SAFTSE course “Anchorage” contains video and audio tutorials describing various methods securing a tent or membrane structure to Mother Earth. The course does not suggest anchoring requirements, that burden of proof falls on the installer. However, it demonstrates several anchoring solutions and their success or failure to be compliant with the model code.


Welcome E-Course "Anchorage"

by Jim Erickson | Click > With Mouse Pointer to Start Audio File

Here are some guidelines for taking our course.

  • We will refer to all tents and membrane structures as tents
  • AHJ is the acronym for Authorities Having Jurisdiction, and we are lumping all of you under one heading versus calling you a fire marshal, building code official, code official, or what you use at your home base
  • There are sererval boxes that have a background picture of a microphone. Select the arrow and follow along with the instructions.
  • In chapters 2,3 and 4 you will find a photo that has an arrow. Click on the arrow and watch the video.
  • When we mention boxes, we are referring to individual sections that divide the page. Each box has a title or image, and we will refer to each one during the audio discussions

So, let’s get started by entering your username and password. Then begin Chapter One!

Chapter 1: "Meet the Players"

Our esteemed colleague Peter McVey, who some would say is the guru of staking and ballasting, will walk you thru industry approved staking and ballasting procedures. After you view the next 15 video’s, you can make up your mind as to whether you agree with the tenting industry.

Setting the Stage

We begin by setting the stage and its cast of characters. The testing equipment consists of a tow truck, dynamometer, strap, and tow truck operator impersonating Mother Nature. As the plot thickens the next five videos show Peter demonstrating the holding power of stakes with various lengths and the last video finishes with debunking a staking myth.

Chapter 2 : Does Size Matter?

The next series of anchorage videos test size and length for stakeholding power, including a discussion about the width and constructions of straps. We will finish our series with bar staking; the video will explain when and why bars and stakes are a great companion.

Chapter 3 : Soil Testing

We are opening a big can of worms with soil testing, but at the end of the chapter, there is an audio discussion about the average blow, and we verify this with a U.S. Agriculture classifying soil conditions down to a local address. Two more videos are rounding out staking demo.

Chapter 4 : Water Barrels and Concrete Blocks

The preferred and proven method for anchorage is using stakes, but when the surface does not allow stakes an alternative is ballasting. The next three videos explain how and when to use ballasting. Looks are deceiving when it comes to holding power for ballasting.

Jim Erickson

Instructor Jim is a 25 plus year veteran of the Tent and Special Event Industry. Jim was instrumental in the development of a tent rental inventory and management software program for special event crew leaders, project managers, and sales staff. Jim was the General Manager of Skyway Event Services in St Paul, MN, managing operations, designs and installation of special events for Best Buy, Target, Guthrie Theater, and Irish Fest. Jim became active as the Executive Director of Tent Renters of the Midwest, a regional tent and special event association, and migrated the organization to a national non-profit group referred to as Safety Advocates for Tents and Special Events. He is also currently active in the ICC 2018-21 Fire Code Action Committee.