The ACC Ottawa Safety program has two main thrusts:

  1. improve safety awareness and good safety practices in all section activities, particularly higher risk activities such as climbing, backcountry skiing and mountaineering camps, and
  2. improve emergency response capabilities through dissemination of emergency protocols, broadly-based Wilderness First Aid training, self-rescue training, and acquisition of emergency supplies and equipment.

As safety and training functions are so intertwined and complementary, the Training and Safety Co-ordinators work closely together, to the point of submitting a combined Training and Safety Budget.  A major push on Wilderness First Aid training began in 2010, with partially-subsidized training for section leaders and active participants.


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Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course
April 5-6 and 12-13, 2014

ACC-Ottawa offers its members an opportunity to be certified in Advanced Wilderness First Aid which is recommended for those who are leading trips with the club.  This four day course will take place on April 5/6 and 12/13. We need a  minimum of 10 participants to run the course.    Location St. Pius X High School, 1481 Fisher Avenue.   The cost is $400 per person.  A limited number of course subsidies will be available (the club will cover one half of the cost for those who are active or potential trip leaders).  There is also an option for a Wilderness First Aid Course which is the first weekend only and would cost $200 per person (subsidies are not available for this course).  For further information or to register please contact Bill Barrett ( 


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Standard Emergency Response Protocol

The section's "Standard Emergency Response Protocol" has been widely disseminated to section members in the form of a plasticized card designed to reside in the top pocket of a pack.   It doesn't replace the need for first aid training but, once trained, it will serve as a memory-jogger in case of emergencies.  If you don't have one, see any executive member and we'll see that you get one.  It can also be downloaded from the site in both English and French.



Emergency and Non-Emergency Contact Information

A list of emergency and non-emergency contact information (phone numbers and web sites) has been assembled for areas frequented by ACC Ottawa members in western Canada, eastern Canada and the northeast USA.  Members may wish to add a copy to their personal first aid kit.  

Click here to download the list. 

Changes can be submitted to the Safety Co-ordinator at

First Aid Patient Assessment and Monitoring Form

A version of the commonly-used "SOAP NOTE" - "Subjective, Objective, Analysis and Plan" - form has been adopted for section use.  The form is invaluable for patient assessment and monitoring while administering wilderness first aid.  Those who have taken a wilderness first aid course will immediately recognize the contents. It is recommended that all members print out the form double-sided and place a copy or two in their personal first aid kit. This has already been done for the Section first aid kits. To download the form, click here or here


Nordic Backcountry Skiing

The backcountry can be a magical place in winter, but it does not suffer fools.  Anyone traveling in the backcountry should be properly equipped, be responsible and self-reliant and have basic skills in navigation, bushcraft and wilderness first aid.  For additional information on Nordic backcountry skiing safety, see Backcountry Skiing Safety In the East.    Tree wells are a real hazard for backcountry skiers. Visit this link for more information.



Mountaineering Camps


Since 2010, each mountaineering camp has operated with a "Safety and Emergency Response Plan" tailored to the camp's unique circumstances.  An example plan for the most recent mountaineering camp is Tonquin Valley August 2011 Mountaineering Camp.

For guidance on the organization and running of ACC Ottawa mountaineering camps, see our Mountaineering Camp Guidelines.




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Emergency Gear Caches - Gatineau Park Climbing Sites

New emergency gear caches were installed in 2011 at the three authorized climbing areas in Gatineau Park - Twin Ribs complex, Home Cliff and the Western Cwm.  Each cache is centrally located and contains a backboard and other minimal essential gear to package and transport a seriously injured person to an emergency vehicle at the base of the escarpment.  The caches do not contain first aid supplies or technical rescue equipment.  Gatineau Park climbers should be self-equipped with a first aid kit and self-rescue gear plus, most importantly, the associated training.  Each cache is housed in a sturdy culvert.  The end cap is secured with plastic electrical ties to protect the contents from animals and the weather.  In an emergency, the plastic electrical ties can be cut or broken to gain access.  Please report any use or damage to the caches to the NCC phone number printed on the cover and to the ACC Ottawa Safety Co-ordinator at

This crucial safety project was a joint collaboration between the National Capital Commission (NCC) and local climbers.  The lion's share of material costs was funded by the NCC, with lesser but appreciated contributions from the Climbers' Access Coalition (CAC) and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC).  Fabrication and installation of the caches was a labour-intensive joint effort of the NCC, CAC and the Alpine Club.  Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this important project a reality.

Mountain Safety in Canada's National Parks

For the latest rescue and safety information for Canada's National Parks, click here.  Find out more about mountain safety, avalanche information, accident reports, emergency contack information, links to other valuable sources of information and more.





How Not to Spend a Cold Night on Mount Marcy

Thanks to Debbie Clouthier for this article on HOW NOT TO SPEND A COLD NIGHT ON MOUNT MARCY.