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Playground Maintenance Technician Program Offered By The Eppley Institute

Outdoor portrait of adorable little girl playing in summer park

Indiana University’s Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, in collaboration with the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA) of Illinois now offers the Playground Maintenance Technician (PMT) Program. Playgrounds are spaces for children to engage in active play and healthy risk-taking; however, according to the U.S. Census Bureau over 215,000 emergency room-related injuries occur on playgrounds every year. The goal of the PMT is to improve playground safety by reducing the number and severity of injuries and by implementing immediate actions for safety and risk management. The two-day, in-person PMT program builds skills necessary to effectively address safety concerns on playgrounds, increasing playground safety and reducing liability for park agencies, private entities, and other public agencies with playground apparatus.

PDRMA approached the Eppley Institute in the summer of 2015 with hopes of updating and expanding the reach of the PMT, previously managed by Clemson University in collaboration with the U.S. Play Coalition. PDRMA developed the Playground Maintenance Technician Program to compliment the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) program currently offered by the National Recreation and Park Association. The CPSI is an advanced-level program, whereas the PMT serves as an entry-level program to provide knowledge to park maintenance staff who perform daily custodial maintenance of play spaces.

Participants of the PMT receive the textbook Maintaining Child’s Play: A Comprehensive Guide for Maintaining Safe Playgrounds, and the accompanying course workbook. The most unique component of the program is the virtual playground used to help participants learn about common issues with material degradation, maintenance of surfacing, and understanding when to take equipment out of service. Much of the course revolves around the Playground Maintenance Diamond of Care, which encompasses four areas of playground maintenance: knowledge, inspection, corrective action, and documentation.

There are few programs in the U.S. that have the depth and nationwide reach of the PMT. The Eppley Institute contracts with instructors who have been in the business of keeping playgrounds safe for decades. The instructors teach the two-day program at host sites across the nation, and the Eppley Institute partners with those host sites to manage program logistics.

Interested hosts can visit the website www.playgroundmaintenance.org or contact the Program Coordinator, Sally Pelto-Wheeler, at pmt@eppley.org.

National Playground Safety Week is April 25-29 – sign up to host a program today!

Established in 1993 by Indiana University’s Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, the Eppley Institute partners with recreation, park, and public land organizations to enhance access, choice, and quality of natural, cultural, and recreational experiences.