Monday, August 26, 2013

Is Your Playground Padded?

The end of summer means cooler temperatures, shorter days, and of course back to school! While back to school conjures up images of backpacks and school supplies to our kids, it means fun with friends on the school playground! As responsible parents and supervisors it’s our job to make sure the area of play is safe and appropriate for the kids as they return.

One often-neglected aspect of protection is appropriate padding for the play structures. As we know all too well, when our little ones are playing hard with their friends they do not always pay the closest attention to the direction they are headed. Unfortunately this can lead to a collision with the very equipment designed for their fun!

That is why it is important to provide adequate padding for all items that pose as a potential collision threat to our children. At Gared®, we offer an extensive line of post padding to utilize in “collision proofing” your playground! Check out how one of our distributors Serendipty Playsystems helped to protect the area around this shade system at The Montessori Academy of Evansville in Indiana by installing some custom 4’ high, 2 inch thick, Velcro attached padding by Gared®!

Padding is utilized in many levels of play, from basketball to Playgrounds - Gared® has you covered! We know that play is essential and safe play is the only play we do it!

Below are some helpful links to other helpful playground safety checks!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Keeping Up With Your Site Amenities

Who doesn’t enjoy attending sporting events in the summer? Whether you are watching your local professional team or on the edge of your seat rooting on your future all-star, there is just something about sports in the summer that creates a special atmosphere like no other!

While you are taking in the excitement, one thing you probably do not think about is the condition of the seating you are provided to enjoy the game or event you are attending, but you should. Bleachers are a popular seating choice for spectators, fans, and players to gather in large numbers and view local sporting events, ceremonies, and other community activities. But unfortunately, old and outdated bleachers that haven’t been properly maintained can cause injury and even death.

In 1999, there were approximately 22,000 bleacher-related injuries in emergency rooms across the United States. Almost a third of these injuries were a result of the person falling from or through the bleachers and onto the ground below. A large majority of these falls involved children under the age of 15.  

That is why the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) created guidelines to help identify and eliminate those features that present falling hazards. These guidelines can be used by facility owners and operators, including school officials and parks and recreation personnel to ensure that your bleachers are the safest possible. Not exactly sure what to look for? Below, find the key things to help keep your bleachers the safest:

·       Guardrails-
  •   Do your bleachers have them?

                                               i.     Guardrails should be present on the backs and portions of the open ends of bleachers where the footboard, seat board, or aisle is 30 inches or more above the floor or ground below.
  • If they are present, are they adequate?

                                               i.     The top surface of the guardrail should be at least 42 inches above the leading edge of the footboard, seat board, or aisle, whichever is adjacent.  When bleachers are used adjacent to a wall that is least as high as the recommended guardrail height, the guardrail is not necessary if a 4-inch diameter sphere fails to pass between the bleachers and the wall.
                                             ii.     Any opening between components of the guardrail or under the guardrail should prevent passage of a 4-inch sphere.
  • If present, are they designed to discourage climbing?

                                               i.     Guardrails should be designed with only vertical members as in fill between the top and bottom rails.
                                             ii.     If there are openings in the in-fill that could provide a foothold for climbing, the widest measurement of the opening where the foot could rest should be limited to a maximum of 1.75 inches. Opening patterns that provide a ladder effect should be avoided.

·       Foot Planks, Seating, & Risers-
  • Are there large gaps between bleacher structure and foot plank?

                                               i.     It is recommended that any opening between the components in the seating, such as the footboard, seat board, and riser, should prevent passage of a 4-inch sphere where the footboard is 30 inches or more above the ground and where the opening would permit a fall of 30 inches or more. (See below)

                             Click here for diagram

  • Do your foot boards or seat planks show signs of wear and weather?

                                               i.     Old seat planks or footboards should be checked for secure connections as well as current condition. If the connections are loose and cannot be rectified replacement is recommended. If the condition of the plank is warped, rusted, or corroded, replacement is also recommended.

      The CPSC also recommends that facilities perform regular inspections by trained personnel, preferably by a licensed professional engineer, registered architect, or company that is qualified to provide bleacher products and services. Inspections and repairs should be thoroughly documented and reviewed regularly.

      If your facility is considering purchasing new bleachers, check with your local building inspector to learn which building and safety codes that your municipality requires with regard to bleacher design, materials, placement, anchoring, inspections, and maintenance.

      When you’ve decided to replace your outdated bleachers and benches, and safety is your facility’s number one priority, choose GARED for premium spectator seating, always in stock and competitively priced for any budget!

