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.
The rubber band is the only thing holding a potential fall – check your kit carefully. UKC News, 09 Jul 2013
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.
Outdoor first aid at the downhill World mountain bike championship
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!”
If you would like to find out more about our mountain biking outdoor first aid training, please just drop us an email.
We’ve mentioned this guy quite a few times on our field safety courses recently in looking at risk – benefit and managing risk. Our hypothetical example of roller skating on stilts across Striding Edge is in danger of being trumped – as ever truth can be stranger than reality!
Field safety first – tight rope walking above the Grand Canyon
Very best of luck to Nik Wallenda who plans to attempt to tight-rope walk to cross the Grand Canyon this weekend – hope that gives you some Friday inspiration for a weekend adventure but remember kids, don’t try this at home! Check out this video of his training regime as he practices walking the tightrope in simulated high winds.
The idea that perhaps children are becoming closeted, protected from all risk is not new but it is great to see more conversation about the value of risk appearing in lots of places. We have always believed that developing outdoor skills and getting people out into the field with appropriate and pragmatic field safety skills is not only a benefit in terms of the activities themselves but in terms of the wider benefits of giving people the ability to be self sufficient and manage risk for themselves. We recently wrote about this in an earlier blog post about safety in the mountains but I really liked this article about kids and knives to give us a very down to earth and day to day example.
Anyone who has been on one of our field safety or risk assessment courses recently will have discussed at length the merits of various different activities and how we can start to look constructively at risks and benefits, severity and likelihoods. I often like what I thought was a hypothetical example of roller skating and stilt walking, on Striding Edge – well maybe that example is not so far from the truth – off-road unicycling is here…
It is crucial that in an emergency you know how to raise the emergency services. This is a key element of any field safety plan and is key for anyone heading out on expeditions, working or practicing their outdoor skills in remote locations.
This useful video explains more about using 112 as an emergency number in the UK, tips for the best chance of getting help in remote locations and how to contact the emergency services by text.
So much has been written recently about safety in the mountains, in particular in relation to a number of winter deaths in the mountains in Scotland. I think as mountain people, deeply ingrained in belief in the value of free and open mountain access our general reaction is often that, “these things will happen”, that we know and accept the risks. This argument perhaps stands up where the incidents occur to experienced and knowledgeable people who were facing known risks for an activity they love.
Beautiful but challenging conditions in the Lakes this weekend
However out walking in the Lakes over this bank holiday weekend I was struck by a real challenge to my natural natural reaction to field safety as I was passed by streams of inappropriately dressed and prepared people. Trainers and jogging bottoms were out in force, axes and crampons rare sights and clearly there was a lack of understanding of the potential dangers.
As ever I felt that confliction – on the one hand between a natural aversion to ‘nanny stating’, ‘elf and safety’ and the joy at seeing people out in the outdoors, undeterred by the weather – on the other there was a fear that too many of these people lacked the basic skills, inexperience and crucially judgement to be out in the conditions they found themselves in.
So what is the solution, I guess it will always smack of bias when as a training organisation we talk about the importance of outdoor skills training but that has to be a critical part. But how do you share that general knowledge as widely as is required? Should there be some restriction, some level of required training – this cuts against the grain in so many ways. Perhaps the key is building these skills in early, at school so that we can increase the base level of skills, knowledge and awareness to allow more and more people to enjoy the mountains with both freedom and safety.