Category Archives: Field Safety

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.

Gabon themed field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

We are busy packing and preparing for one of our team to head off to Gabon for ten days of first aid trainingrisk assessment and emergency management and remote worker support for a new project starting up out there.  So since it’s been a while since our last refresher quiz – what better than a little Gabon themed quiz to top up your outdoor first aid and field safety skills…

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

 

Question 1

You are managing a remote field camp in Gabon.  One of your team takes a big fall whilst scrambling on a rocky outcrop, twenty minutes walk from the camp.  They land on their front, they are unresponsive but you can detect breathing.  You are on your own with no phone reception… what would you do?

Answer

The answer is… it depends! What it mainly depends on is are they now in a STABLE, OPEN, DRAINING AIRWAY position – if so, you could make them safe, protect from the elements and go to find help.  However if they are not, you would have to adjust the position to ensure their airway and breathing is maintained whilst you are away.  Move them as little as possible, support the head and neck – but you must make sure their airway will be maintained whilst you are away from them.

Question 2

You are working in a remote field area of Gabon.  On a trek deep into the forest you discover a river blocks your path into a target study site.  What considerations would you make in deciding whether or not to cross the river?

Answer

Rivers can potentially be a serious hazard and sadly drowning does occur on overseas trips.  Therefore we would need to make a number of careful assessments – all of which will be governed by the overall principle: “If in doubt – stay out”!

We;d have to recommend some more training such as our RLSS Water Safety Management Programme, but some considerations would be:

1 – How crucial is this particular site – we have to balance up risk and benefit – an element of risk management which is too often forgot

2 – Your own experience and knowledge of rivers and river crossings

3 – The speed and depth of the water

4 – The entry and exit points

5 – Any hazards in the water, currents, entrapment objects, animals, water borne disease…

6 – If it rains whilst I am on the other side – what will the river look like then…

The number of considerations and the knowledge and experience required to judge all these things takes us back to where we originally started… “If in doubt, stay out”.

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

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.

First Aid Quiz time… ready, steady… GO

It is really important to keep your outdoor first aid and field safety skills up to speed, so stop what you are doing, strained your brain back to your last training course and see if you can answer these…

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Question 1

If you read our last newsletter – this should be an easy one!

You are out skiing.  Your friend falls at speed and immediately following the incident is confused and dizzy.  A few minutes later they are feeling fine and insist they are OK and continue skiing for the rest of the day.  At dinner that evening they feel sick and leave the table.  When you go to find them they say they have been sick but are feeling OK now and just want to go to bed.  What would you do?

Answer

The simple rule is any change in conscious level, following a head injury should go to hospital to be checked by a professional.  In particular now that symptoms have got worse rather than better we would be further concerned and should monitor them very carefully and if at all possible get them checked by a doctor.  It could be a concussion or a compression – one will generally get better, the other could get worse and even be fatal – so play it safe and get them checked.  If you would like more of a recap, check out our blog on dealing with head injuries.

Question 2

You are organising a geography fieldwork trip for a group of 30 undergraduates to the Low Tatras Mountains in Slovakia.  You are preparing a risk assessment – what would be your top five considerations…

Answer

OK – lots of potential for debate in coming up with a top five but we’ve gone with:

1 – Transport – probably has to come in any top five, sadly road traffic collisions account for most of the serious incidents which occur on overseas trips

2 – Downtime – management of what the students do when not in the program of study is a tricky business which needs some thinking about!

3 – Slips and falls in a mountainous environment – here we have both the common and relatively non-severe twists, sprains and breaks, and of course more serious falls from height.

4 – Weather – any factor which is as changeable and sometime unpredictable as the weather can be a major hazards.

5 – Wolves and bears – interesting one, the chances of a wolf or bear attack is really pretty slim, but clearly the consequences could be great so that’s snuck it into our top 5!

Hope you found our field safety and outdoor first aid quiz useful. If its time for you to update your risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Field Safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Happy New Year to everyone.  We hope you have had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to the adventures 2014 will bring. And what better way to welcome 2014, and to fill those difficult first few hours back in the office than to swot up on your outdoor first aid and field safety skills, to get you prepared for the 2014 field seasons. 

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Quiz question 1:

You are the first on the scene of a rock fall in the mountains.  You are an hour’s fast walk from the nearest road and have no phone reception.  You have the following casualties… what would you do?

Casualty 1 – Unconscious, fast shallow breathing, pale, cold and clammy
Casualty 2 – Alert, screaming of pelvic pain
Casualty 3 – Confused and slurred speech, small bleed from head
Casualty 4 – Conscious, panicking and broken right arm.

Answer:

Firstly make sure it is safe for you to approach and shout for help, just in case anyone is nearby.

Then deal with the casualties in order of priority:

Casualty 1 – (Unconscious, fast shallow breathing, pale, cold and clammy) – is the most immediately serious – showing signs of shock – carry out basic AVPU, Airway, Breathing checks and ensure a Stable, Open, Draining Airway

Casualty 2 – Needs to be kept still, in case of a broken pelvis, they need to be reassured and monitored (perhaps by casualty 4!)

Casualty 3 – Is OK in the short term but needs the cut treating, and monitoring for signs of a compression injury.

Casualty 4 is probably going to be busy monitoring casualties 1 to 3 whilst you go and get help!

If you would like to update your skills check out our outdoor first aid and expedition first aid courses.

Quiz question 2:

You are part of a team of four researchers working in the Musandam Penisular in the north of Oman.  You have planned to work in pairs in the field collecting field sign of Arabian leopards.  You are told that there is reasonable mobile phone reception in the area.  What are the key elements of your safety and emergency plans…

Answer:

With such small teams, communications and emergency management back up plans are crucial.  Should one team member become unwell or have an accident their partner is left in a very difficult situation.  Therefore testing the mobile phone coverage and ensuring each pair has their phones, with fully charged batteries will be part of the daily routine.  However you can’t always rely on these things so a simple back up plan of informing each other, and ideally an additional trusted person such as an in-country agent, of exactly the route planned each day and cut off times for return.

Expedition training and preparation is also important to ensure that all team members are aware of any specific hazards and can manage a first aid or other emergency.

Finally dynamic risk assessment is crucial – what if it turns out the terrain is far worse, or the mobile reception far more patchy… then we may have to rethink the plan, for example getting the whole team to work together.

Flexibility is the key and a constant eye on whether or not the existing safety measures are sufficient.

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

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.