      GARED can satisfy all of your seating needs with our full line of Spectator™ bleachers[1] and benches[2].  Our bleachers are constructed entirely of aluminum, with 10” wide anodized aluminum planks and welded aluminum angle framework for superior support and durability. We offer fixed bleachers, as well as tip ‘n roll models with swivel castors for easy transport and storage. Choose from 2, 3, 4, or 5-row models, from 7’ 6” up to 21’ in length, to fit your facility space and application. Chain link guardrail systems are included on our 5-row models, to prevent spectators from falling from the top and sides of the bleachers. GARED recommends anchoring fixed bleachers at all times and you can contact a GARED Engineer for anchoring recommendations based on your specific facility conditions.

Visit us at for complete bleacher product information, specifications, and more!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Game Changers: Basketball Equipment

We at GARED are excited to introduce our brand new recurring blog called Game Changers™! We will dispel some of today’s popular misconceptions about sports equipment, so that you can be more informed when purchasing equipment for your favorite games! This month’s focus will be basketball equipment, but check back for more Game Changers™ blogs on other popular sports, coming soon!
1.       MYTHAll breakaway basketball rims are created equal.

FACT – There are many different types of breakaway rims on the market, and customers should choose based on a number of factors, including: budgetary considerations, whether it is to be used for competition or recreational play, play environment, and amount of usage. The most important features of a breakaway rim are the breakaway mechanism, net attachment method, and number of rings. Breakaway mechanisms can vary greatly due to the number of springs, the degree of pressure at which the mechanism “breaks”, and whether a rim has a positive lock mechanism or is an “accordion-style” breakaway. The net attachment is also an important factor to consider. Popular net attachment methods include the standard no-tie net attachment (most common), tube-tie attachment (prevents hand injury), and tie cord attachment (mainly used in professional arenas). Finally, consider the number of rings when choosing a breakaway rim. Single rims are the standard for indoor use and competitive play settings; however, double rims are more rugged and will be better at standing up to unsupervised and heavy-play environments. Browse GARED’s full line of breakaway and fixed basketball rims for every play setting at, or call GARED today and get helpful information from one of our highly trained Rim Specialists!

2.       MYTH Basketball systems that are used in outdoor settings must have steel backboards on them.

FACT – Although steel backboards have historically been a popular choice for outdoor basketball systems due to steel’s strength and rugged composition, customers nowadays have a wide variety of other great options to choose from.  Aluminum backboards have also become increasingly common in parks, playgrounds, and school yards. Aluminum is known for its all-around durability and rust-resistance, and it is extremely lightweight, making it easier to install and transport. Another popular option is fiberglass, which is also lightweight, has great rebound, and is a smart choice when it is to be used in coastal areas that are affected by moisture and salt water year round. If you are looking for a more professional-looking backboard for your outdoor court, consider a clear board made of glass, acrylic or polycarbonate. Glass boards provide the best rebound and playability; however, they can be damaged by vandalism in unsupervised settings, so many people tend to go with glass for residential use, such as in their backyard or driveway. Acrylic backboards provide great durability and are less prone to breakage, but can be more costly and will get cloudy over time. Polycarbonate boards have recently become very popular for urban areas and heavy-play settings because of their unparalleled strength and dependability. Polycarbonate boards are often touted as “bullet-proof,” and as a result can be more expensive than other backboard types. Check out GARED’s complete line of outdoor basketball backboards at

3.       MYTH The best portable basketball systems on the market are the ones you frequently see in televised games at the collegiate and professional level.

FACT – Portable arena-style basketball systems can be an intimidating purchase for any school or sports facility due to their high cost and the number of different styles and features offered by equipment manufacturers. In addition, some schools might be persuaded to purchase certain brands or models based on sponsorship funds or other monetary donations, rather than the system’s quality or features. As a result, many coaches, Athletic Directors, and other school personnel may not be properly informed on which portable system is best for their facility and program needs. It is extremely important to first assess what your program needs are before exploring the different portable systems that are available. Below are some questions that you will want to answer before beginning your search:

