Wednesday July 30, 2014  

Answers to Accident Scenarios


Whitewater Kayaking Accident Analysis

When you identify what factors are creating the accident potential, you’ve identified how to intervene to reduce the risk. Let’s analyze Sarah’s near miss.

Environmental Hazards

  • Cold water
  • Higher than usual water level
  • Water in the trees increases the number of strainers
  • Few eddies, party gets split up
  • Bend in the river impairs sight lines.
  • Sticky hole

Human Factor Hazards

  • Sarah hasn’t paddled for a while.
  • She is pushing harder than she should with more difficult conditions.
  • Sarah gets tired.
  • She gets separated from group.
  • No rescue backup from group.

Reducing Sarah's Accident Potential

What specific actions can Sarah and her group take to reduce her accident potential?

  • Modify the approach to river running so that the group stays together when the Accident Potential increases.
  • Establish better communication if someone wants to stay at a certain spot. Have at least a "buddy system" so that no one is paddling alone.
  • Be more conservative in paddling when conditions are more difficult and you are tired.

Sea Kayaking Accident Analysis

Environmental Hazards

  • Difficult sea conditions - high wind and chop
  • Cold water
  • Improper clothing for the conditions
  • New boat
  • No flotation

Human Factor Hazards

  • John’s paddling ability and experience weren’t sufficient for this trip.
  • He succumbed to his own pressure to go-not once, but twice. John agreed to go on the trip without asking about the conditions he’d encounter, so he didn’t really know what to expect. When he arrived at the put-in, John decided to go on the trip because the other paddlers seemed confident about it.
  • John’s friend or someone in the club should have asked John about his skills before taking him along.
  • Once on the water, John’s nervousness got in the way of clear thinking leading to his flip.

Reducing John's Accident Potential

  • Learn to use the boat on easier water.
  • Develop better skills.
  • Install float bags.
  • Use proper clothing.
  • Seek feedback from other paddlers about his ability to handle the trip.
  • No when to say no if conditions are beyond your ability (even and especially at the put-in).

Backpacking Trip Scenario

Environmental Hazards

  • Rocky trail
  • Wet trail
  • Rain
  • Lightning
  • Heat
  • Humidity
  • Dehydration

Human Factor Hazards

  • Group of kids
  • Age of kids - their physical abilities and experience
  • Dan’s inexperience
  • Limited group resources in an emergency

Possible Accidents

  • Fall
  • Heat exhaustion, heat stroke
  • Lightning strike

Reducing the Accident Potential

  • The group should have better knowledge of the terrain and the appropriateness of the route to the age group of the participants.
  • The trip route should also include an understand of how weather conditions can increase the Accident Potential of a particular section.
  • The group can have a better plan for the day in terms of mileage, when to leave camp, rest breaks, lunch breaks, etc.
  • The group should have a plan for "bail out" in case of bad weather.
  • More experienced leaders.