Good information is key when planning fieldwork safety and travel safety. Here is a useful source of travel medicine information we came across on river blindness. It suggests that short stay travelers will be less at risk but therefore the disease could be a higher risk for expat workers, university fieldworkers, GAP year or VSO volunteers. For full details read the full river blindness article.
There was a very interesting article in the Guardian last week with some interesting implications for field safety and outdoor skills training. Not a new topic but quite an in-depth discussion of outdoor adventure for kids and if it is a reality or even a possibility in the modern world.
It contained the rather scary calculation based on an example family where the grandmother at the age of 11 roamed across 50 square miles. The father, in the 1970s, roamed within 1 square mile. His children wander freely only as far as their 140-square-metre garden permits. Whilst it is always good to maintain a healthy dose of cynicism of the rose tinted glasses view on the past, it does seem to ring true with much of our experience.
There is some wonderful work done in outdoor education centres and schools in getting kids out to do outdoor and adventurous activities. We’d like to think that some of these opportunities are wider and more accessible than they have been in the past.
At the same time there is still more work to be done in encouraging parents to be less risk averse and more adventurous with their children and indeed creating opportunities for kids to explore by themselves. Training such as the RGS off-site safety management course and the new RLSS Water Safety Management Program has made headway in arming parents, teachers and activity coordinators with the skills to manage safety and carry out dynamic risk assessment which looks to manage but not eliminate risk. However there is clearly far more which can still be done.
To read the article in full see the Guardian online.
As if the day wasn’t sunny enough – this lovely email brought some extra sunny cheer to the office this morning. Some lovely feedback on our university field safety training carried out recently at Durham University. We were so pleased with it that we had to share it!
The undergraduate training session went extremely well. We were very impressed, from the first minute, by the professional behaviour of the trainers. Furthermore, we had some amazing feedback from the students. I have to say that in 6 years it is the first time I have seen a large cohort of students who unanimously agree on the quality of teaching/training provided; you always get a few unhappy bunnies, but not this time. It was unanimously recognised that the training provided had significantly enhanced their perception of health and safety in the field. It was also recognised that they now understand better the significance and the importance of the paperwork they have to fill in in advance of their independent fieldwork.
Here’s an interesting blog we came across this morning. Some very interesting thoughts on insurance, the realities of risk and the importance of risk benefit analysis in outdoor adventures for kits: //rethinkingchildhood.com/2013/07/10/rope-swings-insurance/
Well worth taking a few minutes to read this article and watch the video regarding some of the potential dangers of rubber band restrained quick draws. Important key tips for climbers and as usual, a key outdoor skills and field safety message – check and know your gear well.
Sadly these lessons come out in the light of the tragic death of Tito Traversa so our thoughts go out to his family. Please take a minute to read these top safety reminders from UKC.
Leading Training Expertise Trainer Jon Parry was recently out putting his mountain biking outdoor first aid skills into practice so we thought we’d share his thoughts…
I was recently on the medic team for the downhill World Mountain Bike championship held in Fort William and was struck by how few serious injuries we had to deal with. Many of the cyclists came off their bike but through their conditioning and training they managed to limit their injuries to just grazes and cuts. There was the odd serious injury however e.g. a fractured shoulder, a potential spinal injury and a concussion and it was the difference between these serious and the not so serious casualties that caught my attention.
In all outdoor first aid and wilderness medical situations, just by slowly and calmly approaching the casualty you get a very clear sense of how bad they are. That extra minute or two is time not wasted as it provides you with an invaluable sense of the urgency, what you think has happened to the patient and whether it is safe for you to approach. You arrive at the patient better prepared for what you eventually need to do for them!
Applying this back to our outdoor first aid training it really drives home the emphasis on the ‘Danger’ assessment in the DRABCDE procedure which we apply to all first aid incidents. It’s the first thing we do and we always say don’t rush into an incident. Instead take time to assess what is going on and whether it is safe for you to approach.
Next time you’re approaching an incident just think ‘Danger’ assessment; what’s happened to the patient, is it safe to approach, is there anyone else we need to be worried about, absorb the urgency of the situation, decide a rough plan of action and then proceed. Better to be prepared than to get yourself into a dangerous situation!”