Getting Ready for Winter
As seasons change and temperatures drop, it is important to ensure public playgrounds and facilities are prepared for the impending winter. Without effective planning and maintenance, these colder conditions can cause serious damage and injury.
Municipalities and other organizations can ensure their parks and facilities remain safe during the winter by using CityReporter's digital inspection software to inspect, track and manage their assets. Parks should conduct a full pre-winter inspection to ensure all equipment is in good condition and ready for shutdown. Winter facilities, such as outdoor ice surfaces, should have pre-use inspections to confirm they are safe and ready for public use.
Utilizing digital inspections allows you to conduct the recommended regular inspections to effectively identify any maintenance issues, communicate the necessary work orders, and provide a streamlined process for public safety.
Prepare Your Playgrounds, Winter Is Coming
Public playgrounds can be used by children in the community year-round, and the safety requirements on the playgrounds are relatively the same regardless of the time of year. However, one of the primary concerns with playground use in the winter months is the lack of standard impact protection.
The majority of all injuries in playgrounds happen due to falls off of the equipment. In many cases winter conditions (i.e., frozen ground, etc.) will result in reduced effectiveness of the fall protection located under the equipment, which could result in serious injury. By utilizing a full pre-winter inspection along with an ongoing inspection process for all playgrounds and parks, organizations can reduce exposure to the enhanced risks that winter brings. The inspections should include checks on all protective surfacing areas, all playground equipment, fencing, benches, garbage cans, signage, etc.
Detailed inspections can be time-consuming when using a paper format. CityReporter software allows municipalities to have custom digital checklists for all parks to include their specific assets and optimal inspection route, which can save more than 50% of inspection time.
After an inspection is complete, it is important to confirm that inspection reports are documented and delivered to the appropriate personnel. CityReporter software provides GPS locations, attached images, and priority settings on inspection reports for accuracy and efficient repair time. Additionally, next inspection dates can be scheduled immediately to the CSA standards of monthly inspections or to follow up to ensure that all faults are fixed.
Ice, Ice, Surfaces
Many municipalities, community associations, schools and other organizations provide ice surfaces in their communities during the winter months. These ice surfaces may be operated by city staff, regional staff or volunteers within a community association. It is important to note that safety requirements on ice surfaces are similar for indoor or outdoor ice surfaces. However, outdoor surfaces may be even more prone to potential injury and exposure to "owners" due to the fact they are typically not supervised. In these cases, having appropriate and timely signage is very important.
Outdoor ice surfaces can be natural (lake/pond) or manmade (sports court transformed) and require preparation before they can be used by the public. For instance, a sports court that is transformed into an ice surface will need to be inspected, flooded and maintained. As natural ice surfaces vary in depths, they require initial ice taps to ensure the ice thickness is appropriate prior to preparation.
Organizations can ensure their ice surfaces are opened efficiently and well maintained through digital pre-use and ongoing inspections. These inspections are vital to safely create and operate ice surfaces for the public. Inspections should be done daily or weekly to ensure no exposures are noted and that potential areas of injuries can be mitigated. CityReporter has an ice surface checklist that allows you to record ice taps on an ice arena map for visually accurate documentation and safety.
It is also important to notify the public with signage stating safety rules, hours of operation, contact information and temporary closure when temperatures rise. CityReporter's Public Concern Portal provides the public with a communication channel to report any concerns they discover while using the outdoor ice surfaces. This is a helpful tool to notify the appropriate department of any maintenance needs when daily inspections are not conducted. The work order is assigned, and a notification can be immediately delivered to the correct personnel.
Digital Is Cool
Many municipalities and organizations have made the transition from paper to digital and are seeing valuable results. By equipping inspectors with the right software, organizations reduce the time spent on data entry and reporting while simultaneously improving their safety documentation and risk management. Modernizing the inspection process will help to identify priorities, develop shortlists and make informed decisions to ensure all areas are well maintained and safe for your community. Inspecting and managing your parks, sports fields, playgrounds, pools, arenas and other facilities is made more efficient and accurate with CityReporter Software.