Saturday, September 01, 2007

Playground Fire 

You can read here the report of a playground in Arlington, TX. Coincidence was that the fire was caught on a security camera. Ample proof that spontaneous combustion of the wood mulch used in the fall zones ignited. Scientifically feasible and yet unbelievable in early childhood circles.

Quick quote from story: "Dr. Bernd said that 35 playgrounds at 20 schools would be closed by the end of the day Monday. He said it would take two weeks and $200,000 to replace the wood fiber with pea gravel. The district has about 65 other playgrounds, but those already have pea gravel on the ground to cushion children's falls."

I am a fan of pea gravel as a fall surfacing. But the bureaucratic response in this case puzzles me. The school system will spend $200,000 to fix a problem that could be fixed with available assets and staff. Surely, the Arlington school system has a rake and a maintenance team. Just stir the mulch. Also, install drainage as needed. Replacing the mulch with pea gravel is an over-the-top response in this case. $200,000 is all of the playground budget in most systems.

What should be asked is why the 65 other playgrounds have pea gravel when the 35 to be retrofitted had wood mulch. Was a CPSI ever consulted? Does the school system hire or retain a CPSI? Will the admin staff realize that a corner cut to save money years ago has now cost the system $200,000?

Labels: ,


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com