Category Archives: Expedition Training

Register Your Phone for Emergency SMS

Emergency SMS Registration

Simple Guide to Registering Your Phone for Emergency SMS

Working in Remote Environments is an amazing experience but it comes with inherent risks, one of which is poor communications. Register your phone for Emergency SMS now.

On many of our Outdoor First Aid Courses we are asked questions about communication with the Emergency Services;

One very quick and easy way of dealing with weak signal is to register your phone to contact the Emergency Services by SMS. Text messages can be sent even when signal is weak or intermittent.

When you add other compounding factors associated with dealing with an emergency in remote locations, getting all the information down into a clear concise text message makes the situation much easier to deal with.

What will the Emergency services need to know:
– Who? Is sending the message.
– What? Is the problem, including the state of casualty.
– What? Services are required.
– Where? Are you. Give location as accurately as possible, GPS, Grid Reference or a nearby landmark.
– Wait… Now wait where you are for a confirmation reply call or text.

For more information and advice on who to contact in an emergency or how to deal with situations in remote environments, book onto one of our Outdoor or Expedition First Aid Courses.

For dates and availability visit our Course Diary.

Expedition and Field Safety – BS8848 Updates

Cambodia Angkor Wat Sunset smallerA few newsletters back we reported on the conference to launch the updated BS 8848  – the key document in risk and emergency management and field safety.  We are pleased to say that BSi have made further details and information available from that conference so we thought we would share a few notes from each of the speakers for anyone who couldn’t make it…

Dan Palmer…

welcomed the nearly 130 attendees and explained the rigorous review process to make sure the standard retained its relevance and usefulness.

Alistair Macdonald…

made the keynote address, singling out the requirement for informed consent. but also noting that the legal and moral responsibility rests with expedition organizers. “We can’t put the problem at a third-world supplier’s door,” he said. Macdonald emphasized that every trip is different, and that “the devil is in the detail.”

Shane Winser…

explained that the committee had looked at incidents from the last decade. “We know things go wrong. We need to learn and plan from that,” she said. Work had also been done to make the standard easier to use: it has gone from 65 pages to 39; clauses have been regrouped and consolidated; and it focuses on key processes in a logical order of planning, implementation and review.   For more details on what has changed, see our blog

Peter Harvey…

explained that the standard is there to enable people to take risks, to help them understand their responsibilities, and who is taking care of them. “We all want to keep people safe,” he said. “The standard supplies a tool to do that, making sure that everything is clearly communicated, and in particular that senior managers see what is happening on the front line”.

To see more details and a full review of all the details of the speakers and how BS8848 has changed see our first aid and field safety blog and you can see BSi’s full summary of the event BSI-managing-risk-in-overseas-adventurous-activities-event-summary-UK-EN.

If its time for you to update your risk managementwater safetyfield safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Are your hill skills up to this new challenge…

This is really a new one on all of us in the office, but two walkers trapped in a forest of rhododendron plants really made for an unusual mountain rescue situation!

hill skills

The spread of non-native rhodedendron plants has been hotly debated on environmental grounds but it looks like there is a whole new mountain safety and hill skills element we hadn’t considered!

 

Occupational Water Safety Programme

Here at Training Expertise we are committed to running quality training programmes, and tailored courses that are effective at transferring knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Training Expertise RLSS NWSMP Southend child

Safeguarding not Life guarding. The RLSS UK National Water Safety Management Programme, through Training Expertise

We are proud to be working with the RLSS UK as a key provider of this Occupational Water Safety Programme.

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK) developed this programme to improve water safety across a wide range of working environments and operational sectors. Delivered as a suite of interlinked training awards, specifically designed to assist those organisations with employees who work in or near water to meet their civil & statutory safety management obligations, especially where employees have supervisory responsibilities.

The Health & Safety Executive endorses the sensible, proportionate, reasonable & balanced advice provided by the National Water Safety Management Programme.

———————————————————————

What we do

Since 1998, Training Expertise has been working with organisations and people who operate in outdoor or remote environments. Devoting our time to designing training courses in the fields of first aid (outdoor first aid, expedition first aid and workplace first aid), fieldwork safety, defensive & off road driver training and field leadership.

Over the years we have built a network of elite trainers to deliver this range of tailor made programmes.  These include doctors, paramedics, nurses, field trip leaders, mountain rescue personnel and crisis management experts.  We pride ourselves on the quality of training, adaptation to the operating conditions and recommendations of practical solutions.

Some perspective on wildlife dangers

Nice infographic from Bill Gates, gives a bit of perspective to the dangers we should consider.  People considering field safety and risk assessment will often focus on the rare, wierd and wonderful and forget that old adage – common things happen commonly…
wildlife dangers put in perspective
wildlife dangers put in perspective

You can see more on the figures from the graphic at business insider.

 

 

 

 

Latest Fieldwork and Expedition standards – NEW BS8848

We were excited to be at the RGS this week for the launch of the updated British Standard for visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities, outside the United Kingdom.  So whether you are a seasoned user of the standard, or new to it – here’s what you need to know…

BS884 - supporting safe ventures

BS8848 – supporting the safety of remote ventures around the world

What is BS8848?

BS8848 is the British standard for organizing and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK.  It is a voluntary standard which documents established good practice and specifies the processes needed to manage overseas ventures, from gap year activities to adventure holidays and charity treks.

What does it cover?

It covers core principles such as:

  • assigning clear roles and responsibilities to those involved
  • planning ventures to help ensure key elements are not missed
  • providing clear and accurate information to participants
  • appointing competent staff with the right skills, training and know-how
  • preparing risk management plans

What has changed?

