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13 January 23 - Answering a few popular FAQs regarding bouncy castle hire

This month (January) tends to be our quietest month of the year. We are still open for business and covering hires but I suppose similar to many businesses, especially in the leisure and hospitality sector, the demand is not the same as months (March - December). People are focussing on budgeting for the new year.

For this reason, we get chance to really crack on with our admin and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) work. Whilst researching various search terms, we found a couple of frequently asked questions that we thought we'd answer in this short news article which will hopefully benefit potential customers.

So one of the first questions that we discovered was regularly searched for on Google was the following - 'When were bouncy castles invented?'

Visiting the online fount of knowledge (Wikipedia), this is answered as follows;

American engineer John Scurlock is credited as inventor of the modern inflatable tent design, in 1958. Scurlock, a plastics specialist who taught at Tulane University and worked for NASA, later also invented the Space Walk safety air cushion used by stunt performers and fire brigades responding to high-rise fires.

According to his family, he was inspired in the late 1950s while designing inflatable tent covers for tennis courts. In 1958 he also founded Space Walk Inc. In the 1980s the family business operated an indoor amusement park, The Fun Factory, in Metairie, LA, but it transitioned to and today continues to rent heavy-duty inflatables for occasions ranging from county fairs to children's birthday parties. The idea to rent inflatables for parties is attributed to Scurlock's wife Frances, who was running a rental business by 1969.

Bob Regehr is also credited for inventing the bouncy house in 1968, under the brand name Moon Walk.

Another popular question was 'Are bouncy castles noisy?'

This is quite a tricky one to answer as inflatables can vary in noise levels depending on siting conditions, condition and age of the blower / fan, unit material, whether the blower / fan is covered by a cover to dampen the sound, brand of blower / fan and much more.

We regularly rotate our blowers / fans to keep them pretty new and therefore as efficient and as quiet as possible.

We also regularly PAT test them to ensure they are safe for users.

This image shows Scott from M60 PAT Testing in the process of testing electrical items at SJ's Leisure, St Helens.

Probably the most popular fan / blower in the UK is the Gibbons 1.5hp fan and the following information is given regarding it's noise levels - Decibel level @ 5M 81dBA

Next up, 'Are bouncy castles safe?'

Our honest belief with this question is absolutely, yes they are. As a company that puts our customers wellbeing first and foremost, we wouldn't operate in this industry if we didn't feel they were safe. As a father of a young child (3, nearly 4 at the time of writing this), I am more than happy to allow my child to use any of the equipment that we hire (those that he is big enough and competent to use) and more than happy to allow him to use the equipment he is currently too young and too small for once he is old enough and big enough.

The UK along with the EU has probably the strictest inflatable safety standards in the world. All products must conform to the BS EN14960 standard which is a concise and lengthy document which details the safe manufacture, installation and supervision of inflatable devices. All of our products and accessories are regularly maintained, cleaned, sanitised and tested to ensure their safety for our customers.

Just like anything else, bumper cars, playing football in the park etc as long as users are supervised, stick within the rules and use equipment as it is intended and designed to be used then inflatable fun is a very safe activity.

An image of my son, Teddy, using a small bouncy castle at home at 3 years old.

Supervision for any and all products is extremely important. Please do not hire or use equipment without a supervisor who is aware of the safe play instructions for the equipment.

All of our customers are provided with an email in the week leading up to their hire with detailed instructions on the safe use of all of our equipment. We provide this in the week leading up to the hire so that it is fresh in peoples minds and they can refer to the email quickly as we know from experience that some email providers, I know myself using an iPhone that after so long the email is no longer stored on the phone. If you wish to have these instructions sent to you earlier, by all means contact our friendly office team requesting this and the document will be sent over as soon as possible.

Staff will also provide verbal instruction at the time of delivery and following setting up the equipment. We strongly advise customers to be available to receive this walkthrough and ask any questions if they are unsure about anything.

Question four in this article, 'Does a bouncy castle need to be plugged in?'

It depends on the type of inflatable. Most bouncy castles especially in the UK are what is known as a 'constant air flow' inflatable. This means that the unit is pressurised through air being sucked into the fan / blower through the inlet guards and blown into the unit. The inflatable then intentionally 'leaks' some of the air through the small holes between the stitching. This creates an equilibrium so that the unit does not over pressurise and explode. For this reason, a bouncy castle must always be plugged in whilst in use. You can switch off the product when not using the equipment, the unit will simply deflate to the ground and then upon switching the power back on, the unit will re-inflate as previously set up and usually within seconds / minutes (the bigger the unit, the longer it will take). Always quickly check that anchorage is still in place, no obstacles are within the immediate play area etc basically how the hire company set the equipment up and left it previously before using the equipment. If you are unsure about anything, please contact your hire company before using the equipment.

There are some products in the industry which are a 'sealed inflatable'. These are different. We do not currently offer any sealed inflatable units within our hire range.

Finally our last question within this news article, 'Will a bouncy castle ruin grass?'

Again, this will really vary depending on weather conditions, length of hire, which product you are looking to hire, size etc. There is a lot of variables that can determine whether grass would be damaged.

Working within this industry for almost twenty years now, I can count on one hand the amount of times a customer has commented on the state of their grass following a hire. I don't think I've ever had a customer upset or complain, certainly can't remember this happening. Most will comment that they don't need to 'mow the grass now' as generally the grass will just squash down and then lift back up in the following days. Inflatables must be staked down outdoors to keep them safe from winds so you will have a minimum of 6 (bigger the inflatable the more anchor points) stakes / pegs hammered into the grass and this will leave a small hole that again after a couple of days you won't see as the grass recovers the hole.

Generally, especially within the winter months, we supply heavy duty groundsheets to sit under the entrance and the majority of the inflatable unit which will help to provide some protection to the areas which are going to be most travelled over.

I hope those reading this news article have found this information useful and by all means, if you have any further queries, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly office team today.

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