Tag Archives: outdoor skills

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.

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.

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.

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!

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

Tragic climbing death – a timely reminder of key outdoor skills in rock climbing safety

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.

Incorrectly set up quick draw - BEWARE

The rubber band is the only thing holding a potential fall – check your kit carefully. UKC News, 09 Jul 2013
© Grimper.com

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.