  • The good news it is shorter – the committee have aimed to make the new standard more focused on the key elements and have condensed the standard down to core principles in order to achieve this.
  • There is greater emphasis on the role of senior managers to take responsibility for the safety management systems of their organisations
  • There is also an emphasis on the importance of providing informed consent – a point emphasised by Alistair Macdonald in his key note address to the RGS conference.
  • This is backed up by again emphasising the importance of  competent staff running trips, and competent participants – especially if they are to be working independently for example on placements, or fieldwork.  As an organisation passionate about the importance of training to develop competences key to fieldwork safety, we are very pleased to see this emphasis in the standard.

Where can I find out more?

An extremely helpful element of the new standard is a free consumers guide which is available on the BSi website.  There you can also buy a full version of the standard, though it will also be available for reference from libraries etc.

As ever, we are very happy to offer help and advice, so if you would like to chat about anything about BS8848, risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Inspiration for your 2014 adventures from National Geographic Adventurer of the year

With 2014 fast approaching we thought you might like some inspiration for the coming year – and where better to look than to National Geographic Adventurer of the year. The list includes a man who jumped from space, an exploratory kayaker completing the first descent of the world’s largest rapids by paddling the Congo River’s Inga Rapids and Humanitarian Shannon Galpin, a women’s rights activist and mountain biker who brings a photographic survey to a country in the grip of war.

National Geographic Adventurer of the Year

Some expedition skills are trickier than others

There is inspiration for all of you to get out on expedition, or to hone your outdoor skills – the video summary alone is well worth a good look!

 

Mountain safety – enjoy the winter hills and stay safe

We hope you had a great Christmas and New year and are making the most of the holiday period to enjoy some mini-adventures to test your outdoor skills.  Windy, wet and wild seem to be the weather conditions of the Christmas and New Year holiday but we hope you are still getting outside and enjoying the hills.  Winter conditions are certainly setting in and even though much of it is in the wet and windy form at the moment there are plenty of things for the winter walker to look out for in terms of mountain safety.

Helvellyn getting its winter coat

Winter conditions in the Lakes. Credit to @Helvellyn for the photo

So make sure you have simple, flexible plans, fit for the weather and the short days. Pack plenty of warm and waterproof gear and then get out and enjoy the outdoors.  The BMC have produced a really useful ‘ten mistakes’ to avoid – so have a good read before heading into the hills.

Risk Assessment at Explore at the RGS

Dom was at the RGS Explore conference this year running a seminar panel session on tropical forest expeditions and also speaking about how a risk assessment can save your life. Here are his thoughts on an inspirational weekend….

The Explore conference is a wonderful annual event at which expeditioners, new and old, come together to inform, inspire and assist each other to make some wonderful expedition ideas a step closer to reality.

RGS Explore - Risk assessment

How the twittersphere captured Dom’s RGS talk… slightly wonky!

I had the, perhaps dubious, honour of being asked to speak on the subject of risk assessment. Of course, it is always an honour to be asked to speak at such a wonderful venue, but amid talks of exciting adventures, inspiring fieldwork and daring do, it can be a tricky job to engage people in the topic of risk assessment.

However, listening to speaker after speaker, I began to realise the extent to which risk assessment is embedded in every expedition – in fact though they rarely mentioned it by name, speakers regularly referred to how they managed risks on their trips.

Olivia Taylor from the Cambridge Trollaskagi Expedition talked of how they selected a location where they knew they could access mountain rescue support, if needed. Three doctors from Cornwall to Cape Town reflected on their decision to buy their tyres on ebay for £100 and seasoned explorer Paul Rose talked of applying pre-planning and dynamic risk assessments on swimming with walrus and filming polar bears. Even the irrepressible Dave Cornthwaite was pictured skate boarding in a helmet and high-vis vest!

So there it was, though no one likes to talk about risk assessment, they are all doing it.  Adventurers want to come back safely and they need to convince funders that they will. So they all plan, they all consider the things that might go wrong – and they all assess and re-assess the risks they face and change their plans accordingly. The sooner we can shift the impression of risk assessment to this practical, pragmatic and hands-on approach and away from a pen-pushing, tick boxing exercise – the sooner people will truly engage with it and the safer we will be.

As ever Explore was a wonderful event, inspiring, informative and enabling, I’m already looking forward to next year.

If you’d like to learn more about our approach to risk management and our courses on field safety and outdoor first aid then just get in touch.

Congratulations to our Explore 2013 Risk Assessment Winners

What a wonderful and inspiring weekend at the RGS Explore 2013 event – more thoughts on a great event to follow – but just a quick congratulations to the winners of the expedition risk management competition prize.  Two wonderful projects which Training Expertise and Equip-Me are delighted to able to support through the prizes of a Biolite stove and training vouchers.

Have a look at their great websites – both wonderful examples of projects with adventure, science and public engagement at their heart – we wish them all the luck in the world…

Winning Training vouchers: Elsa Hammond – ocean row

And winning the Biolite Stove – a wonderful example of engaging cutting edge science with a wider audience: Volcano files.

Thanks very much to everyone else who entered and the very best of luck to everyone planning their trips – you will get there – keep going and have wonderful expeditions.

Below are the four key top tips on risk assessment from Dom’s talk on Saturday – we hope they help you to enjoy safe and successful travels:

Good risk assessment:

  • Involves the whole team
  • Is specific to the risks of YOUR project
  • Is implemented in the field
  • Is applied dynamically.

If we can be of any help with advice, expedition first aid training, or expedition and fieldwork training, just get in touch.