods of safe assembling/dismantling of the equipment (where applicable).
  • Safe use of the equipment in inclement weather conditions.
  • Daily inspection (where applicable)

Each attendant should be provided with sufficient training to safely carry out the specific types of work that they are expected to do. This training should include:

  • Safe anchorage of the equipment.
  • Requirements for crowd control enclosures.
  • Control of the public to and from crowd control enclosures.
  • Safe loading of the equipment.
  • Associated risks and precautions.
  • What to do in the event of a power failure or other emergency.
  • Breakdown / defect reporting procedures.

Inspection

An inspection, incorporating the following checkpoints should be carried out before the first use on each day.

  • The blower has no exposed wires or loose screws, bolts, etc
  • Air inlet and outlet mesh guards are secure and intact
  • No sockets or switches are damaged.
  • Electrical cables are not chaffed or worn.
  • Plugs are intact.
  • The blower / inflation tube connection is good.
  • Anchor points are intact and not damaged.
  • Anchor ropes are not chaffed or worn.
  • Anchor stakes are sound and good for continued use.
  • Wall-to-tower fixings are not torn
  • The surface seams of the bed and step/front apron are free from rips or holes.
  • When fully inflated, the bed and step/ front apron has sufficient pressure to give a firm and reliable footings, and all walls and towers (when fitted) are firm and upright.

The equipment should not be used prior to the inspection being carried out, and only then when ant adjustments or repairs judged necessary as a result have been satisfactorily carried out.

Testing

Operators should note Health and Safety requirements regarding the intervals at which reputable manufacturers of leisure inflatables should carry out thorough examination.

Inflation Fan

It is recommended that the electric fan should be P.A.T tested annually. The inlet and outlet guards of the fan should also be inspected before each and every hire.

Safety Checks

Inflatables

Checks should be made of the anchorage system at least once in every 12 months for wear, rips or chafing. Check the structure from wear or rips in the fabric, particularly in the main bouncing surface, between the walls and towers, and the surface of the step / front apron. Check that the walls and towers, when fitted, are firm and upright when inflated and that the pressure in the bouncing area/ step/front apron is sufficient to give a reliable and firm footing.

If possible, an inspection of the internal ties should be carried out from inside the structure. They should be checked for wears and tears, particularly at their loose or exposed ends. Checks of the securing of bed seams and wall to bed seams from inside should also be made.

We recommend that an annual inspection is carried out by a qualified RPII inspector.

Inflation fan

Check inlet and outlet guards and electrical connections of fan unit and ensure that each fan is PAT tested every 12 months.