The ACC Ottawa Safety program has two main thrusts:
- improve safety awareness and good safety practices in all section activities, particularly higher risk activities such as climbing, backcountry skiing and mountaineering camps, and
- 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.
Avalanche Search and Rescue Practice - February 2, 2013
This event is for experienced mountaineers and alpine backcountry skiers with prior avalanche safety training who wish to refresh their search and rescue skills. We will need a suitable snowpack to conduct the clinic which involves a full day of hands-on practice in a local park with avy gear (beacon, probe and shovel). Searches will progress quickly from simple 1-1 to 1-many. The day will wrap up with a large-scale, realistic and complex avalanche rescue scenario. We can accommodate a few avalanche safety novices with the proviso that they do sufficient beacon training prior to the clinic. Limited to 12 ACC members. Requires a modern avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe. Clinic fee - $20. Given sufficient notice, some rental gear can be arranged at a modest additional cost. The clinic will be given by Bill Scott and Matthew Smith. Contact Bill Scott, email@example.com
Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course - April 20-21 & 27-28, 2013
Our annual four-day Advanced Wilderness First Aid course for 2013 will take place April 20-21 & 27-28. If your first aid skills are out of date, mark your calendar for this important training event. This course has no first aid training prerequisites. Our remaining trip leaders who have not yet taken this course, please note - a slot is waiting for you. As in recent years, generous course subsidies will be offered to qualifying trip leaders, volunteers and active section members. Further details will be provided in January, at which time registration will be opened. If you have questions in the meantime, contact the Safety Co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilderness First Aid Refresher - Date TBD, November, 2013
Our next annual Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Refresher training day will be held in November 2013 (exact date TBD) from 9:00 to 17:00. This popular event is open to any ACC Ottawa member (trip leader or trip participant) who has taken a wilderness first aid course within the last five years. (Please note - urban first aid courses, such as SJA Standard First Aid, do not qualify.) At a cost of $20, the event is an excellent, low cost way to keep your WFA skills sharp. The event will be an intense day of training by a professional WFA instructor - a review of first aid protocols followed by field scenarios in which everyone will have an opportunity for hands-on first aid practice. Clinic capacity - 20 participants. To apply, contact the Safety Co-ordinator at email@example.com with the details of your most recent WFA course.
SAFETY NOTICES & INFORMATION
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
Skiers, ice climbers and winter mountaineers - take note. Before you embark on ascending one of the many new Adirondack slides created by hurricane Irene, remember - they are called "slides" for a reason.
A recent article ("Adirondacks Avalanches" by Richard Tucker) in the on-line publication Adirondacks Backcountry Skiing provides an excellent, timely and comprehensive review of the avalanche phenomena in the Adirondack mountains. See Adirondack Avalanches.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.