IFAI member company L.H. Woodhouse & Co. Ltd.

I use IFAI as my window into the U.S. market by attending IFAI Expo or IFAI Tent Expo. Both events provide cross fertilization of ideas and I often come back from the shows with a new idea.

The best visit to date was the 2007 Tent Expo in Kissimmee, Fla., where Peter McVey, president of McVey Tents in Appleton, Wis., did a tent staking demonstration. It’s the sort of demonstration that needs to be repeated regularly for members both new and experienced because it reinforces best practices in staking and it establishes a mental scale on the resistance forces, which come into play when securing tents with stakes in different ground conditions. In all honesty, until you see a great demonstration like the one I saw four years ago, you won’t fully visualize the problem and put it into perspective. Our company is good about staking procedures, but we all know that it’s one of the most abused practices among less reputable companies.

I know that IFAI’s Tent Rental Division is beginning a ballasting study, which will bring clarity to this problem—much like it did the staking study. Ballasting and staking are two sides of the same coin, which when coupled with tent bracing are key to safe installations.

Tony Marsh is managing director of L.H. Woodhouse & Co. Ltd., Nottinghamshire, U.K.