Proactive Maintenance

Many bad puns have been made about the importance of good lighting in a camp’s sports facilities.

Well-lit sports fields provide safety and security.

They include not being in the dark, getting turned on to the knowledge of superior facilities, having the power to make a change, and several more.

But all joking aside, lighting is one of the best investments in terms of increasing user safety (and that is a priceless commodity).

Accidents can happen. Injuries can occur. Problems can crop up. And let’s face it, not all sports facilities have employees who really keep an eye on players.

So what’s a manager to do?

Well, to rephrase a popular notion, the best defense is a good … defense. What does that mean?

Simply put, being proactive can pay off for you, your users, and your facility. What you learn may surprise you.

Spend some time examining the lighting around each facility. For example, walk the tennis court and stop at each light pole, advises Bruce Frasure of LSI Courtsider Sports Lighting in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“We have found that the most common safety issue is with light poles that have corroded over time,” says Frasure.

“The corrosion reaches a point where the poles become structurally unstable, and the chance of the lighting assembly collapsing becomes a possibility. The likelihood of this occurrence is heightened at facilities located along coastal areas where the salt-air environment is especially harsh. It is also more common at clay-court facilities where a lot of court watering takes place.

“We recommend a yearly inspection of a facility’s light poles to check for corrosion. Poles that show minor corrosion should be sanded and re-coated to prevent further damage. Poles that show severe corrosion should be replaced immediately.”

For athletic events at night, the lighting of facilities and the surrounding area is, of course, a must.

Even without night events, lighting can increase a sense of security among facility users, particularly if a facility is open 24 hours a day. And generally speaking, a well-lit area of any type is less likely to be a magnet for those who want to loiter or cause trouble after hours.

Make it a habit to check light poles for corrosion.

Technology can be the planner’s friend, according to Mike Limpach of Musco Sports Lighting LLC, based in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

“Advanced controls that adjust for the setting of the sun on a daily basis as well are now being used to manage lighting systems,” he notes. “These are very energy-efficient.”

In addition, says Sam Fisher of Fisher Tracks Inc., in Boone, Iowa, lighting systems can be tailored to suit the needs of the specific user.

“One of the biggest questions or inquiries I am finding today is more safety- and public related. Many are asking for a lower set of light or lights that can provide enough illumination for the casual walker or jogger. This also becomes a safety issue.

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