1.        What play level (recreational, collegiate, professional, etc) will the unit be exposed to?
2.        What type of play environment (indoor arena, recreational facility, outdoor court, etc) will the unit be used in?
3.        How much money have you budgeted to spend on the equipment?
4.        Do you have any space limitations at your facility (both on court and in storage areas)?
5.        What type of features are you looking for? Some of these may include the unit size (both in play and storage position), the type and style of the backboards and rims, color options, and extras such as camera mounts or pad graphics.
6.        What basic functions do you need in a portable system? How you want to raise and lower the system, ease of transporting the unit, and the method of changing out the backboards are some basic functionalities that you will want to address.
7.        What qualities are you looking for in a basketball equipment manufacturer? Reputation and longevity in the industry, history of successful product innovation, and the level of ease of assembly and use of their equipment are all important things to consider when choosing an equipment supplier.
GARED has been manufacturing premium portable basketball systems for recreation centers, high schools, universities, and professional arenas for over 30 years. We carry a full line of portable systems for every budget and play environment! Check out our full selection at

4.       MYTH Padding is not necessary for outdoor basketball systems.

FACT – Outdoor basketball systems at parks, schools, playgrounds, recreation facilities, and other public venues are often exposed to unsupervised games full of unrelenting play. Padding on these systems is relatively inexpensive to purchase and is an absolute must to avoid injury and keep players safe. The most common types of padding are pole pads, backboard pads, and base pads. Pole pads cover any round, square, or rectangular shaped post and protect players that might run into the pole during a game. Pole pads are typically made of vinyl-covered foam and can range from 4 to 6 feet tall and between 1” and 4” thick. Backboard pads are constructed of polyurethane foam and cover the bottom and part of the sides of the backboard frame to keep players from injuring their head, arms, or hands when jumping up to make or block a shot. Base pads are usually made from the same material as pole pads, and are used to cover the base and exposed hardware of a surface-mounted basketball system. Base pads help prevent players from tripping or injuring their feet on exposed hardware. Contact GARED today to learn about our full selection of outdoor sports equipment padding!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winterizing Your Outdoor Sports Equipment

Proper maintenance of your outdoor sports equipment shouldn’t happen only in the spring and summer months. Ensuring that your facility’s outdoor equipment is prepared for winter’s extreme temperatures and excessive precipitation is sure to save time, money and hassle for your facility! Check out these helpful tips from GARED to keep your sports equipment lasting longer and looking new for years to come!

Prior to the start of winter, it is important to inspect all of your sports equipment to assess its condition. Look for cracks or rusting in steel or aluminum equipment, splinters in wood products, chips or breaks in glass, and tears or rips in padding or other foam products. Also check all hardware for proper tightness and evidence of rust. Promptly repair any problems or replace the equipment to prevent the damage from getting worse during the harsh weather elements of winter. In addition, we suggest lubricating all moving parts such as pulleys, actuators, crank handles, and wheels with grease or oil to prevent rust caused by excessive snow, sleet, or ice. For additional things to look for, visit GARED’s website at to download our PlayRx™ Equipment Evaluation Form – an easy checklist to evaluate the condition of all of your sports equipment in the winter and all year round!

If your outdoor equipment is portable or on wheels, one of the easiest ways to keep it from getting damaged during the winter months is to move it into an indoor storage area. If your equipment is installed in concrete or not easily transportable, consider covering it with a large tarp or heavy-duty plastic and secure with zip ties, straps, ropes, or bungee cords to protect it from cold temperatures and precipitation.

Temporarily removing padding and accessories from your outdoor sports systems is a simple way to keep it from getting damaged during winter. Some of the most common removable types of accessories include nylon or poly netting (found on basketball rims, soccer or lacrosse goals, tennis and volleyball systems, and outdoor batting cages), net clips and hooks, removable basketball rims, pole pads, backboard padding, crank handles, flags, cones, tetherballs and ropes, and volleyball boundary markers. These accessories are typically easy to remove and can be re-installed quickly when spring arrives. If your accessories do get damaged, rotted, or ripped during the winter months, call GARED for inexpensive replacement accessories, most of which can be shipped in 24 hours! We offer a comprehensive selection of outdoor accessories for just about any outdoor sport!

Finally, be mindful of changing weather patterns when getting ready to purchase new outdoor equipment. Whenever possible, purchase steel products that have been galvanized at the factory. Steel that has been through the galvanization process has increased durability and protection to withstand cold temperatures and moisture. In addition, make sure the manufacturer uses zinc-plated hardware on its outdoor sports products. GARED uses only hardware that is zinc-plated because it is stronger and more protected against rust and corrosion. Finally, consider adding a powder-coat finish to your outdoor system for even further protection again weather elements and extreme temperatures. GARED offers optional powder-coating in a wide variety of attractive colors to match your park, playground, or school colors.