One of the most credible sources of technical documentation for tent rental experts is the IFAI Procedural Handbook for the Safe Installation of Tentage. The handbook is the brain-child of the Educational Committee of (IFAI) Tent Rental Division. Now, in it’s third edition, the handbook has been developed by a forward thinking group of rental experts from the manufacturers and tent rental companies to explain, in layman’s terms, safe procedures for installing tents.

Citing the Handbook Introduction:

“It is designed to educate novice as well as experienced tent renters on installation theory, with an emphasis on safety. This handbook may be used as a basic guide for tent installation. The goal is to clarify specific tenting theories, verifying as well as dispelling common tenting myths. The information presented here is based on the combined experience of the all volunteer Education Committee, with validated engineering data from an industry expert.”

The handbook covers 5 different types of tents:IFAI Proceedural Handbook for the Safe Installation and Maintenance of Tentage

Within each type tent, it is further detailed by:

Municipalities Adopt the Document

Some municipalities have adopted the IFAI handbook into their application processes as shown in this cutout from The City of Phoenix Tent Permit Application.

The City of Phoenix tent permit application referring to the IFAI Handbook for Safe Installation
The City of Phoenix tent permit application referring to the IFAI Handbook for Safe Installation

Most-Frequently-Used Section

One commonly applied reference chart used by tenting professionals is the squaring chart. Only when a stake line is square can the tent be tensioned to look it’s best and have it’s greatest strength against the winds and weather it was engineered to stand up to.

IFAI Tent Squaring Chart using the Pythagorean Theorem
IFAI Tent Squaring Chart using the Pythagorean Theorem

Why do We Dwell on Safety?

One sad reminder of how tenting jobs can go sour involved a rental company in Virginia on July 25, 2005. Under the neglectful direction of the rental company staff, four scout leaders were accidentally electrocuted when the tent’s center pole was raised up into a high voltage electric line. Soon after, the rental company went out of business, and the lives of thousands of young scouts were impacted forever as they witnessed this accident that should never have occurred. This speaks to the merit of why training and following industry standards is critical to a safe business model.

How do You Select a Professional Tent Rental Company?

When you are in the selection process of a tent rental company, look for signs that they are active in rental association operations and conferences, that they are willing to offer good quality references, and that they maintain field crews with sufficient experience and training to get the job done safely.

The 102 page handbook is available free to members and for $385.00 to non-members by visiting the IFAI Bookstore. The handbook can also be purchased by ARA members for $12.

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