Inspections will help avoid disaster and add years to the life of a tent.
The tent is up and the event is underway. But there may still be work to be done. Especially for installations that will be up for any length of time, inspection and maintenance are top priorities for keeping the tent as safe and immaculate as possible.
Any environment where wind causes the ropes or ratchet straps attached to the tent to move will inevitably cause some of the anchoring components to loosen. Stakes may begin to give slightly and ropes or ratchets may stretch over time. Major catastrophe can be avoided by checking the anchoring once every few days. Even on shorter installations, a quick check at the end of the day to make sure that the anchoring is maintaining tension can help you to avoid disaster.
Changing environments, such as heavy or extended rain, can also cause stakes to lose holding power. An inspection after a weather event can determine if re-tensioning or adding additional stakes or anchoring is required.
Tensioning on pole tents is vital to the stability of the tent, as tension is what keeps the tent fabric aloft. While tensioning is less of a structural concern on frame tents, all anchoring is critical to keep the tent grounded during sudden inclement weather.
During especially long installations, the chances of the shelter accruing damage increase over time. In most cases, repairing tent or sidewall fabric is best completed after the tent is struck; this allows the fabric to be handled without the need to hurry or rush through proper repair steps. For incidents where tent fabric is damaged in an exceptionally noticeable way, repairs made with vinyl patches and HH-66 vinyl cement can be completed easily in the field. As a last resort, colored duct tape can even be applied to fix tears and holes in fabric, though this is not a lasting repair and will need to be fixed with an approved method once the tent is struck.
Any incident that causes tent fabric to fail on a mechanical level will require the tent fabric to be removed from the structure and either replaced or repaired by heat gun or HH-66 vinyl cement.
If site conditions allow, the easiest method of cleaning is to use either a tent cleaning product such as Celina Tent Cleaner or mild dish soap combined with a power sprayer. Power-spraying a tent while it is installed helps avoid pinholes that would otherwise occur if cleaners have to walk on the tent to clean the interior portions. The natural slant of an installed tent will also help reduce dry times by allowing any rinse water to roll off of the tent top. Always be sure to completely rinse off any cleaning products with clean water and allow the tent to dry before folding and storing.
The only time cleaning would be absolutely required during an installation would be when the dirt detracts from the event; cooking tents with heavy grease residue can cause odors and are especially unattractive to look at. A degreaser such as Safe-T-Solve and a sponge or soft cloth can accomplish this kind of cleaning.
Maintaining a structure throughout an installation will add years to the structure’s life. Care and attention to details will keep the fabric and the structure in good, safe condition use after use.
OSHA reminds employers and workers to take steps to prevent or minimize the risk of Zika infection, especially for those working outdoors.
- When working outdoors, wear clothing that covers the exposed skin. Use insect repellent with an EPA-registered active ingredient.
- Get rid of sources of standing water (including barrels) to reduce or eliminate mosquito breeding areas.
- Talk to your supervisor if you or your sexual partner is pregnant or may become pregnant.
- Supervisors should be familiar with CDC information on Zika virus and pregnancy.
For more, go to www.osha.gov.
By Jill Roy of Celina Tent Inc., Celina, Ohio, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gettent.com.