Outdoor adventure refers to outdoor-related activities and events, such as camping, backpacking, river trekking, kayaking, caving, and hiking.
When you define outdoor, risks are involved. Fun and experience might be the first thing that comes to your mind when you head outdoors to swim on waters, climb up the mountains, sleep at the woods overnight, go kayaking, or even do challenging things you can encounter for the first time in your life.
No one ever plans to be in trouble. But a sudden change of weather, an equipment failure, a wrong judgment, or an unexpected injury can change an outdoor activity into crisis.
To prevent mishaps on outdoor adventure, here are some tips that will keep you safer.
1.) Before choosing your adventure education provider, check first its history and background. Make sure they have Risk Assessment and Management Systems (RAMS). —Edvan Loh, executive director of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Kool Adventure Camp (KAC).
RAMS is all about prevention of incidents. Programs are tested first. There is a need to be aware of risks before steps can be taken to prevent it happening. It is coordinated and it’s the economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events.
The strategies to manage risk typically include transferring the risk to another party, avoiding the risk, reducing the negative effect or probability of the risk, or even accepting some or all of the potential or actual consequences of a particular risk.
2.) Make sure that your facilitators are qualified to initiate the activity. Check the background of your facilitators. Have they undergone trainings in line with running an adventure education program? As for safety, do they have a current First Aid and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification? Are they capable of performing rescues? Have they experienced risk and group management in the outdoors?
3.) Always follow instructions from the facilitators because they are bound with the duty of looking after your safety and well-being. Don’t do decisions of your own when you’re in an outdoor adventure program. Your facilitators know what’s best for you at this time. If you are having a problem, confused, or willing to know something, approach your facilitator.
4.) Inform your facilitators of your conditions. In case you have special medications, tell your facilitators ahead of time so that they will be aware of your health condition. Be mindful of your medical need.
5.) Be mindful of the water you drink. No matter how clean or pure stream water looks, it’s likely to contain water-borne parasites and microorganisms that can cause discomfort and sometimes serious illness. Don’t forget to pack your own water in.
6.) Always ask the assistance of your facilitators in using any equipment. Even if you’re already familiar with specific equipment, you still need a facilitator’s assistance before getting into an activity.
7.) Whatever unexpected happens, don’t panic. Always stay calm and remain where you are. Wait for further instructions from the facilitators on what to do next.
8.) The least thing that you can do is for you to have fun, but the best is for you to learn something from the activity.
In our homes, it needs a father to head the house. But in outdoor adventure programs, facilitators are obliged with every responsibility.
“We need to acquire the needed skills in order for us to run a meaningful and safe experiential program. An effective facilitator should consider all the possible risks and should know how to prepare to mitigate such risks. This is not just a must, but a need,” Anthony Terence Ocampo, deputy director for adult programs of KAC, said.
This article is contributed by the Kool Adventure Camp (KAC) of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI). RAFI-KAC offers adventure education programs for leadership enhancement open to youth groups and professionals. It is also building the Philippines’ first outdoor experiential camp site, which is set to open this year. For more information on KAC and its services, contact 418-7234 local 407 and look for Althea Santillan, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph.