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Interview with a Certified Playground Safety Inspector

I recently sat down with Kevin Van Wye, a member of our team, to discuss playground maintenance. Kevin is CPSI certified, making him an expert in playground safety! Check out our interview below to learn about how playground maintenance is as vital as the playground itself.

Kristen: Kevin, you are CPSI certified. Could you explain a little about what that means?

Kevin: Well, CPSI means Certified Playground Safety Inspector. Basically it means I've taken a lot of rigorous training and testing to make sure I'm aware of all the playground safety standards set by the Consumer Protection Safety Council and the ASTM.

Kristen: How long have you been CPSI certified?

Kevin: Since 2011. I've just recently completed my second certification process. Your certification is good for three years.

Kristen: In that time, have you used your certification in any capacity to address playground maintenance issues?

Kevin: Yeah, definitely. Clients have hired us to come out and look at their playgrounds to make sure that they can pass safety standards, that they are up to code, per say. Or to have us tell them what the problems are with their playgrounds so they can get those things fixed. Additionally I use it everyday in our job here at NVB to make sure that the equipment we sell meets these standards and working with our customers to make sure the equipment they are buying will fit properly in their playground setting.

Kristen: Do you think it is a common misconception that many buyers think once a playground has been purchased and installed, that the process is finished?

Kevin: Without a doubt. Most people, when they buy a playground, the majority we find don't even think about safety surfacing. Even from the very beginning. And safety surfacing is something that needs to be maintained all along the life of the playground. It is probably the most important part of having a safe playground environment.

Kristen: In your opinion, how does a park or school benefit from a playground maintenance plan?

Kevin: Anybody with a public playground, parks, schools, churches, apartment complexes, they all can benefit by having a documented, routine maintenance plan. One, their playground equipment is going to last a lot longer. It is going to be usable and they are going to get more money out of their investment. Secondly, this documented maintenance routine plan will help them catch problems before they happen. And finally, in case an accident does occur this maintenance plan and the documentation involved with it goes a long way to helping you with insurance coverage and claims, or in case there is a lawsuit, showing that you have maintained the playground in a safe environment and it was truly just an accident.

Kristen: Thanks for taking the time to discuss playground maintenance with us. Before we go, is there anything else we should know?

Kevin: When you are dealing with playgrounds, and especially commercial playgrounds, deal with a professional. Make sure the people you are dealing with have some CPSI's on their staff, that they have experience in commercial playgrounds. There is a lot of people out there who kind of do playgrounds as a side line, and maybe more residential. And you want to deal with professionals who really know their end of the business.

Kristen: Thanks again, Kevin!

Thanks to Kevin for taking the time to answer our questions! All answers by Kevin Van Wye, Certified Playground Safety Inspector with AAA State of Play.

Playground owners can browse available playground maintenance plans that include service from playground experts just like Kevin!

Find more about the author: Kristen Breedlove