Category Archives: Outdoor Training

Outdoor activities with young people – quiz

We’ve just launched our new forest schools outdoor first aid course specifically focused on those working with young people in the outdoors.  So this quiz focuses on a few scenarios to get you thinking about first aid and field safety planning for outdoor activities with young people – for all you first aiders, outdoor instructors and parents – get swotting up…

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Question 1

You are running a forest schools session when an 8 year old trips and falls, putting his arm into a fire.  There are no obvious blisters but the arm is red and clearly very sore – what do you do?

Answer

The simple and easy treatment for burns is cold water, cold water, cold water.  Ideally you want to get it under a running tap and keep running cool water over it until is stops hurting. If you are in the woods and not immediately by a tap, tipping water over it and catching the water in a bucket and then repeating can be a good way of keeping water running over the area with a limited supply.  Does it need to go to hospital?  Obviously if in any doubt, get checked out, but as a rough guide a blister the size of your hand should be checked out, a superficial burn (red, with no blister) should go to hospital if it is the area of five hand palms (of the casualty!).

Question 2

You are running a rock climbing session with a group of teenagers.  One of the students knocks a loose rock about the size of an apple from the crag.  It hits another student in the head. She was wearing a helmet and is conscious and insists she is fine.  Half an hour later one of their friends tells you they’ve been feeling sick and dizzy though the student herself insists to you she feels fine.  What do you do?

Answer

The simple rule with head injuries is better safe than sorry.  Any change in conscious level, related to a bang on the hand should be checked out in hospital.  In this case, it says the student was conscious, but with symptoms deteriorating (feeling sick and dizzy after the event) this is cause for concern and certainly a reason to get it checked out.

Obviously aside from the medical issue there is the matter of how you handle the fact that the student is saying they are fine.  This comes down to soft skills which can be every bit as important as the first aid skills in getting across gently but firmly the potential risks and the need to be checked out.

There are also the practical considerations which will depend on the circumstances of the age of the students, the number of staff or other responsible people available etc.  These factors will determine how you handle the logistics of getting that person to the hospital whilst ensuring the safety of other participants.

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

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!

 

The Wild Network and more evidence of the importance of wildtime

Our Training Manager Dom Hall spent two days last week as a member of Nature’s Marketing Department!

The Wild Network is a growing group of people concerned about the loss of access we all (but especially kids) have to the great outdoors and their increasingly disappearing connection to nature.  It was really inspiring to see nearly 100 people coming together, giving up their time and skills to try to broaden this access and give more people this opportunity.

We’ve always been passionate about using outdoor first aid,  field safety and outdoor skills training not as a barrier, but an enabler of outdoor activities, to give instructors, teachers and parents the confidence to get out in the outdoors and enjoy its many benefits. So we were delighted that Dom could represent us at the Wild Network event where nearly 100 people from schools, outdoor educators and technical specialists came together to address challenges focused on getting people outdoors.

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So please have a look at the work of the Wild Network, and also it seemed apt to share another article published recently in the Guardian emphasising how important time outdoors is.

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.

Jobs in the outdoors – top tips

On many of our courses, we are asked, “how do I get jobs in the outdoors which use my outdoor skills”.  So here Zoe Allen, guest blogger for Training Expertise, a writer and human resource specialist gives three top ideas for those looking for a career change into the outdoor sector:

So you have got a tight grasp on the concept of risk management, risk reduction, first aid, and field safety. You contemplate if it would be a good move to start pursuing new trails using these valuable skills, but you haven’t found the path just yet. Do not fret – there are a number of options for you to take…

Paramedic

More than just loud sirens, fast rides, and stretchers; paramedics are vital members of the medical workforce. Aside from implementing basic first aid solutions, they are responsible for performing clinical procedures as well as administering drugs. The most dedicated, focused, and adept will be successful paramedics.

Outdoor activities will be a terrific base for developing future skills as a paramedic. Outdoor first aid is definitely a must-learn. The Health Professions Council (HPC) regulates the paramedic selection process, said How2Become. Moreover, they ensure that only the most dedicated and proficient are accepted through a series of assessments that measure commitment and competence.

