/ First aid in climbing clubs

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
tcn_2002 - on 12 May 2013
We (Oxford UMC) realised last year that we were committed to having at least one first-aid trained member on every club meet - and worked out after a straw poll that this was almost never the case. I'd imagine a lot of clubs have similar commitments. How do other clubs deal with first aid provision? Do you have designated Health and Safety officers or rely on individual members getting trained? Does it work?

Our solution was to run bespoke Mountaineering First Aid courses in Oxford - we had more than 30 people go through them for 60 each. Very cheap, very convenient and brilliantly taught. If you're involved with a climbing club and fancy running a specific first aid course local to you, message me for our instructor's details - I'm keen to recommend him to other clubs.

I certainly feel a lot safer going on meets now, knowing that a fair number of people would have an inkling of what to do if it all went pear-shaped. Breaking an ankle at Stanage is one thing but doing something serious on a remote crag out of phone signal is obviously a bit different!
tri-nitro-toulumne on 12 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002:

Couldn't university clubs persuade medical students to run free first aid courses?
Richard Wilson - on 12 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002:

Dont you also have to have at least one fully trained & qualified instructor that has by definition got to keep their first aid ticket up to date (every 3 years) to validate their qualifications?

I know all the clubs that I have been involved with do.
TheoL - on 12 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002: I'm quite surprised your University doesn't pay to get members first aid qualified. Ours does.
remus - on 12 May 2013
In reply to tri-nitro-toulumne: With respect to medical students, theyd most likely make a shit job of it. There's a lot of research that goes in to first aid best practices (i.e. what's taught on a first aid course) and I doubt a med student is going to take the time to get fully familiar with the material, especially as it's likely to be of pretty limited use to them.

To the OP, we just run a yearly first aid course. We use this guy: http://www.georgefell.co.uk/ Total cost for a 2 day course is 500 for 12 people, we subsidize that down to 20/person. Seems to work pretty well, the same people who go on trips tend to be the ones who get involved with the first aid.

The Lemming - on 12 May 2013
In reply to tri-nitro-toulumne:
> (In reply to tcn_2002)
>
> Couldn't university clubs persuade medical students to run free first aid courses?

Medical students?

I would not trust some GP's let alone medical students. Many GP's are the first to admit that their First Aid skills aren't as good as they would like to admit to. Stick to a First Aid trainer, they will know their subject perfectly.
marsbar - on 12 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002: Last time I went on a first aid course it was full of students :-D

I would recommend that as many members as possible are first aid trained as part of the club programme.

I'm very happy to recommend High Peak First Aid. I've been to them twice now for 16 hour outdoor first aid. There is camping nearby, so its ideal to make a weekend of it. http://www.highpeakfirstaid.co.uk/courses/wildernesshostile-environment/wilderness-first-aid-4816-hr...
Jamie Wakeham - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Richard Wilson: not at all. The club does not offer 'instruction' to its members, only a lift to a crag with some like-minded people. It's entirely possible that less experienced members might happen to learn something by osmosis, but we explicitly do not train climbers.

You;re right, of course, that anyone who's on a meet who happens to hold an NGB ticket will have an up-to-date first aid ticket too, but that's by the by.

You can also question the point of insisting that one person on the meet must be first-aid trained, when that person might end up a very long way away from other members of the club during a meet, but that's part of the reason why we've pushed to get as many student members as possible trained.
Morgan P - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:
> (In reply to Richard Wilson) not at all. The club does not offer 'instruction' to its members, only a lift to a crag with some like-minded people. It's entirely possible that less experienced members might happen to learn something by osmosis, but we explicitly do not train climbers.

+1, I was under the opinion this is how all uni clubs work
AlanLittle - on 12 May 2013
In reply to remus:
> the same people who go on trips tend to be the ones who get involved with the first aid.

Oh dear ;-)

remus - on 12 May 2013
In reply to AlanLittle: Not the best choice of words...
OwenM - on 12 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002:
> Do you have designated Health and Safety officers or

FFS, you are talking about climbing clubs aren't you? Most climbers I know would rather eat their own liver than join a club with a Elf & safety officer.
ianstevens - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Morgan P: +2. The minute you start dropping the 'responsibility for people' bomb you enter a whole world of crap.
JoshOvki on 12 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002:

Club I used to be part of would have 2 first aiders for a trip. We ran some as a club, and some people did it individually. No point in only have one first aider, unless they are sat around doing nothing.
Jack B on 12 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002:

We (a Uni MC) don't have any particular requirements for first aid trained people on a meet, but we do make sure that all meets have a few experienced people - and usually that means someone has a current ticket.

If we find that there's not enough people about with FA training, we run occasional courses (most recently with George Fell, mentioned above), and try to get the cost down so members do them.

@OwenM: We do in fact have a safety officer, the university union requires it. So far his existence has not made me want to eat my liver. His job is not really about going round telling people not to do things, it's more about organising things like the FA training, MCofS safety seminars etc.
Morgan P - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jack B:
> (In reply to tcn_2002)
> If we find that there's not enough people about with FA training, we run occasional courses (most recently with George Fell, mentioned above), and try to get the cost down so members do them.

I'd recommend George Fell too, he did a 2-day first aid thing for us which was very well done
http://www.georgefell.co.uk/firstaid.htm
Morgan P - on 12 May 2013
In reply to ianstevens:
> (In reply to Morgan P) +2. The minute you start dropping the 'responsibility for people' bomb you enter a whole world of crap.

