When it comes to inflatable products, it can be argued that the bounce house is the most popular party rental available. However, following close behind is the inflatable obstacle course, which comes in a number of varieties and themes. Most are constructed as a great way to have races between people, both old and young. Whether it is a military themed course or just a fun multi-color course, everyone will have a great time. A recent article from The Post Crescent found an interesting use for an inflatable obstacle course that mixes this fun with an educational spin.
The article says that firefighters from Neenah-Menasha, Wisconsin, are purchasing a new inflatable obstacle for fire safety awareness and education:
“The obstacle course measures 14 feet wide, 14 feet tall and 73 feet long — nearly the length of a tennis court — and comes from an Ohio company that has made towering balloon characters for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Firefighters think the obstacle course will be the first of its kind in Wisconsin. ‘I don’t think there’s any other department around that has something like this,’ Fire Chief Al Auxier said.”
The new fire-themed inflatable will cost almost $17,000, the article says. All of the funding will come from grants and funds not directly connected to local taxpayer dollars. What makes this course unique is its construction, which has standard obstacles utilized in new ways. For instance, the stairs that most obstacle courses include actually lead to a smoke detector on this course:
“The obstacle course starts with a ‘stop, drop and roll’ area and a crawl through a window to simulate exiting a building. The next area teaches ‘crawl low in smoke’ or ‘stay low and go.’ The inflatable consists of two sections that can be separated for use in two locations or in smaller venues like gymnasiums and churches. The sections are designed to deflate quickly in case firefighters need to leave for an emergency.”
This is a truly unique way to utilize an inflatable for usage as an fun, educational tool that promotes a message of safety!
In Elon, North Carolina, Kim and Paula Hensley put up a huge display of holiday inflatables in their front yard every year. Unfortunately, this March their home burnt down after it caught on fire in an electrical storm.
The neighborhood has grown to expect the holiday display each year and the children always enjoy it. The neighborhood children wondered if there would be no decorations this year. Even with the tragic event happening less than a year earlier, the Hensley’s put up their huge collection of inflatables for a 12th year in a row.
Kim and Paula’s home was a total loss and they could not return to it after the fire. They are now living next door in a house they had bought for Kim’s parents, who are now deceased. They were able to save two of their beloved dogs in the fire, but one, Tweeter, is still missing. The town has worked hard to help find the missing dog but have had no luck. This year the Hensley’s thought their holiday display could double as a “Thank You” card for all those in the town that helped them out in their hard times. They wanted to let the fire fighters who battled the fire and the community members who looked for their dog and helped them out know they appreciated their efforts.
Thankfully, their 200 plus decorations were stored safely in a storage unit. They have many inflatable decorations that really make their set up look big and unique. Next to a blow up angel a sign was put up that read, ” Our fire was tragic but your compassion was overwhelming. Thank you to… all firefighters, EMS, police officers,” each having their own sign. Kim added a big blow up fire truck to his display this year too. There is a mini-scene on the lawn of caroling snowmen with a sign thanking “family, friends and strangers.” Lastly there is an inflatable dog that holds a Christmas stocking in his mouth with a sign next to him saying, “Tweeter is still missing.”
The Hensleys still keep the back gate open, hoping Tweeter will eventually come back home. Until then, they will continue their holiday tradition as they do every year.
You’ve been preparing for your child’s next birthday party for months and all you’ve heard is one thing – “I want a bounce house!” In fact, if you think about it, who wouldn’t want a bounce house or inflatable obstacle course at their party? Can you even call it a party if there isn’t an inflatable? So naturally, you have rented a bounce house for your next gathering. No matter how fun inflatables are, you still need to consider the safety requirements of these structures.
With more and more accidents occurring because of negligence, here are some rules to follow with your party’s inflatable:
Anchors and Restraints – Make sure the inflatable – whether it’s a bounce house, obstacle course or sports inflatable – is properly tied and tethered to the ground. A number of accidents can occur if an inflatable is hit with a gust of wind. Speak with your rental company about what type of area they need to anchor the inflatable.
Clothing – Unless it’s an inflatable water slide, never allow guests to wear a bathing suit on an inflatable. This could cause skin burns and other issues. Furthermore, tell your guests to wear or bring a set of gym-style clothes to help them enjoy the inflatable as much as possible. Denim and other such material make slides much harder to get down.
Accessories – None of the guests should wear any sharp objects like earrings, watches, rings and other accoutrement when on an inflatable. Not only can these potentially damage the inflatable, but they also risk getting caught in the inflatable material, risking serious injury in the process.
Attendant – When you first contact an inflatables company, ask if they provide an attendant for your event. An attendant not only knows how to deal with any mechanical or structural issues of the inflatable, but is also aware of standard safety operations and can aid in watching participants.
The holiday season is usually a time of joy and relaxation. You get to spend time with your family and friends as you have some reprieve at the end of the year. However, many people may have a difficult season, considering the number of homes that were destroyed during last month’s Hurricane Sandy. Many organizations and individuals have been aiding in the cleanup effort, whether it’s been in-person, in donations or in dollars. This is true of one local Rhode Island event, which is donating all of its proceeds to a family who really needs the support.
According to The Valley Breeze Newspaper, a young NYPD police officer had just purchased a new home only two months before Sandy hit:
“Jackie Williams’ nephew is a New York City Police officer who has served two tours in the U.S. Navy. The 26-year-old had just bought his first home 54 days before Hurricane Sandy hit. It is now considered a total loss.”
Now, a regular tradition at 5 Angus Drive in a nearby neighborhood, has decided to donate all of its proceeds to the Williams family. The article says that the event is always well-attended:
“‘Raising the Inflatables’ has been a fun holiday tradition for Paul and Lindsey Vallely, who live at 5 Angus Drive. Dozens of inflatable lawn ornaments come to life when a child, chosen by a raffle, flips the master switch to give them life. The event, this year held on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m., also has hot chocolate, Christmas carols and a visit from Santa Claus.”
The money collected will go to the family, as well as any donations that may have been offered at the event, which took place last Sunday. This is a great example of how inflatables are not only attention-getting, but how they can bring people together to help on another in tough times.
It is the time of year we have all been waiting for – the return of holiday inflatables! From Santa Claus snow globes to Sesame Street characters perched on gift boxes, you have no doubt come across a few yards in your neighborhood adorned with a collection of holiday inflatables. The same probably goes for businesses in your area – making sure they use these inflatables for advertising holiday gifts and services – maybe you’ve seen an inflatable Rudolph on your way to work. While many towns have set up holiday displays in public areas, one had some trouble keeping its inflatable Frosty the Snowman from being stolen.
According to The Irish Times, the town of Wicklow recently had Snowy the Snowman stolen from atop a gift shop, much to everyone’s disappointment.
“The spokeswoman said the snowman – known as Snowy – had been taken from its position on top of a gift shop in the town nine days ago. It appeared to have been placed in Fitzwilliam Square in the town in the early hours of yesterday. Weighing about 8 stone, she said, the snowman had been deflated but still required several men to move it.”
The article says that some time later, a passerby noticed something puzzling – Snowy had returned. A call was made and authorities were alerted to the reappearance of the 60-foot inflatable, which would have taken several men to move it. The deflated Snowy actually had a sign on him that said, “Sorry,” an apparent apology from the thief. An authority from Wicklow’s Historic Gaol said the return was a major relief:
“John Sinnott of Wicklow Chamber of Commerce said the people of the town were ‘thrilled’. ‘We hope to return him to his rightful perch atop a building in the centre of the town by tomorrow. The children of the town are so happy to have Snowy back in plenty of time for the Christmas festival.’”