Liverpool John Moores University lecturer John Ambrose recommends getting a degree in paramedic science. He said that although there are many things to learn in the university, there are skills that cannot be taught such as grace under pressure and sympathy. Taking extra-curricular courses in outdoor first aid, wilderness first aid, and emergency management is a wise move should one choose this career path.

work and train in the outdoors

work and train in the outdoors

Mountain Guide

Those with a passion for trekking and mountaineering will find this career path the perfect job. Along with extensive knowledge in risk management techniques and group leadership, mountain guides have deep knowledge about nature and the environment. Only those with a vast amount of experience under their belts may become professional mountain guides. It can be a long haul thought, a diploma is awarded to a successful trainee only after four to five years of dedicated education.

The British Mountain Guides (BMG) assesses and trains future mountain guides in many forms such as mountaineering, trekking, skiing, or classic climbing. According to their official website, they primarily promote safety and good practice along with enjoyment in climbing. “The requirements for joining the BMG training scheme are that you should have completed approximately 50 routes of E1/5b, a similar amount of British Winter routes at Grade IV/V,” mentions the BMG. 

International Teacher

Teaching might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the words ‘outdoor’ and ‘risk management’. However, these skills that are typically meant for exterior professionals fit perfectly with this job. Environment specific courses are especially designed for individuals to experience and appreciate the nature the world has to offer, in safety. Therefore, a career in teaching abroad would definitely benefit from these skills. Volunteers who teach children in the most remote of locations and unfamiliar landscapes, researchers in the academe that scour the deepest of jungles, teachers of depressed communities – all of them are admirable career paths that are supplemented by training.

Becoming an overseas teacher requires a degree in the specialization one desires. The only other requirement is the ability to fluently speak English. “International schools are looking for proven performers who can hit the ground running and are capable of managing their own classroom independently,” explained Forrest Broman, President of The International Education.

These are only three careers among many where risk reduction, disaster management, first aid, and other outdoor related skills flourish. Are you up for the challenge of these off the beaten paths? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Zoe Allen is a writer and human resource specialist. As part of her continuing education, she currently researches on the recent trends in the job market. Catch her on Twitter.

If you’d like to learn more about its time for you to update your 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.

Water Safety Management – expedition reflections

Business manager Matt has just returned from leading an expedition in South East Asia  and has been reflecting on the challenges of safety near water.

Leading groups of young people overseas relies heavily on good judgement – is this situation safe? How should I control the group and keep them safe, yet let them explore and enjoy beautiful environments?

Reflections on water safety from expedition

training for water safety – water safety management programme with RLSS

Sadly it can be easy for a group playing at the waterside to develop into a dangerous situation rapidly without good management. I reflected how much more confidence courses like the RLSS National Water Safety Manangement Programme can provide in making these judgements.

Picture the scenes:

  • The students are playing volleyball on the beach. They have been working hard for the last week and all they want to do is to cool off in the water, surely having a nice cool splash in the water is just what everyone needs…
  • You are about to board a water taxi across a fast flowing river through the Cambodian jungle…
  • You are sitting by a waterfall in the middle of the forest having just spent all day walking there…

Making judgements is critical – is the water a safe place to be? Should you let the people in your charge in or even near the water?

The RLSS have developed the National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) to help people that work at the water margins. For teachers, group leaders, environmental scientists, dock workers, police officers, construction workers and canal boat owners, this course has proven to be popular across a wide spectrum.

The course looks at the inherent water safety risks associated with different environments; still water, moving water and beach. Participants find themselves learning about group management, risk assessment and rescue techniques.

We have an RLSS NWSMP running on the weekend of the 12-13th October. We also have a, Instructor Certification Course (ICC) running on the 14-15th October, for those people interested in being able to deliver the programme.If you’d be interested in discussing these courses please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Mountain safety – carbon monoxide in tents

A new study has further illustrated the potential field safety dangers of carbon monoxide in tents, especially with modern, highly waterproof and airtight tents where levels of poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) from the burning stove can build up fast.

carbon monoxide in tents

mountain safety – danger of carbon monoxide in tents

A small scale study from several Michigan emergency room doctors suggested the type of stove fuel used and the type of tent can make a difference.

It is important for mountain safety that anyone working on remote expeditions through to duke of edinburgh trips in the UK is aware of the issues and has the outdoor skills and outdoor first aid knowledge to take precautions and to treat any potential cases.

To read more about the full findings of the study see the full article here.