I have sometimes wondered how we get away with it though. The university has never really forced rules like that upon us despite a few incidents over the years. They've always handled it well and realised that these things happen and having someone being shouldered with the responsibility really doesn't do anyone any good.

..In stark contrast to the universities policy on steps:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sivoodoo/2614056491/
tcn_2002 - on 13 May 2013
In reply to Morgan P:

That's where we were coming from - for some reason the University Powers That Be have never looked too closely at what we do, largely because we've never had any problems (that we've told them about!). But you never know when that might change, so we figured it'd be worth sticking to their guidelines just in case!

On the 'responsibility for people' bomb - unfortunately if you're in a club, you can't really escape this. Apart from failure of club gear or crashing a vehicle in use by the club, I'm told that every time two people of different levels of experience engage in a 'dangerous' sport, the more experienced one has a legal duty of care towards the less experienced one. Put this in a climbing club context and there's legal responsibility flying every which way, whether you admit it at the time or not. It doesn't even seem to matter if you sign waivers denying responsibility etc.

Our instructor's at http://www.wildernessmedical.co.uk/, highly recommended.
Howard J - on 13 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002: We all owe a duty of care to anyone who may be affected by our actions. This applies to life, not just to sport, 'dangerous' or otherwise. Where someone is more experienced they may owe a greater duty of care to the other, but it is not entirely one-way. However if you are a member of BMC or the club is affiliated you have third-party insurance.

The question is whether the club itself (and by extension its officers) takes on an additional duty of care. Many non-uni clubs are careful to do little more than facilitate their members' activities - they may arrange accommodation and/or transport, but don't organise activities or claim to look after members once they are there. Uni clubs these days seem to be governed by all sorts of rules which it seems to me (as a non-lawyer) could actually increase their liability.

If your procedures say you must provide 2 first-aiders and you don't, you could be in trouble if there's an accident.

The BMC provides lots of advice for clubs, especially university ones. Best speak to them if you need guidance.
StuDoig - on 13 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002:
You can't escape duty of care level responsibility for each other (the less experienced person still has a duty of care towards the more experienced too) and it exists for pretty much everything you do inside of climbing or out.

You can however escape additional responsibilities being placed onto people though by not having any individual named as being responsible things like first aid, HSE etc on meets. Having a responsible person becomes a bit of a nightmare if anything goes wrong. This is one of the reasons that a lot of clubs (and the MCofS / BMC) changed to become PLCs rather than less formal groups - it limits their formal liabilities as individuals.

The Duty of Care level "responsibility" has been through the courts a couple of times and never resulted in prosecutions / formal blame (at the time I attended the MCofS clubs seminar anyway) so definitely don't take on additional responsibilities based on the idea you've already got some. Theres actually very little to worry about interms of legal responsibilities provided your informally organised (i.e. not formally in charge, instructing, coaching etc).

Talking to your uni sports association would be a good idea. We got ours to waive a couple of requirements that made sense for other types of clubs (e.g. rugby, football etc) but didn't for climbing / mountaineering type activities. The designated 1st aider sounds like one of these - it would makes sense at football training and matches, but really doesn't work when your divided up into 2 or threes and spread over a couple of hundred square KMs......

Ignoring them and hoping you slide under the radar is fine until something goes wrong and you get asked things like "where was the first aider" and have to reply "15 miles away on a different mountain / in the pub with everyone else etc".

Providing cheap first aid courses for your members so that there's an informal pool of first aiders and enough that there's more than likely a few on each trip is a good way to do it. Much better than making an individual formally responsible for it.

Cheers,

Stuart

Jamie Wakeham - on 13 May 2013
In reply to StuDoig:
> Ignoring them and hoping you slide under the radar is fine until something goes wrong and you get asked things like "where was the first aider" and have to reply "15 miles away on a different mountain / in the pub with everyone else etc".

I (and others before me... there was once a time when the Sports Fed tried to impose a requirement for an SPA minimum per meet!) spent several years negotiating with the SF to ensure that our risk assessments were both comprehensive and reasonable - as an Ed Visits coordinator for a secondary school I had a fairly good idea of what a good risk assessment looks like and how it works. At the start of this process it demanded one named FA per meet, for example, and now talks in a more general way about adequate provision, which is clearly going to be different for a car going to Stanage and a minibus going to Ogwen.
StuDoig - on 13 May 2013
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:
Sounds like your Sports Fed are a bit less co-operative than ours was (I don't think we ever had anything as formal as a RA of the clubs activities). Good luck negotiating!

Cheers,

Stuart
Carolyn - on 13 May 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> Medical students?
>
> I would not trust some GP's let alone medical students. Many GP's are the first to admit that their First Aid skills aren't as good as they would like to admit to. Stick to a First Aid trainer, they will know their subject perfectly.

To be fair, the two aren't actually mutually exclusive, I know a few people who are/have been first aid trainers whilst they were medical students.

But I agree with the general sentiment ;-)

Some unis will have a first aid society, who may be able to offer good courses - worth having a look, anyhow.
highclimber - on 13 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002: My uni Athletic Union funded all elected club members to attend a First aid course of their choice. As a club we organised for all our members to attend a first aid course run specifically for us and the AU paid for it. Those that were elected paid nothing, the other members paid a heavily subsidised fee for the same.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Hannes on 13 May 2013
In reply to tcn_2002: I believe we have sent off a couple of people over the years to this chap http://www.realfirstaid.co.uk/ and have heard excellent things about the courses.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.