Thursday, May 16, 2013

Five flagpoles form a semi-circle around a fountain. The fountain is not functioning, the flags are not flying. It is not Sunday, flags might only go up on Sundays, but you can tell there has been a struggle with these flagpoles at The Cathedral. The tallest flagpole with an eagle ornament, designed to be dedicated to flying the American flag has lost its ropes. At this point, it will take a lift truck to fix the problem, but while they are roping the tall pole, they should go ahead and fix the rest of the flagpoles. A few parts and a few hours could completely turn this display around. They already have commercial ground lights. We would look at replacing all the ropes, trucks, and repositioning the cleats/adding cleat cover boxes.

We love seeing a flagpole display such as this one because it shows this organization understands the power of flags in their community. They understand giving their people a flag to follow. If you have a problem with your flagpole, chances are there are many people out there with the same problems or worse. So we offer these 3 tips to help the flag flyer gain control of their flagpole and get the most out of their flags.

Tip 1: Halyard (rope) should match your commitment Level
There are several different types of Halyard (rope). The reason there are several types has more to do with the flagpole truck than anything else. The flagpole truck houses the pulley. Sometimes the pulley will only allow a certain diameter rope or cable. But that is not the end of the story.

If you think you might leave the flag up during harsh weather (Check your FlagWeather here. Very cool.), get wire-core rope. If you think you are going to leave the rope on the pole for several years without checking it, get wire-center rope. If your flagpole hardware comes in contact with anything (bushes, trees, etc.), get wire-center rope. In conclusion, if you are not willing to monitor your parts, have a very tall flagpole (35'+), or if you are worried about the rope breaking at all, get stronger, thicker rope or go wire-center so you NEVER DEAL WITH BROKEN ROPE PROBLEMS. They are expensive, and typically lead to a retired flagpole.

Tip 2: Keep the cleat at arms reach
One of the biggest mistakes we see as FlagRunners is the "raised cleat." People think a clever solution to security on external flagpole is to raise the cleat out of pedestrian reach. THIS IS A BAD IDEA. What happens over time, a long time, the flagpole become a nuisance to manage. Every time there is a storm or something needs to be attended to, someone has to figure out how to get access to the raised cleat.

Alternatively, you can get a cleat cover box. The cleat cover box is easy to install, is a one-time project and brings the cleat down to shoulder level so you can quickly take the flags down as well as easily replace parts and rope. If you want added security beyond the cleat cover box, get a halyard cover.

Tip 3: Don't over fly, don't under buy
Not all commercial flagpoles are created equally. You can't just fly any size flag off of your flagpole. Look at what your flagpole is rated for. Each wind rating is rated off of a certain flag size. If you want to fly multiple flags, you can take the square yardage of the one-flag-rating and that will give you an idea of what the two sizes of the flag should add up to (area-wise). Appropriate sized flags will protect your flagpole, hardware, and give your flags the longest life possible.

If you fly your flag 24/7 in all conditions, expect the hardware to break down as well as the flags.