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.

The fun to risk ratio

Having heard Dom’s recent talk on practical risk assessment and field safety at the RGS, Rob Mills from Gobi Desserts kindly sent us this link to a chart of fun to risk ratio! Thought we’d share this nice light hearted reflection on how we can look at risk in the context of adventure… //www.adventure-journal.com/2013/07/charting-adventure-the-fun-to-risk-of-injury-ratio/

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.

 

First aid in Africa

Jon has recently spent a week in Kenya supporting a program by the Irish charity, Friends of Londiani, to develop first aid skills in remote parts of Kenya:

‘My week with Friends of Londiani was busy and rewarding.  Friends of Londiani are an NGO who provide health training programmes for the communities in and around the Londiani district in NW Kenya.

Supporting remote first aid in Kenya

Wilderness first aid in Africa

We’ve been working with them over the past few years to develop their own Wilderness first aid training programme to train the local volunteer Community Health Workers in basic first aid skills to help them in their roles.  Ultimately, the aim is for those workers to go in turn and train the communities in basic first aid as an essential life skill. We have been delighted to support and help develop this long term, sustainable plan to cascade training.

The week in Kenya represented the next step in that work, supporting the charity staff, to develop new Kenyan trainers and then together running a bespoke Wilderness First Aid course for 30 Community Health Workers.

It was a successful and fulfilling week, paving the way for further initiatives in other communities both in and outside of Kenya.’

If you would like to know more about our work in Kenya, or our field safetyrisk management and outdoor first aid training in the UK, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your plans.

Training Expertise, Driver Training – Winter Driving Preparations

I was driving in to work this morning when I hit a pothole and got a flat tyre. It was so frustrating; the tyre was still in good condition and still had plenty of miles left in it. On the build up to Christmas having to fork out for a new tyre, alignment and balancing etc, etc, etc is definitely an expense that I could cope without.

Do you have everything you need

Make sure you are ready for the bad weather.

So amid the grumbles I changed the tyre feeling grateful that this time it was on the way into work and not at night, in the snow with my 2 year old daughter “patiently” waiting in her car. I felt almost efficient and well-practised, rather than Daddy trying to change the wheel fumbling through the ordeal by the light of the screen of his iPhone; most definitely not an ideal situation.

It really made me think, how prepared for winter am I? When was the last time I checked my tyre pressure, my screen wash and my wiper blades? Do I have jump-leads a jumper or blanket in the car? Where did I put that torch?

When I got into work a friend confessed that he didn’t know how to change a tyre… Do you?

How prepared are you?

Here is the RAC’s list of check that you should make in Preparation For Winter Driving

Here is a video of theirs on Safe Driving Tips for Winter

We can provide training for driving in all conditions and in a wide variety of vehicles:

Training Expertise Driver Training              Training Expertise On-Road Driver Training

For any information or safe driving courses please feel free to contact us:

Training Expertise Logo

Find us at www.training-expertise.co.uk

Email us at info@training-expertise.co.uk

Call us on 0044 1256 886 543

FIRST AID | FIELD SAFETY | EXPEDITION SKILLS | DRIVER TRAINING

Specialists in bespoke training for outdoor and remote environments

Check out our up-coming courses on our Course Diary

Come and see our social side, ConnectLike Follow

 

Risk Management for Adventure – top tips

Dom was recently asked to write an article about risk management for adventure, we thought we’d share his thoughts:

Even amongst the general public the words risk assessment are enough to create a range of reactions from a scowl, a yawn or even an angry growl.  So trying to use the words amongst the fun loving, live and let live, freedom and self-determining adventure world can be a real challenge. At best it can be seen as a paper pushing nuisance and worse still as a barrier to people’s passions and dreams or even to their safety.

On the other hand, most of us accept that if you want to plan an adventurous expedition to a remote mountain range it would be pretty fool hardy to set off with no prior planning, to jump on a plane, with no kit or equipment, no idea what to expect, what the conditions are likely to be like etc. As soon as you start to consider these kind of issues you are risk assessing – long before you go near a form or a spreadsheet.

So how do we make risk assessment and field safety simple, practical and easy:

  • A written risk assessment is important proof that you made sensible and reasonable steps to do things safely
  • But remember it is just that – sensible and reasonable things – don’t try to write down every possible eventuality or reams of paperwork, it should be a usable, practical and most importantly flexible document
  • Think of practical and simple ways to build dynamic risk assessment into your every day activity, keep your eyes open for changing circumstances, use team meetings to discuss changing plans, or keep an expedition diary or log
  • Involve everyone in practical solutions for risk management – it is a culture and not a piece of paper.

We run field safetyrisk management and outdoor first aid throughout the year, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your plans.

You can read the full article at the Adventure Medic website to see more tips at advice on adventure risk management.

Expedition Leadership Weekend

Last weekend we ran our first expedition leadership weekend in partnership with Explorers Connect. It was a great success with attendees coming with plans ranging from a new take on the three peaks challenge (an overseas version!) to getting into working in the expedition industry, to cycling from Land’s End of John O’Groats and all manner of other ideas and plans.

Expedition training weekend

Expedition Leadership Weekend with Explorers Connect

Dom headed the course covering everything from expedition soft skills, leadership styles, risk management and emergency planning. Belinda Kirk from Explorers Connect also added a valuable session giving her insight into media and fundraising and we were lucky to be joined in the evening by Ken Hames who added his own perspective of invaluable lessons learnt from his expedition career.

It was a great fun weekend and everyone left enthused and ready to take the next step to make their expedition plans a reality. Plans are already afoot to run more dates as this course was already oversubscribed, so if you are interested in getting your name down early get in touch or drop Belinda an email at Explorers Connect belinda@explorersconnect.com

First aid training and CPR saves lives – it is official

Really interesting study shows the value of more people being trained in first aid skills.

Goes to emphasize what we have always taught – that the more people who have the basic skills and confidence to deliver CPR, the greater the chances of survival… read the full story of the results they found after an extensive campaign in Denmark, courtesy of USA today.